The Pee Dee River

By: Constance, Kim, Ondrea, and Kathryn


The lower part of the floodplain of the Pee Dee was extensively used for developed for rice culture in the continental time! Rice was the major was the most export of the area from the port at George town. The rice culture declined with the loss of slave labor after the civil war.

Two hurricanes during the 20th century destroyed much of the rice canal infrastructure and effectively ended the remnants of the rice culture. To this day the river is not extensively used for navigation.


The Yadkin/Pee Dee River basin is the second largest river basin in the state, covering 7,213 square miles. It includes eighty-three municipalities and all or part of twenty-four counties. The basin is primarily located within the piedmont physiographic region of the state, but also drains the mountain and coastal plain regions.The basin originates on the eastern slopes of the Blue Ridge Mountains in Caldwell, Wilkes and Surry Counties. A small portion of the Yadkin River headwaters originates in Virginia.

Yadkin Pee Dee River Trail Association

The Yadkin Pee Dee River Trail Association is a private, non-profit corporation established to promote policies, programs and projects which contribute to the stewardship of the Yadkin Pee Dee River Basin. Initially chartered in 1984 as the Yadkin River Trail Association, the association expanded in 1994 to include the Pee Dee.


Generally the chemical quality of the surface waters in the Yadkin-Pee Dee River basin is good. They are low in mineral matter and soft, although some of the surface water contains excessive quantities of iron. In some local areas the streams have been polluted by municipal and industrial wastes. During periods of high runoff many of the streams transport large quantities of suspended sediment. Tributary streams in the lower eastern part of the basin are highly colored because of drainage from swampy areas.

The Yadkin-Pee Dee earth has revealed more than the secrets of early civilization. In 1799, a 12-year-old boy found a 17-pound yellow stone in Meadow Creek. It was worthy only to be the family doorstop until it was identified as gold three years later. This part of the North Carolina Piedmont soon ushered in a spirited period of gold prospecting well before the California Gold Rush of 1848. Hobbyists can still pan for gold on most streams in the Uwharrie National Forest using manual panning techniques. Suction dredging and metal detecting are not allowed in the forest. Rock hounds are allowed to take a small amount.

Building on four years of below normal rainfall, the 2002 drought has caused streamflows in Central North Carolina to reach record lows. The Piedmont region of North Carolina continues to be classified as "exceptional drought", the most serious category. Under these exceptional drought conditions, the rules for the operation of the hydroelectric projects on the Yadkin River, established by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, are causing a drastic draw-down at High Rock Lake, which is damaging fish and wildlife habitat, limiting recreational use, and hurting recreation-oriented businesses. There is a substantial danger that the usable stored water at High Rock and at the other lakes may be completely depleted by fall, which would result in a sharp reduction in the flow of the river downstream from the six hydroelectric projects and might put industrial and municipal water supplies out of operation.