News

March 2019 - River Access Improvements at US 15-501

Friends of Lower Haw received a grant from REI for river access improvements at US 15-501 and US 64.  After some unanticipated delays, the US 15-501 pathway improvement project is completed!  Our contractor worked on the informal footpath leading downhill from the parking lot, ending at the trash can near the dam.  These improvements are to reduce erosion and help make the footpath safer for public access.  Friends of Lower Haw collaborated with Chatham County Parks & Recreation, who manage the US 15-501 parking lot as a river access amenity.


October 22, 2018 - Pittsboro Commissioners Adopt Resolution in Support of Lower Haw

The Town of Pittsboro Board of Commissioners voted unanimously to adopt a resolution in support of the Lower Haw Trails Plan at their evening meeting on October 22nd.  County commissioners adopted a similar resolution in August.  We appreciate the support of our local governments for the new trails plan and the Lower Haw River State Natural Area.
Read Chatham County's resolution at this link:  http://www.chathamnc.org/home/showdocument?id=41426  


August 2018 - County Commissioners Adopt Resolution in Support of Lower Haw

Chatham County Board of Commissioners adopted a resolution in support of the Lower Haw Trails Plan at their evening meeting on August 20th.  The resolution states that "the Chatham County Board of Commissioners supports the Lower Haw Trails Plan and urges NC State Parks to adopt this Plan as a priority implementation project to be funded by the Parks and Recreation Trust Fund (PARTF)."  Friends of Lower Haw president Gretchen Smith gave a short presentation to the commissioners before they voted unanimously to adopt the resolution.  We appreciate our county commissioners' support of the new trails plan and the Lower Haw River State Natural Area. 


July 2018 - Educational Video on Trails Plan and Lower Haw River State Natural Area

Our new 5-minute educational video is now available for viewing!  Friends of Lower Haw hired Destination by Design to produce an educational video about the Lower Haw River State Natural Area and the recently completed Trails Plan. Funding for the video was provided by Triangle Community Foundation's Support for Places Awareness Program.  We appreciate Joe Jacob with Haw River Canoe & Kayak for taking the film crew on a morning paddle trip and Elaine Chiosso of Haw River Assembly for taking the film crew on an afternoon walk along the river.  Thanks to everyone who participated in the production, either on camera or behind the scenes!  We also want to thank Patrick Mueller, our web admin, for setting up the video on our new YouTube channel.  Watch the video from our Home page or Media page. 


June 2018 - REI Awards Grant for River Access Improvements
Friends of Lower Haw has been awarded a grant from REI to help support continued improvements at Hwy 15-501 and Hwy 64 sites managed or owned by Chatham County Parks & Recreation.  Friends of Lower Haw is collaborating with county staff and the Carolina Canoe Club to make improvements to help address safety and erosion issues at both sites. 


June 2018 - Improvement Projects Underway at River Access Sites

Based on feedback from our 2016 Canoe Access Survey, Friends of Lower Haw is undertaking improvements to the Hwy 15-501 and Hwy 64 river access sites managed or owned by Chatham County.  Some top concerns expressed by survey respondents included paddler safety and erosion issues.  Friends of Lower Haw collaborated with Chatham and Orange counties Swift Water Rescue and Alamance County Parks Haw River Trail Coordinator to design paddler advisory and paddle trail map signs.  Improvements include finishing the existing kiosk, building a kiosk addition, and repairing the shade shelter at Hwy 15-501 and building a new kiosk at Hwy 64.  The new signs will be installed at both locations.  Thanks to Andy McMahan of CCCC’s Sustainability Technologies for designing our new sheltered kiosk for the Hwy 64 site.  (If you’re wondering why the Hwy 64 kiosk is located within the parking lot, the county wanted to keep it out of the floodway.)  This project is being funded by a grant from Chatham County Parks & Recreation and our local Lowe’s Home Improvement store in Pittsboro.  Lowe's is providing the labor and materials.


April 21, 2018 - Bynum Bridge Fest to Benefit Friends of Lower Haw

Each year, be PhilARThropy organizes the Bynum Bridge Fest as the primary annual event demonstrating their mission, and each year they also support a charitable organization. Recognizing that the Haw River has provided an inspirational backdrop for their festival, in 2018 they have selected the charitable organization of choice to be Friends of Lower Haw River State Natural Area.  Artists will be selling their artwork on the scenic bridge overlooking the Haw River in Bynum. There will be  food and outdoor fun surrounded by nature and art.  Show your support for artists and Friends of Lower Haw by attending the 2018 Bynum Bridge Fest on April 21st from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm.   Stop by our Friends of Lower Haw booth.  Our treasurer, Matt Spangler, will be one of the many artists selling his artwork.  PhilARThropy is a North Carolina based volunteer organization created by husband and wife team, Craig and Amanda Greiner. Going beyond the mission of a conventional artist organization, be PhilARThropy strives to not only promote the arts but to also support charitable organizations through the arts. Visit http://www.bephilarthropy.com/  for more information. 


January 16, 2018 - Presentation to Chatham County Board of Commissioners

Friends chapter president Gretchen Smith and Alamance Haw River Trail Coordinator Guil Johnson presented an update on the Haw River Trail and the Lower Haw Trails Master Plan to the Chatham County Board of Commissioners at their January 16th afternoon work session.  You can watch the presentation on the county’s website by selecting Video for the Agenda Item Presentation on Haw River Trail and the Lower Haw Trails Master Plan.


November 21, 2017 - Anonymous Donor Gives $1,000

We got a Thanksgiving surprise!  Our Friends of Lower Haw chapter has received a $1,000 grant from the Anonymous Fund at Triangle Community Foundation.  We would like to thank the anonymous donor for their generosity in supporting our Friends of Lower Haw chapter and are grateful for their confidence in our organization.  We rely on the generosity of donors, volunteers, and grants to implement programs that make a difference for this special place.


August 2017 - Friends of Lower Haw Awarded Grant from Chatham County Parks & Recreation
Our Friends chapter has been awarded a Recreation Grant to help fund projects at the parking lots for two popular paddle access points.  The grant will be used to support improvements to the shade shelter and kiosk at Hwy 15-501, new kiosk at Hwy 64, and informational signage at both locations.  Ideas for the projects came from responses to our online canoe access survey and from local residents.  

July 2017 - Friends of Lower Haw Awarded Grant for Lower Haw Trails Master Plan
Friends of Lower Haw River State Natural Area has been awarded a $25,000 grant from Triangle Community Foundation to support the Lower Haw Trails Master Plan project.  This project is made possible with a grant from Triangle Community Foundation's Support for Places:  Environmental Conservation Awareness program.  Although informal use by hikers and paddlers has occurred for years, this state natural area is considered undeveloped by State Parks since there are no authorized land and paddle trails.  The grant will be used to develop a trails master plan over the next year to plan for future sustainable development of official hiking and paddle trails and amenities.

June 2017 - Friends of Lower Haw Awarded Matching Grant from Friends of State Parks
Thanks to our treasurer, Matt Spangler, our Friends chapter has been awarded a $300 matching grant from Friends of State Parks to help with our ongoing trash can project.  Matt applied for the grant to match the $300 we raised in donations to purchase additional trash cans and supplies.  New locations for the trash cans will be US 15-501 and US 64 access points.

December 9, 2016 - Volunteers Tackle Trash Problem

Friends of Lower Haw, together with State Parks, has been busy on its first project: the installation of permanent trash cans at popular Lower Haw SNA access points. On December 9, 2016, a team of six dedicated Friends—Ryan Cadwalader (board member), David Everage, Megan Lynch, George Pauly (board member), Matt Spangler (treasurer), and Jimmy Wood—installed three trash cans on State Parks property. One can is located at the “upper” parking lot on Bynum Road near the bridge, another is located at the “lower” Bynum parking lot near the old mill site, and the third can is located on the southeast side of the US-64 access (river left, downstream of the overpass). Friends of the Lower Haw is currently evaluating options for installing additional trash cans at other access points along the Lower Haw, including above Bynum dam off of 15-501 and at the southwest access off of US-64.  State Parks funded these three cans and Ranger Brock Martin helped coordinate the project and select sites, and Friends of Lower Haw has assumed responsibility for installing and periodically emptying the cans. A big thanks are due to Jimmy Wood, Megan Lynch, Matt Porter, and Daniel Cohen for volunteering to empty the cans in December and January. On that note, we are looking for more volunteers interested in helping empty the cans—please contact us if you’d like to get involved!


August 9, 2016 - Friends of Lower Haw River State Natural Area is now official!
We are official!  On July 30th, the Board of Directors of Friends of State Parks approved our application to become a local chapter. We are now Friends of Lower Haw River State Natural Area.   Our chapter will have tax-exempt 501(c)3 status under the Friends of State Parks organization, so donations to our chapter are tax deductible.   Our Executive Committee continues to make progress on our organizational setup, with help from our Friends.  Some more updates:

We have a mailing address:  PO Box 65, Bynum NC 27228

Like us on Facebook:  facebook.com/lowerhawfriends        (Thanks Erin for setting us up!)

A big thank you goes to Patrick Mueller for creating our website and for his generosity in paying for five years of our new domain name “www.lowerhaw.org” that should be ready for viewing soon. 

Executive Committee Members:
Gretchen Smith, President
Erin Jobe, Vice President
Nancy Strong, Secretary
Matt Spangler, Treasurer

July 12, 2016 - Friends of Lower Haw River State Natural Area Informational Meeting 
This was the first meeting to organize the Friends of Lower Haw River State Natural Area chapter of the Friends of State Parks group.