May 16, 2015
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The Lumber River, which meanders along the border between Scotland, Hoke, Robeson and Columbus counties before heading further south for its rendezvous with the little Pee Dee, was so named for its 19th century use as a means of transportation for timber harvesting in the watershed. Poet John Charles McNeill argued persuasively that the name actually came from a Lumbee word meaning “black water.”
Originally called Drowning Creek by the early settlers, the river now boasts 81 miles under protection as a wild and scenic river. This is especially true of the Scotland County section, which remains undeveloped for virtually its entire length. This section of the Lumber River Canoe Trail is narrow and somewhat swifter than lower sections. Canoeists and kayakers should check river levels and be wary of fallen trees and sandbars.
The Lumber supports outdoor recreation and river festivals, as well as boating, fishing and picnicking.
In Scotland County, your best bet is to begin at Chalk Banks Access near Wagram at the uppermost end of the accessible section of river. In addition to scenic viewing, this recreation area is ideal for picnicking and is equipped with public facilities.