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Keeping The River: A Podcast Series That Traces the Catawba

Episode 1 - The Catawba River's History Examined

Our series of articles about getting outside in the Charlotte area to be active on the Carolina Thread Trail network and Catawba River is presented in partnership with local orthopedic-care provider OrthoCarolina.


Queen City Nerve is now presenting Keeping the River, a three-part podcast series powered by OrthoCarolina and hosted by Dr. Keith Cradle, founder of Camping with Cradle. Keeping the River tells the story of the Catawba River, ranging from its 10,000-year history as a life source for settlers to how it impacts the lives of millions of people living along its basin today.


In the first episode, we tell the rich history of the Catawba River, beginning with the Catawba Indian Nation, the first people believed to have settled its banks. Keith chats with DeLesslin “Roo” George-Warren, a citizen of the Catawba Indian Nation and expert on its history, to discuss the importance of a river that’s so closely tied to his ancestry.

catawba river podcast

Following that, Keith talks to Rusty Rozzelle, a historian of sorts that has worked for Mecklenburg County Storm Water Services as the water quality programs manager for the past 42 years. His family has lived on the river for hundreds of years and is the namesake of Rozzelles Ferry Road, which runs through northwest Charlotte up to the river crossing that his ancestors once ran.

Rozzelle fills us in on what role the Catawba played in the two major conflicts to take place on American soil: the Revolutionary Way and the Civil War. He also goes into a less-told story that he finds intriguing: how the proliferation of steel in the South greatly impacted life on the Catawba. 

We wrap up with the contemporary history of coal ash on the Catawba River. Keith tells of the eight-year court battle led by the Catawba Riverkeeper Foundation to ensure Duke Energy clean up the remaining unlined coal ash pits along the Catawba River and three of its major lakes.

In future episodes, we will dig deeper into the Catawba Riverkeeper Foundation’s work on the river, as well as let you know you can become engaged in keeping it healthy for future generations to enjoy.

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