Earth Day Extravaganza

As part of its 2018 Earth Day Extravaganza, the town of Halifax held a funding sponsor recognition and project partner celebration for the rehabilitated Banister Lake Boat Landing Access Point. The RRBA-Upper Reach blueway interpretive sign maps the river’s natural features and illustrates aspects of its history from the boat landing to the Halifax-Pittsylvania County line 19.5 miles upstream. It features “The Rock House,” the picnic destination 3 miles upriver on DRBA’s Aug. 1 paddle, which is free and open to the public, starting at 9 a.m.

For its Aug. 1 First Saturday Outing, the Dan River Basin Association (DRBA) will return to a section of the Banister River for the first time since 2006.

Trip coordinator for the estimated 6-mile launch and return excursion to “The Rock House” from the Banister Lake Boat Landing at 1125 L.P. Bailey Memorial Highway is Halifax town manager Carl Espy, avid paddler and former DRBA board member.

Boats and gear may be rented from Three Rivers Outfitters in Eden, North Carolina. Call 336-627-6215, or visit www.3-r-o.com.

Participants will meet at the Banister Lake Boat Landing in Halifax at 9 a.m. on Saturday, Aug. 1, to begin the open water paddle early.

DRBA Board member Wayne Kirkpatrick explained the Outings Committee made a decision to focus on lake paddles as a way to host the events while being socially responsible, in addition to moving up that starting time by one hour. “We received good feedback from our FSO group in July to take advantage of somewhat cooler temperatures for paddler comfort,” he added.

The site is featured as the first stop on the Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources’ Virginia Birding & Wildlife Trail, Dan River Loop self-guided driving tour (https://www.dgif.virginia.gov/vbwt/sites/banister-lake/): “Here the glassy calm waters of the lake host pairs of belted kingfishers, joined by great blue herons haunting the quiet inlets. In the summer, wood ducks raise their broods along its shores. The banks of the lake are thick with jewelweed and other inviting blooms, which attract an abundance of butterflies. Watch for irruptions of American snout in late summer and marvel in the iridescence of the numerous red-spotted purples.”

63.3 miles of the Banister, which flows past the town of Halifax, are designated a State Scenic River. It is a tributary of the Dan River sub-basin and the Roanoke River Basin.

From roaring rapids to tranquil creeks, the Virginia Scenic Rivers System reflects the diversity of Virginia’s natural landscape. Each scenic river possesses outstanding aesthetic, natural, historic and recreational features.

The 50th anniversary of the Virginia Scenic Rivers Program in 2020 is an occasion to celebrate these special rivers and the communities that care for them; go to: https://www.dcr.virginia.gov/recreational-planning/sr50

Participants are asked to meet on the west side of U.S. Highway 501 just north of downtown Halifax. Dress in synthetic fabric, be prepared to get wet and bring boat, paddles, life jacket for each boater, lunch and water.

Hats and sunscreen are highly recommended.

Each participant is encouraged to follow state issued guidelines by practicing social distancing and by wearing a mask when launching or disembarking at the ramp. All participants will be asked to sign a waiver.

All First Saturday Outings of the Dan River Basin Association are free and open to the public.

For further information about the trip, contact Espy at 434-470-1424 or espy4@mindspring.com

For information about the Dan River Basin Association, visit www.danriver.org.