Catawba Riverkeeper patrols, monitors, engages, samples, teaches, and advocates across a more than 5,000 square mile river basin that spans 26 counties in 2 states. While you’ll often see our heron logo on our staff and members on the water, along a trail, or in a creek, our work originates from multiple permanent locations designed to meet the needs of residents throughout the basin.

The Boathouse

Just ¼ mile from our soon-to-be headquarters at the South Fork Trailhead in McAdenville, NC sits the Catawba Riverkeeper Boathouse. The Boathouse is the hub of our engagement programs and a community gathering spot for kayakers and other outdoor enthusiasts.

Once a nursery, we have converted the 2,800 square foot building into a multi-use facility that includes an outdoor gear and apparel store, a canteen, kayak rental hub, offices and meeting space for our Engagement staff, plus storage for our boats, kayaks, and clean-up supplies. The Boathouse is open Saturday and Sunday, 10 AM–6 PM and for special events.

You can rent kayaks, canoes, and SUPs for self-guided trips upstream from The Boathouse and back. Or, you can sign up for a guided South Fork Rapids Tour. Learn more.

From The Boathouse you can also explore the South Fork Trail, a beautiful section of the Carolina Thread Trail that follows the river upstream to Lowell, NC or downstream to Cramerton, NC. You can also bring your own boat or bike and explore the trail or blueway from the South Fork Trailhead. When you’re done playing for the day, our canteen offers a variety of snacks, soft drinks, and beer. Gather at one of our picnic tables and relax with friends.

The Boathouse is also the meeting site for the Paddle, Bike, Run Series powered by OrthoCarolina.

Picture taken early May 2021, in the middle of renovations.

*The Catawba Riverkeeper staff is using The Boathouse as its summer headquarters until the new headquarter space is completed.

Outdoor Classroom & Interpretive Trail – Southern Basin

The Outdoor Classroom is located on a beautiful 5-acre property on the banks of the river in Ft. Lawn, SC. Conveniently situated on Highway 9 right next to the Catawba Fish Camp, the Outdoor Classroom features the Duke Energy Interpretive Trail (opening soon), a ¼ mile walking trail that features information about the flora, fauna, and eco-systems that make up the Catawba River Basin. Additionally, we have two unique outdoor educational environments for children and adults alike to engage in fun and informative programs throughout the year. We are currently fundraising to add an indoor classroom to this property as well.

Once complete, the trail will be open dawn to dusk. Outdoor Classroom programming is available by appointment only. We welcome school groups, church groups, or corporate groups to reach out to learn more about programs that are offered at the Outdoor Classroom or to customize an outing for your group.

The Canopy Classroom, a feature of the 5-acre Outdoor Classroom property.

Northern Basin Office

The Northern Basin Satellite Office is located at 305 E. Union St in Morganton, NC in the City of Morganton office complex. Operated in partnership with the Lake James Environmental Association, the Northern Basin Office includes staff offices and a small lab.

The Northern Basin Office is open by appointment only for visitors. From this office we monitor, engage, and advocate for river and her waterways above Lake Norman including Lookout Shoals Lake, Lake Hickory, Lake Rhodhiss, Lake James, and the headwaters above Lake James. For information about educational programs or kayaking opportunities in the northern basin, please contact Grant Buckner, the Northern Basin Watershed Manager at

Headquarters & River Room – COMING SUMMER 2022

The Catawba Riverkeeper Foundation will become the anchor tenant of Dynamo 31, the soon-to-be redeveloped 1940’s-era Pharr Yarns mill building at 102 Main Street near the lake in downtown McAdenville.

Catawba Riverkeeper’s new headquarters will include offices, a conference room, a water testing lab, classroom, public-facing retail space, and a taproom.

Floating Classroom – COMING 2023

To be located on Lake Norman, our river basin’s largest reservoir, The Floating Classroom is a 10’ x 40’ tri-toon that serves children and adults alike from across the region. We offer a variety of programs on the Floating Classroom from summer camps and Water Watcher trainings to fundraising events and corporate outings. Teachers are welcome to bring their classes to the Floating Classroom for any one of our many environmental education lessons that are designed to adhere to North Carolina state standards.

The Floating Classroom is by appointment only or for scheduled events and resides at Inland Sea Marina in Mooresville, NC. If you are interested in booking The Floating Classroom for your school group, church group, or corporate group please contact Morgan Long,

*Chattahoochee Riverkeeper boat pictured. Catawba Riverkeeper’s boat will look similar.