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Paddle: The French Broad River

09/12/2020 @ 10:00 AM - 3:30 PM

“For the French Broad is, above all, a region of life, with all the richness and paradox of life. Water, forests, plants, animals, people: thronging here in rare and wonderful variety.” – Wilma Dykeman, The French Broad

On Saturday, September 12, the Western North Carolina Historical Association, in partnership with Montreat College’s Outdoor Recreation Studies department, will lead a guided paddle tour of one river section that exemplifies Dykeman’s depiction.

Join us at Amboy Road River Park as we prepare to float 6.5 miles through the River Arts District and beyond to Woodfin Riverside Park. This float, with four interpretive stops and one stop for lunch, will take approximately five hours. We will learn about this river section’s natural and cultural history including the tenuous relationship between humans and the river. We will view several historic crossings and bridges, see the damage and legacy of various floods, learn about the creatures that call this river basin home, and examine more recent efforts to care for and sustainably utilize the French Broad. This particular section is relatively calm, with no substantial rapids but several rocky shoals to navigate. Some paddling experience is recommended but not required. Montreat College will provide the canoes and rafts as well as the safety gear and briefing. Drivers will be shuttled back to Amboy Road River Park in a group van.

The Details
Date: Saturday, September 12, 2020 at 10am (Raincheck date: Saturday, September 19)
Time: 10:00am – 3:30pm
Meet at: Amboy River Road Park (180 Amboy Road, Asheville)
Park at: Karen Cragnolin Park (190 Amboy Road, Asheville) instead of Amboy Riverfront Park. The smaller Cragnolin park is roughly 250 yards away. Simply park and walk to Amboy Riverfront Park where we will put into the water. Canoes will be waiting for you there.
Cost: $35 for WNCHA members/$50 for non-members
Registration: Register at the bottom of the page to reserve your spot. There are two spots in each boat. Register together to ensure you are placed in the same boat, or send an email to [email protected] to request your seating arrangement.

What to Bring: Plenty of water (min 32 oz.), an easy-to-eat lunch, river clothes and appropriate footwear/sandals, sunscreen, hat (recommended), dry bag (recommended), face mask and hand sanitizer (mandatory).

Note: The highest priority of this event is safety. Due to Covid-19, participants must agree to follow mandatory safety guidelines during this activity in order to participate. These precautions and practices are: making every reasonable effort to maintain social distancing of six feet, mandatory face mask usage when in vehicles with members outside of your household, when putting-in and taking out of the water or meeting at interpretive stops, and when you are unable to maintain at least six-feet of distance from other individuals, even non-participants. Participants must also sanitize their hands before the activity, before touching group items for the first time, and after touching or contacting external items or non-participants. WNCHA reserves the right to cancel the activity or refuse service to an individual if safety precautions are not heeded. Our group size is also limited to 25 individuals. Inexperienced paddlers will receive a brief practice coaching from outing leaders before we embark as a group.


Amboy Road River Park
180 Amboy Road
Asheville, NC 28806 United States


Western North Carolina Historical Association (WNCHA)
View Organizer Website