Last Friday, Vickie Crane, the director of Sampson County Convention & Visitors Bureau, Ray Jordan, the chairma of the Sampson County Convention & Visitors Bureau, and I had the opportunity to wind down a busy work week with the serenity of the Black River. A big thank you to the Friends of Sampson County Waterways for taking the time to schedule this trip and show us what the Sampson County Waterways is all about.
With over 300 miles of navigable waterways in Sampson County, the Friends of Sampson County Waterways take the initiative to keep these waterways clear of trash and other debris. Although an exact number of users is difficult to determine, it is estimated that thousands come to Sampson County each year to travel these waters. While these visitors are here for the waterways, the residual effects within Sampson County are numerous in purchasing gas, supplies, food, and more.
Vickie Crane said, “Paddling sports (kayaking and canoeing) is a growing tourism niche and definitely a viable form of economic development. Sampson County is fortunate to have the rivers and an organization like the Friends of Sampson County Waterways who work to keep the waterways clear so everyone can enjoy the beauty of Sampson County from a different perspective. Paddle trails provide a fun and exciting way to get friends and families outdoors, connect communities to treasured landscapes and are an economic driver that benefits local businesses and our quality of life.”
Crane continues, “A 2001 economic impact study showed that eastern North Carolina’s coastal plain water trail system produced more than $1 million for the local economy, and showed that a destination paddled on a multi-day paddle trip will spend about $88 per day in local communities on food, lodging, retail sales and recreation services. Sampson County has the natural resources to benefit economically from this popular activity and I hope the community will work together to further support and develop paddle trails.”
Again, we thank the Friends of Sampson County Waterways and others that utilize these paddling trails for helping keep our waterways clean and navigable. What a wonderful day as we were able to experience Sampson County from the river. The waterways are such a great asset in many ways, from increasing the quality of life for those that live within Sampson County to serving as an economic driver for tourism; we should take pride in our waterways and the opportunities they provide.
For more information about the Clinton-Sampson Chamber of commerce, I encourage you to visit the website at www.clintonsampsonchamber.org or give us a call, 910-592-6177.