February News from Lower Haw Friends! 
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Haw River Clean Up A Thon
Saturday, March 18th
Interested in joining a team at the 64 bridge from 9-Noon?
Email – Nancy Strong
About Us

News from Friends of Lower Haw River State Natural Area

Trash Cans, Trails, and More!

The Friends of the Lower Haw, together with State Parks, has been busy on its first project: the installation of permanent trash cans at popular Lower Haw SNA access points! On December 9, 2016, a team of six dedicated Friends—Ryan Cadwalader (board member), David Everage, Megan Lynch, George Pauly (board member), Matt Spangler (treasurer), and Jimmy Wood—installed three trash cans on State Parks property. One can is located at the “upper” parking lot on Bynum Road (near the bridge), another is located at the “lower” Bynum parking lot (near the old mill site), and the third can is located on the southeast side of the US-64 access (river left, downstream of the overpass). Friends of the Lower Haw is currently evaluating options for installing additional trash cans at other access points along the Lower Haw, including above Bynum dam off of 15-501 and at the southwest access off of US-64. Stay tuned for more details on the next phase of this project, and a huge thanks to Matt Spangler for leading these efforts!

State Parks funded these three cans (and Ranger Brock Martin helped coordinate the project and select sites), and Friends of the Lower Haw has assumed responsibility for installing and periodically emptying the cans. A big thanks are due to Jimmy Wood, Megan Lynch, Matt Porter, and Daniel Cohen for volunteering to empty the cans in December and January. On that note, we are looking for more volunteers interested in helping empty the cans—please contact Matt Spangler at if you’d like to get

Haw River Clean Up A Thon - March 18th! 

The Haw River Assembly's annual Clean Up A Thon is happening soon, and we hope you'll join in! Nancy Strong, our Lower Haw Friends Group secretary is leading a group of volunteers to cover the area under the 64 bridge from 9:00 am until Noon. Email Nancy at if you are interested in volunteering!

Chatham County Awarded Recreational Trails Program Grant for Lower Haw River SNA

The Recreational Trails Program (RTP) has awarded a $100,000 grant to Chatham County Parks & Recreation, with the county providing $25,000 in matching funds.  The grant will be used to build a pedestrian bridge over Pokeberry Creek and a natural surface pedestrian trail on both sides of the new bridge, beginning in Bynum, that will be about one mile in length.  The project is in the Lower Haw River State Natural Area owned by State Parks.  Work will begin sometime in 2017 and the project will be managed by the county.  Our Friends chapter can help with this project in the future by organizing volunteers for ongoing trail maintenance and installing educational signage.  
This Lower Haw project is part of a larger, broad-based, multi-county initiative known as the Haw River Trail Partnership.  The concept of a Haw River Trail began in 2006 when ten governmental agencies, including Chatham County, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with State Parks with the intent to develop the Haw River Trail and to conserve its land and waters.  The Haw River Trail will be a 70-mile long land and paddle trail from Haw River State Park in Guilford County to Jordan Lake SRA in Chatham County.  This $100,000 RTP grant is a first phase to begin the Haw River Trail corridor within Chatham.  This initial phase focuses on land owned by State Parks.   

Currently there are no official State Park trails or bridges over tributaries in the Lower Haw.  What exists now are unofficial footpaths created over decades by people walking along the river, and makeshift stream crossings.  Unauthorized use by ATV riders and mountain bike riders, litter along the riverbank, and trespassing on private land are problems.  Having an officially designated pedestrian-only trail that is clearly marked, with pedestrian bridges that provide safer access and reduce streambank erosion, and informational signage with permissible and prohibited uses, will help address these issues.
Reflections on the Haw
“Looking forward to when the path brings us together” is a lovely phrase someone said to me recently.  I like the spirit of  inclusiveness and cooperation it suggests.  We are faced with challenging times that will affect the Lower Haw River State Natural Area.  How will each of us respond?  Will we be resilient and bend like trees in the wind?  The upcoming trail project funded by the county’s Recreational Trails Program grant can provide a path that brings us together in a shared love of this special place.  People will have opportunities to be involved through their input and volunteer activities.  One of my favorite Chinese Proverbs is “Tell me and I'll forget, show me and I may remember, involve me and I'll understand.”  I’m also looking forward to when the path brings us together.
Gretchen Smith
President, Friends of Lower Haw River State Natural Area

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Friends of Lower Haw River State Natural Area · PO Box 65 · Bynum, NC 27228 · USA

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