Canoeing Dismal Swamp


Identifier: Dismal Swamp Paddle For the Border
Purpose of outing: Canoeing, Camping, get the shirt/cap
Advancements: Canoeing MB, Camping MB
Mode of travel: Car
Planning horizon: Months (register in January for spring outing)
Capacity: Not limited
Fees: Check web site
Distance: 190 mi, 3-4 hrs
Location: Dismal Swamp Canal between South Mills, NC and Chesapeake, VA
Contact: Old Dominion District Venturing Roundtable
Dates: Late April (annual event)
Description: The two principle links for the Paddle are: 1.
Registration opens in Jan and is full by mid-Feb. Link doesn't seem to change over time. It is 7 mile paddle from NC Visitor's Center to first real boat ramp in VA. Could pretty much duplicate it, self supported, anytime you wanted. There is a good bike trail in VA from just north of the border for about 9mi., some short ones at the NC visitors’ center, and some dangerous roads, for biking. in between. There are several commercial campgrounds in the area, lower VA, northeastern NC; Scouters who have attended the Paddle, have stayed at, but it is about 40 mi from the Paddle. But, they say they are Scout friendly. Elizabeth City Coast Guard station is about 25 mi from the Paddle. Chesapeake City has a campground at another park. There is a campground on a feeder canal - boat / hike in, but no one in ODD knows who owns it. It is not part of the Federal Wildlife Preserve (even though it is on their map), so may be a City or VA State property. There is a paddle trail on the Susquehanna, north of Harrisburg, with lots of island primitive camping spots. The obvious ones:
The Potomac (north of Great Falls, Paw-Paw - Little Orleans, Hancock and more) (some paddle, hike, and/or bike), the branches of the Potomac (the Slot as it is called)
South Branch of Shenandoah (Bentonville, Luray).
No real camping but real close - the Occoquan water trails, Potomac between Fletchers Cove and Belle Haven Marina / National Harbor or maybe even Ft Washington (but not all of that.)
May want to plan a day paddle event here after the swim test and before the 5 mile open water paddle to Out Island or the get stuck in the twisty swamp trail paddle at Out Island.
Besides the various parks and commercial outfitters, MWR Ft Belvoir has lots of sit-in singles and sit-on doubles with lousy PFDs and OK paddles to rent (and a boat trailer) right on Pohick Bay.
Assessment: Very affordable, potentially high adventure for Venturers provided they perform the planning