Low Water Bridge recreational access improvements

Monday, March 5, 2012

If you’ve driven by the Low Water Bridge recently, you probably have seen a good bit of bulldozer activity and wondered what exactly was happening to this beautiful natural area.  The work is being undertaken with a promising objective in mind.  The LandTrust of Central N.C. is partnering with the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission to create a recreational amenity that will help improve access to one of the region’s precious natural resources.

The LandTrust is the owner of a 1,288-acre natural area around the Low Water Bridge, which is a popular canoe access area on the Uwharrie River. The stretch from here to N.C. 109 is one of the most heavily used portions of the river, and a scenic stretch to paddle for recreation. From kayaking to birding to fishing, many different activities draw groups to this part of the river from all over the state. You can expect to see kingfishers, long-nosed gar and pileated woodpeckers here. Bald eagles and river otter have been seen on this section of the river as well. Six species of bass, including largemouth bass, smallmouth bass and Roanoke bass, attract fishermen from across the state. The stretch of the river north – either from High Pine Church Road or Burney Mill Road to Low Water Bridge – is also popular for paddling; however, there are no current public access areas on those two roads beyond the highway rights-of-way.

Because this is such an important recreational area, the land trust has partnered with the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission to improve parking and install river access points at Low Water Bridge. Once complete, there will be improved launch sites to enhance small boat access to the river. There will be a developed boat access location north of Low Water Bridge and a developed launch site south of the bridge, both on the western side of the river.

This new parking area will relieve some safety concerns, because prior to this construction the only pull-off was a small area on the side of the road with low visibility, and room for only about three cars. The new parking area will accommodate about 10 cars. As the name suggests, Low Water Bridge is prone to flooding, as well, so this will also provide a place for visitors to turn their cars and trucks around if the bridge is flooded. For a high-quality river with rare species, the new parking area and canoe accesses will aid in preventing erosion and preserving water quality, as well.

This improved parking area on the Uwharrie River will provide a few more, and safer, parking spots for people to use while accessing the river for fishing and kayaking. Ultimately, this will improve the experience for visitors who, we hope, will come to stay for a few days. Thanks to the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission for providing the funding and doing the construction here. The LandTrust is excited to partner with them and see this project provide an important recreational feature for local residents and tourists alike.

Crystal Cockman