Hitchcock Creek centerpiece of new Blue Trails Guide

By Kevin Spradlin
PeeDeePost.com

* Blue Trails Guide (click the link for the video)
Previous coverage
* Hitchcock Creek ‘a trail of discovery’

Hitchcock Creek is going national.

Members and a film crew from a national non-profit conservation organization dedicated to protecting and restoring America’s rivers that visited Richmond County in May and paddled Hitchcock Creek have made available a 3-minute, 37-second video clip on a new website,

Bob Irvin, president of American Rivers, stands along the wooden footbridge connecting visitors who park at the Steele Street access point with the Hithcock Creek Greenway walking trail.

“The cit of Rockingham has done an amazing job with the Hitchcock Creek Blue Trail,” Irvin said. “The story of this blue trail is an example of how we work with communities all over the country.”

Image credit: American Rivers Mari Bennett, of LMO Paradise Rentals, said the development of Hitchcock Creek as a destination point has "given my small company a run."

Image credit: American Rivers
Mari Bennett, of LMO Paradise Rentals, said the development of Hitchcock Creek as a destination point has “given my small company a run.”

The results include a clean waterway, transformed from its heyday of industrial use into a paddler’s dream. It could soon become a nationally renowned blue trail as an American Rivers film crew shot video throughout Tuesday’s trip down Hitchcock Creek. Coupled with a project in South Carolina and another out west, the three projects serve as models for other communities.

In 2006, the Hitchcock Creek Watershed Action Plan established the foundation for all subsequent work along Hitchcock Creek — which, when the last dam is removed, is a project totaling some $2.3 million. Of interest, the plan documented the good water equality in Hitchcock Creek.

In 2009, the removal of Steele’s Mill Dam in Cordova marked the first construction project in an effort to open Hitchcock Creek to public navigation and re-establish historic fish runs from the Pee Dee River. In 2011, a debris removal project significantly improved the safety and pleasure for navigation along 10 miles of Hitchcock Creek and marked the first efforts of this type in more than 30 years.

In 2011, the city finalized acquisition of approximately 83 acres of the old Pee Dee Lake bed along Hitchcock Creek for the purpose of developing a greenway and passive recreation area. In 2012, constructed commenced on the first phase of Hitchcock Creek’s Greenway, including more than 6,000 feet of improved walking trails and three pedestrian bridges over the creek.creek2

The recreation and economic development project, said Mayor Steve Morris, is something that “has given a lot of people a sense of pride. Morris said the creek was “just sort of ignored for several years” but the project has “pumped new life into this part our county.”

It’s also helped local businesses — hotels, restaurants and LMO Paradise Rentals, a local outfitter. Owner Mari Bennett said that “every week, it seems like we’re getting more calls and more interest in the creek.”

“Hitchcock Creek has been an economic engine,” said Sen. Gene McLaurin, and will be “for many years to come.”

 

Filed in: Latest Headlines, News, Outdoors

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