Yadkin paddlers beware: Signs marking danger spots at dam are obscured

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Neal Conner of the canoe and kayak group HRL Paddlers has put out an urgent message for paddlers on the Yadkin River: signs marking danger spots at Idols Dam just below Tanglewood Park are obscured.
For paddlers heading toward Rowan County and beyond, the situation “if left uncorrected is a death trap waiting to happen. It poses an immediate threat to any paddler not familiar with the area,” Conner said in an e-mail to the Post.
He said there is a sign at the access area warning of a spillway and a portage area ahead, but members of paddling group were alarmed to find the signs at the actual spillway not visible.
The “portage ahead” sign is hidden by brush and the “spillway ahead” sign is almost knocked to the ground, evidently from recent severe weather.
“We are here as HRL Paddlers to tell you ‘Your Stop Signs are Down’ and there is going to be an accident if you don’t get out there right away and fix it,” Conner’s e-mail read.
Conner said the portage area before Idols Dam is the most life threatening, especially with these signs not being visible. “The paddle area is one of the prettiest, but in its present state also one of the deadliest” since there are no visible warning signs.
He said the occasional paddler would be the most in danger, especially if water was flowing faster than this past weekend when the group members passed through the area.
Conner said Alcoa has dangerous areas well marked, so no one will miss those spots. He said the state or Forsyth or Davie County would likely be in charge of the signs further up the river. The paddling group’s Web site at www.hrlpaddlers.com includes video and photos of the area at the Yadkin River/Tanglewood link.