BY AMANDA FORRESTER
necessity to a recreational and environmental destination
and Fayetteville, it ensured a navigable channel for barges carrying shiploads of tim-ber,
petroleum, and other materials, opening up the 100-plus miles of river from
Wilmington to Fayetteville to commercial vessels other than shallow drift paddlewheel-ers
and flat-bottom barges and rafts.
It reached its peak commercial usage in 1978, when the total tonnage was 583,054.
The lock gates aren’t opened very often these days, but the river and the surrounding
green space are busier than ever. Outdoor enthusiasts come here for fishing and boating.
Families come to picnic while enjoying the beautiful views.
“It’s part of our mission to provide recreational opportunities to people, and in doing
that, to help them gain a sense of stewardship for the environment that they’re using so
that it can be maintained and used for future generations,” Pillow says.
Lock and Dam #1 is still operational, but
few vessels require passage these days.
Instead, the area is used by boaters and
conservation groups like Cape Fear River
Watch. Robert Herring (bottom) enjoys
dropping a hook at the lock on a regular
COURTESY CAPE FEAR RIVER WATCH
ITS TRUE POTENTIAL