Neuse River offers serenity, nature inside city

The Neuse River is featured in "North Carolina Nooks and Crannies," WRAL News' summer series profiling some of the state's the lesser-known vacation and day trip sites.

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RALEIGH, N.C. — A peaceful, out-of-the-way stretch of the Neuse River lets boaters enjoy wildlife, serenity and nature – all while still inside Raleigh's city limits.
"We're already pretty much in the middle of nowhere," said Alissa Bierma, the upper Neuse riverkeeper for the Neuse Riverkeeper Foundation. "A lot of water, a lot of trees make you feel like you're 1,000 miles away in Wake County."

Although the Neuse is 257 miles long and runs through 11 counties, Bierma said she has found perfection in a short stretch from U.S. Highway 64 to Poole Road.

"I love seeing all the wildlife out here," she said. "If you're quiet enough, at times, you can see turtles sunning themselves, snakes come out of the water, muskrats and beavers doing their work."

Unfortunately, Bierma said, nature isn't always the only thing she sees. In spots, trash and abandoned fishing gear dot the banks.

"You'll see signs of civilization like that, but overall, the river is looking good," she said.

Some even say that visiting the river might be good for people's health.

"It helps me relax and breathe better," Bierma said.

She urged residents to try out the Neuse River for themselves. The city of Raleigh maintains five canoe launches between the Falls Lake Dam and Poole Road.

"Most of the Neuse can be done by inexperienced paddlers, because most of the water is flat water," she said.

As for herself, Bierma said, the quiet stretch of the Neuse River near Poole Road has already captured her heart.

"I love my river," she said. "I could spend all day listening to this."

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