Paddle Trails

Tom and Nancy Winslow live just outside Hamilton, N.C. A farmer, he was interested in increasing revenue from his property. The Bluff–a camping platform–was built on his land, and became an alternative income to support agriculture.

Camping Platforms

Meanwhile, initial support for the RRP camping platforms was received from Mid-East Resource Conservation & Development Council Inc. (MRCDC), The Conservation Fund, The Nature Conservancy and the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers. A charter sponsor of RRP, MRCDC provided seed money for projects, secured regulatory permits, and assisted with grant writing, construction of platforms, installation of information signs and waterway markers.

The Conservation Fund helped coordinate and implement events, negotiated with private landowners, and provided regional networking. The Nature Conservancy assisted with the site locations of camping platforms.

Indeed, collaboration has been and continues to be the key to the successful development of the paddle trails, which continue to grow. The River Landing camping platform officially opened in fall 2010. Offering a new and different experience, it features a screened and covered facility with restrooms and showers nearby.

The platform is connected to the River Landing Boardwalk and offers picturesque views of wetlands across the river. Elevated above the wetland floor, the platform is less than a mile from the downtown area, and provides a scenic and convenient location to access the Roanoke River.

The mouth of Sweetwater Creek is less than 1 mile downstream of the platform, and provides for easy paddling through pristine waters lined with cypress trees and abundant wildlife. The platform also is equipped with two bicycles that can be used for a short ride on the connecting Skewarkee Trail to downtown, as well as to a nearby tackle shop for those interested in fishing from the boardwalk.

With so much to see and do on the platform, it’s a wonder anyone ever finds their way to the river–the real jewel of the trip. Perhaps it’s just another reason to return to the Roanoke River.

For more information, visit

Paige P. Schneider, Ph.D., is an assistant professor at East Carolina University’s Department of Recreation and Leisure Studies. She can be reached via e-mail at

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