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The original item was published from 9/17/2018 4:46:00 PM to 9/23/2018 12:00:04 AM.

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Posted on: September 6, 2018

[ARCHIVED] Event Cancelled: River Cleanup Leads to Expanded Water-Based Event

Kayaking the New River

A water-based festival styled event is expanding, benefiting from the successful cleanup of the New River. The New River Splash will feature some activities that once had been avoided because of water quality concerns.

In 1995, the New River was so degraded that a massive hog waste spill did not have significantly negative effects because the river was so organically dead. Jacksonville City officials, scientists and volunteers led efforts to restore the New River with the introduction of water-filtering oysters, aeration, restored wetlands and stormwater mitigation efforts.

“The result, advanced with partnerships and wastewater removal efforts, has been a success,” said Sturgeon City Development & Operations Director Paula Farnell. “Where before fishermen avoided the upper New River, now there are fishing guides who profit from sharing their local knowledge with others.”

New River Splash, set for September 22-23, 2018, is a project of the Jacksonville-Onslow Sports Commission and features a water-based triathlon, stand up paddle boarding, canoeing and kayak experiences as well as family-friendly land based activities.

“In our first year, we got to share our New River with hundreds of people who did not know the history of the degraded river,” said Sports Commission Executive Director M. Scott Smith. “For this year, we’re really concentrating on water-based competitions and new water experiences.”

The first New River Splash was held in 2017 and was an introductory project.

“This year, we have a family-friendly event that includes kids’ activities, music, food vendors, free kayak and stand up paddle board demos and races and more,” said Smith. “You can even pick two of the triathlon events to participate in.”

Saturday, September 22 will feature the family-based activities and stand up paddle board races. Sunday, September 23 will feature the City’s first triathlon. All are welcome to come out.

More information on New River Splash is available at or call the Sports Commission at 910 347-3141.

Media Contact Glenn Hargett 910 358-1001

Jacksonville-Onslow Sports Commission Executive Director, M Scott Smith 423 595-9421

Sturgeon City Director of Development & Operations, Paula Farnell 910 938-6456
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