It’s a Completely Different Type of Trail that Opens Up a Whole World
The unique wildlife recreation opportunity opens with ten sites spanning western North Carolina. All of the sites are located at public access points along the rivers, with most locations at city/county parks.
So ... the unique Blue Ridge Snorkel Trail is free. All that is needed is a snorkel and mask and the desire to try something new.
“River snorkelers will get to experience our rivers through the fishes’ eyes and explore all of the unique and beautiful species that are hidden just under the surface,” said Luke Etchison, Ph.D., Western Region Aquatic Wildlife Diversity Coordinator, with the NCWRC’s Inland Fisheries Division. “You’ll get the chance to see crayfishes, mussels, aquatic snails, salamanders, aquatic insects and fishes you don’t see, even if you fish.”
Information Signs Mark Each Location
Each site on the snorkeling trail is marked with signs that provide information on water safety and significant aquatic species that might be found there.
The ten pilot sites are:
- Catawba River Basin
- Joseph McDowell Historical Catawba Greenway, Town of Marion
- French Broad River Basin
- Hiwassee River Basin
- Valley River Heritage Park, Town of Andrews
- Little Tennessee River Basin
- Yadkin River Basin
- Stone Mountain State Park, N.C. Division of Parks and Recreation
Trail Capitalizes on Popular Activity
Snorkeling is becoming a popular new way to enjoy rivers and lakes. Businesses are now leading groups of people on guided river and lake snorkeling trips.
The new trail also hopes to take advantage of the North Carolina General Assembly designating 2023 as the Year of the Trail, to bring attention to the outdoor recreation activities provided by the state’s diverse trail system.
“The Blue Ridge Snorkel Trail is a logical partnership for us, given how it showcases the natural wonders of life underwater in our mountain region,” said Western Regional Director Callie Moore of MountainTrue, a southern Blue Ridge environmental and conservation group. “Given the excitement already generated with the announcement of the pilot sites, we hope to secure more funding and expand the program to create a snorkel site in each county in western North Carolina.”
Snorkel sites and more information are posted on blueridgesnorkeltrail.com.