The Pigg River Dam is nearly 100 years old. According to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's website, several large sections have broken away from the face of the dam. Large vertical cracks in the concrete have started to form near the old powerhouse.
“As this dam ages it's going to start cracking; it could collapse. That would lead to lots of silt downstream. It might damage the road just behind me here,” said Creek Freaks member Raymond Williams.
The group FORVA, short for Friends of the Rivers of Virginia, purchased the dam and some adjacent property. The hope was to tear down the old power dam. Raymond Williams is a member of the group Creek Freaks, which supports the demolition.
“For paddlers, this will open up the river. It will make a nice, safe seven mile float from Rocky Mount,” said Williams.
It's a stretch that is currently obstructed by the dam, silt and mud deposits and dead trees. All pose a threat to paddlers.
“Anytime you're in a boat, you can get tangled up in trees in water, and that can potentially could lead to drowning,” said Williams.
Williams says people who are not familiar with the waterway could get caught up in tangled trees. He says once caught it's hard to get someone out.