Posted by: Roby Robertson | February 7, 2008

Lake Norman and Charlotte have choices for rafters, hikers, paddlers, hunters

Charlotte Rafting 

Though two hours from the nearest whitewater river, Charlotte is becoming a destination for whitewater paddling with the $35 million U.S. National Whitewater Center.

Rafters and paddlers will take on major Class III-IV rapids on the park’s four concrete channels.

The artificial whitewater course, next to the Catawba River, is bigger than the 2000 and 2004 Olympic runs in Sydney, Australia, and Athens, Greece. When fully operational, the 307-acre park expects to draw 500,000 people a year.

Visitors can also test their skills on a challenge course, climb a 46-foot-high free-form tower and a 30-foot-high modular climbing wall — each with more than 20 routes — and pedal 11 miles of mountain bike trails.

Twelve million gallons of treated water circulating through two ponds and the four channels create three-quarters of a mile of whitewater. After rafters and paddlers complete their runs, they enter the lower pond and paddle their craft onto a 180-foot conveyer belt to reach the starting pond.

Admission to the non-profit park is free. Individual rafting sessions cost $33 per person for 90 minutes. Canoeists and kayakers who bring their own boats pay $15 for 90 minutes.

Other regional recreation

CANOE/KAYAK: Those who prefer natural watercourses can choose from six Carolinas rivers for commercial whitewater rafting trips or private canoeing and kayaking.The newest, and most difficult, river is the Cheoah. The whitewater sections of the Chattooga, French Broad, Nantahala, Nolichucky and Pigeon also draw tens of thousands of rafters each year.

HIKE: About 4,200 miles of hiking trails criss-cross North Carolina, with nearly 2,000 miles in the Pisgah and Nantahala national forests.

For nearby day hikes, go to South Mountains State Park north of Shelby and Morrow Mountain State Park east of Albemarle.

Hunting

North Carolina’s deer herd peaks at about 1 million animals annually, giving hunters the opportunity to fill their six-deer bag limit in three seasons, archery, muzzleloader and modern gun.

While most hunting takes place on private lands, the wildlife commission maintains a network of public game lands across the state, including the Uwharrie National Forest near Albemarle.

North Carolina’s wild turkey population has boomed to an estimated 150,000 birds, from 2,000 in 1970. Hunters can pursue gobblers in a month-long spring season; hens and gobblers are fair game in a six-day January season on private lands in 10 northern counties.

On the Web

N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission: www.ncwildlife.org

N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries:www.ncdmf.net

S.C. Department of Natural Resources: www.dnr.state.sc.us

N.C. Division of Parks and Recreation: http://ils.unc.edu/ parkproject/ncparks.html

S.C. Department of Parks and Tourism: http://www.discoversouthcar olina.com/parks/parks-main.aspx

National Forests in North Carolina:www.cs.unca.edu/nfsnc

Contact your Lake Norman and Charlotte area broker at 704 451 7051 to get FREE Information. 

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