Suited up and ready to roll we made our way downstream to form lines of snorkelers. With 64 deg water even the experienced snorkelers were hesitant, but once the crew laid flat and got their heads in the water the elation began to ring out.
Last Saturday we had the wonderful privilege of hosting Jim Herrig, from the US Forest Service, the man who developed the wildly successful Freshwater Snorkeling Program in the Cherokee National Forest! Jim and his assistant Michela packed all of their equipment up: snorkels, masks and wetsuits, and made a 6 hour trek north to give us a full demonstration of the program.
A small pack from Boy Scout Troop #5 hauled their swimming trunks, snorkels and bug nets down to Big Wilson Creek in search of Southern Appalachain Brook Trout. Upon arriving we found a tea-colored tannin stained creek. Not to be deterred, the scouts geared up and entered the 62 degree water without hesitation.
Earlier this summer Blue Ridge Discovery Center received a grant to implement a Freshwater Snorkeling program with the goal of connecting our youth to the lifeblood of the Blue Ridge Mountains. By immersing kids in a setting they have never experienced before, we will be generating a profound drive of curiosity, exploration and discovery. Armed with wetsuits, snorkels and masks, we are about cross that mirrored boundary.