Dan River Batteau
Canoe, kayak or charter a batteau through North Carolina's nationally significant batteau navigation system on the Dan River in Rockingham County, NC.
Recognized by the National Register of Historic Places, the trail features 33 fascinating navigational structures including sluices, wing dams and landings designed to enable boats to maneuver the rapids.
Stone fish weirs, believed to have been built by American Indians as many as 1000 years ago, were modified much later to improve navigation. Download the front and back of the Dan River Batteau NavigationTrail brochure (two pdf files) to learn more.
Dan River Batteau Shipwreck Project, Eden, NC
The batteau Dan River was built in Virginia and purchased by Dan River Basin Association (DRBA) in 2003. Forty feet long and eight feet wide, it is a full-sized replica of historic batteaux that were the primary freight haulers on the Dan River in the nineteenth century. Beginning in 1792, batteaux were directly responsible for the economic development of the 200-mile-long Dan River and the founding of the river port cities and towns of Madison, Leaksville (now Eden), Danville, Milton, South Boston, and Clarksville.
The batteau replica was operated by Three Rivers Outfitters, Eden, for excursions under a lease-purchase agreement with DRBA until the boat foundered in high water in 2008. The Dan River’s longest voyage carried 20 passengers and crew eleven miles on 3 September 2005 from historic ports Danville, VA to Milton, NC, the second point-to-point batteau voyage on the river in over a century
The purpose of the shipwreck project is to dredge sand and mud from the hull to ascertain whether the vessel can be raised, refloated, and recovered from the river. If intact and watertight, Dan River may resume service as a tourism vessel illustrating the rich heritage of batteaux on the Dan River. If not, it will be offered to one of the river ports for a historical display and interpretation.
Project Coordinator: Dr. Lindley S. Butler, Wentworth—DRBA and Historian of the Queen Anne’s Revenge Shipwreck Project
Professional Staff: NC Underwater Archaeology Branch (UAB), Fort Fisher: Richard Lawrence, Head; Julep Gillman-Bryan, Dive Safety Officer and licensed captain; Nathan Henry, Conservator.
The office of State Archaeology is responsible for documenting and overseeing the remains of thousands of shipwrecks in NC waters, including prehistoric dugout canoes, Civil War blockade runners, victims of World War II’s Battle of the Atlantic, and Blackbeard’s Queen Anne’s Revenge.
Volunteer Staff: Jeff Johnston and Mark Bishopric, DRBA and Three Rivers Outfitters;
Brian Williams, DRBA
Dan River Basin Association—Katherine Mull, Executive Director
Eden Tourism Development—Cindy Adams
Eden Historical Museum—Melissa Whitten, Director; Julie Ganis, Curator
Three Rivers Outfitters—Mark Bishopric, Jeff Johnston
Dan River Batteau Mural, Eden
Leaksville Landing Civil War Historical Marker
Eden Historical Museum
Dan River Atlas, William E. Trout (2003)
Rockingham County: A Brief History, Lindley S. Butler (1982)
An Insider’s Guide to the Dan River, DRBA (2009)