MADISON, N.C. — The Dan River access point on Lindsey Bridge Road in Madison is a frequent stop along the river. And in this age of COVID-19, Lee Mitchell explained spending time on the river is a good example of social distancing.
“With outdoor recreation, with COVID, no better time to start. It got people social distancing and something to enjoy outside,” Mitchell said.
Mitchell is the Madison-Mayodan Recreation Center Director. The recreation center started tubing adventures down the river this season because people were looking for a way to get outside while staying away from large groups.
“Our first year couldn’t have gone any better,” Mitchell said. “We had over four thousand tubers with 90 percent of the tubers out of the county.”
The Dan River is a source of recreation and a lifeline. The river is the drinking source for the town of Madison and the habitat for the endangered Roanoke logperch and James River spiny mussel. That’s why multiple partners are working together to lower the dam at Lindsey Bridge Road and create a staircase for fish. The project will allow the town of Madison to continue to get drinking water from the Dan River. The spiny mussel habitat is improved. And the logperch will no longer be stuck behind the 1960s dam. The fish will use a stair-like feature, swimming from pool to pool, gradually stepping down to the riverbed. Fish and humans will be able to travel the Dan River freely. The staircase feature will bring extra excitement for people traveling through the Lindsey Bridge access point.
“You are going to have where it use to be no rapids, now you are going to have class one, class two rapids,” Mitchell said. “It’s going to be more enjoyable for the folks especially at the beginning of the run.”
The town of Madison has big plans for the Dan River. Lowering the dam at the Lindsey Bridge access point is the first phase. The second phase includes improving the river access on Highway 704. Madison town planners hope to have both projects done in time for the spring 2021 season.