is blessed with a great abundance of natural resources.
Perhaps the most abundant, and ultimately valuable, of these resources is
the water that traverses the county. Numerous
creeks and drainages form larger bodies of water such as Little River,
, and the
. Few counties in this part of the
state can lay claim to three different rivers.
With so much water around,
was in far better shape last summer throughout the prolonged drought than its
neighboring counties who have fewer resources from which to draw.
Of all the waterways scattered around the county, Barnes Creek may well
be the crown jewel. Barnes Creek
originates in southern
, just south of the Birkhead Wilderness Area.
It then flows south across the county line where it provides a remarkably
mountainous view from Jumpin’ Off Rock. Slightly
downstream it picks up the drainage of Poison Fork and heads towards the
. On the last stretch before joining
, Barnes Creek provides one more scenic area where it crosses under
Barnes Creek is special for several reasons.
Socially, it provides several pools known for their excellent swimming
opportunities. Historically, the
creek flows through the heart of gold mining country.
Barnes Creek also offers a glimpse of what Piedmont creeks and rivers
should look like. It flows clear and
provides habitat for fish and mussel species that can’t survive in the dirty
waters of urban streams. The creek
also provides a form of recognition for local landowners.
The N.C. Division of Water Quality (DWQ) has identified Barnes Creek as
an Outstanding Resource Water (ORW). An
ORW is the top classification a stream can receive.
Such a classification is not commonplace, with only two other streams in
receiving this lofty ranking. Thus,
landowners within the Barnes Creek watershed should take pride.
Their diligence, coupled with the natural terrain of the watershed, have
helped create a source of pride for
If you’d like to experience the crystal-clear waters of Barnes Creek
you may do so from the Dark Mountain Trailhead located on
Flint Hill Road
. At this point, much of the
surrounding land is
property so you can follow the stream for a good hike if you choose.
If nothing else, next time you drive across a culvert and see a sign for
Barnes Creek take a moment to appreciate the clean running waters for what they
are: a local treasure.