SNOW HILL — The calm waters of Contentnea Creek have invited outdoor enthusiasts to fish, paddle, boat and swim for generations.
The creek is even more inviting now that a nearly $340,000 improvement project has been completed at the N.C. Wildlife Resources boat landing in Snow Hill.
The new concrete boat ramp, a 30-foot accessible fishing pier and a floating dock that makes it easier to board and exit boats and watercraft.
“It’s going to add a whole lot to the town of Snow Hill,” Mayor Denis Liles said. “Everyone that has used it in the past is going to look forward to it.”
Officials are planning an official celebration to christen the improvements, which opened to the public June 26. The project was funded by a $68,000 grant from Duke Energy Progress and $270,000 from N.C. Wildlife. The commission also assisted the town with designs and site enhancements. Land surrounding the creek was donated for the project.
Snow Hill resident Stefan Blixt said Contentnea Creek has provided him, his wife, Amy, and daughters, Stefani, 8, and Maia, 6, with a spot to relax, enjoy and bond as a family.
“I feel like it’s a good place for a kid to be a kid. Especially with so much kids are into that takes away from the outdoor stuff. I never have to beg my kids to go out there,” Blixt said.
From swimming to camping, and fishing both on and offshore, the Blixt family has taken full advantage of the creek’s offerings, he said.
“The area is very well maintained. I’m not worried about stepping on glass when we go into the water. The trails you can go down are big. It’s a really beautiful area,” Blixt said, adding the trees by the creek provide a perfect amount of shade.
“We have tied floats to trees. It’s perfect. The kids can play and we do not have to worry about a real strong current in the creek. The water moves, but it’s not powerful,” Blixt said.
The area wildlife is a huge draw to the area as well.
“I grew up with a huge love for wildlife in general. The creek’s wildlife is evident. You can see beavers, muskrats and it’s not overly crowded. My daughter loves catching frogs and bugs,” Blixt said.
“It’s a beautiful area. I feel like Snow Hill has something special. The people in the area feel like this also,” Blixt added. “Get outdoors and find the beauty.”
Hidden under the surface of the creek’s water are a multitude of fish waiting for anglers. From needle nose gar, sunfish, bass, bowfin to catfish, the creek’s water supports a diversity of aquatic water life.
Husband and wife Franklin and Rebecca Rouse can testify to that, with Franklin reeling in catfish between 30 to 40 pounds.
They, like others, enjoy spending their days off on the creek’s bank or floating in the water along with their dogs.
“It’s relaxing. I’m out in nature and it’s easy to access. I don’t have to fight trees,” Franklin said.
The evidence of catfish can also be seen when the creek’s waters are low, Blixt said.
“It’s awesome. When the water level is down, it looks like the embankment has been shot by cannonballs. Those are catfish holes,” Blixt said, adding the creek is a great place to go noodling for catfish.
Dylan Potter of Walstonburg is also a frequent visitor of the boat landing.
“I use the boat landing to launch my kayaks. There’s really no other spot in Greene County to do that beside Hookerton,” Potter said.
“I occasionally walk the trail that runs along the creek and oftentimes, if I’m in town getting a quick lunch, I’ll take my food down there and park and eat in a shaded area, looking out at the water,” Potter said.
Potter is excited about the improvement project. It will add value to an already valuable Snow Hill asset, he said.
“I have always felt the creek is a huge asset to Snow Hill and Greene County as a whole, but it’s often undervalued and overlooked,” Potter said. “One big issue with the old boat landing was the lack of paved areas. When it rained, the mud made it a little difficult to get back there especially for people on cars.
The old floating dock also had a slight lean to it and needed repairs, he said. The new fishing pier will be appreciated by people who love to fish and take pictures of the creek.
Potter also appreciates the area’s history, as the landing was once home to the Snow Hill Billies baseball team.
From 1937 to 1940, the Snow Hill Billies played in the Class D Coastal Plain League. In 1937, they won the league pennant.
The team produced players such as Aaron Robinson and Al Gettel of the New York Yankees. Walter Rabb also got his start from the Billies and went on to serve as the head baseball coach for the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill.
“It is cool the site has the monument there to commemorate that and that the site is still used for other uses today,” Potter said.