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Cashie River

243 Bal Gra Road
Merry Hill, NC 27957

Take 17North towards Edenton. Approximately 1 mile before Chowan River Bridge turn right onto Bal Gra Road. Follow the signs for parking.

Bertie County Park Rules

Bertie Beach Day

Child Playing in Chowan River on Bertie Beach Day 2019
Highlights from Bertie Beach Day 2019


Project Contacts:
Juan Vaughan, II,
Interim County Manager
(252) 794-5300

Steve Biggs,
Economic Development
(252) 794-5301

Donna Mizelle,
Parks & Recreation
(252) 794-5363

Robin P. Payne,
Project Facilitator
(252) 588-2318

TGOW - Tall Glass of Water Project

Bertie County’s investment in the TGOW 137 acre property, will be the first public beach access to recreational waters, unlike anywhere else in Northeastern North Carolina. Opportunities for Bertie residents will include swimming, canoeing & kayaking, hiking, camping, and environmental education field experiences for students and adults. The Bertie County Board of Education has also embraced in-the-field teaching, and hands-on learning opportunities for local students at TGOW and there have been discussions regarding expanding the “Sound to the Sea” curriculum and field laboratory activities here in Bertie County.


Referred to locally as “Tall Glass of Water” (TGOW)” until a name and logo have been selected, the site’s most stunning feature is its 2,200 linear feet of sand beach and shallow calm waters overlooked by impressive high cliffs on the Albemarle Sound where the Chowan River begins.


The Board of Commissioners’ planning efforts also envision the project as a base-of-operations for expanded adventure tourism and cultural activities throughout all of Bertie with an interpretive nature center and outdoor entertainment venue as a draw to residents and visitors alike.


The purchase of this 137 acre site was made possible by Bertie County Board of Commissioners and the N.C. Parks and Recreation Trust Fund.


Bertie County’s investment, is complimented by the NC Coastal Land Trust (NCCLT) purchase of 995 acres almost adjacent to TGOW. The parcel was destined to become a 2,800 unit development and 212 slip marina but with the economic downturn the property came up for sale and NCCLT was able to secure the site with funds awarded by the Clean Water Management Trust Fund, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, N.C. Attorney General’s Environmental Enhancement Grant Fund, N.C. Parks and Recreation Trust Fund, the Enviva Forest Conservation Fund and the U.S. Department of Defense. In 2018 NCCLT conveyed the land to the N.C.  Division of Parks and Recreation, which will manage the site as the new Salmon Creek State Natural Area. The move ensures permanent protection of its significant natural, historic, archaeological and cultural resources. 


A 300-acre tract sits between TGOW and the Salmon Creek property and is being considered for acquisition through the work of NCCLT. If funding is secured a total of 1,432 acres of Sound front wilderness will be preserved.


Natural Features, Ecological Significance and Eco-tourism

Dr. Stanley Riggs, North Carolina Land Of Water

NCLOW Report 12-21-2018

NCLOW Report 9-4-2019

NCLOW Report 10-14-2019 (Presewntation Video)


Summary: From Rivers to Sounds

Bertie County is water-bound by a complex of different kinds of drainage systems encircling three sides of the county and dissecting it through the interior. The great Roanoke River forms the entire western and southern boundary, while the estuarine waters of Albemarle Sound and the Chowan River embayed estuary forms the southeastern and entire eastern boundary, respectively. The interior of Bertie County is dominated by the dendritic valley of the Cashie River and its upstream tributary network and downstream inputs from Roquist and Wadling Place creeks. Several smaller and incised, black-water tributary streams flow into Albemarle Sound and include the Salmon, Black Walnut, and Cashoke creeks. The high, eastfacing bluffs of the Wicomoco and Talbot Terraces contain numerous small, steep, and deeply incised, ephemeral drainages characterized by small delta plains and cypress headlands where they discharge into the Chowan River and Albemarle Sound.


Bertie County’s unique and world-class water system represents a two-pronged future for its citizens. The diverse and vast character of natural and cultural resources can provide the framework for a new “From Rivers to Sounds” program that focuses on regional environmental education and forms the basis for a sustainable eco-tourism economy. In order to develop this eco-tourism economy, environmental education is essential to grow an educated citizenry in

order to maintain a healthy environment and to cultivate and train local personnel for new career opportunities within the Bertie waterscape. Eco-tourism has the potential to provide important economic benefits with an influx of new travelers visiting the region resulting in increased spending, new local businesses and jobs, and development sensitive to the ecology and culture of coastal eco-systems. Thus, an important goal is to educate stakeholders about the advantages of sustainable eco-tourism development and how to balance economic revitalization with the 3-Ps (preservation, protection, and presentation) of Bertie County’s natural resources and cultural history. Page 69



Development of paddle trails as well as waterfront facilities and programs would build upon the strategic business clusters identified by the Bertie County Board of Commissioners, which include adventure and eco-tourism market segments. Capitalizing on the wildlife resources for hunting and fishing and natural resources for eco-tourism around birding, boating, paddling, hiking, and touring would offer local entrepreneurs the opportunity to create small businesses to support recreation and eco-tourism activities. The natural resources and cultural history of Bertie County provide a great opportunity for continued development of outdoor recreation and tourism. In the 2018 Bertie County Comprehensive Recreation Plan, public input showed overwhelming support for outdoor recreation and tourism. Page 9


The Town of Windsor has been on the cutting edge of eco-tourism planning and paddle trail development for several decades. The tree house project speaks volumes regarding the Town Board’s vision for creating an attractive destination to compliment the natural beauty of the Cashie River. Also, the Bertie County Board of Commissioners set its strategic goals for economic development beginning in 2014 that included 1) public recreational access to the boundary waters of the County and 2) promotion of eco-tourism. The County’s governing body supported these economic development priorities and invested county funds to match a $500,000 grant from NC Parks and Recreation Trust Fund to acquire the 137-acre tract on Albemarle Sound known as the “Tall Glass of Water” project. Page 70


Bertie County’s Tall Glass of Water: 

This initial 137-acre piece of water-front property was purchased by Bertie County in 2017 to provide its citizens with a water-front for many different types of aquatic opportunities and adjacent land for recreational activities. The major portion of this land is an upland portion of the flat Talbot Terrace and consists of mixed agriculture and pine plantation. The northern boundary is a small canyon formed by an incised ephemeral stream that is heavily wooded with a dam across an even smaller tributary stream. Where this incised stream discharges into Albemarle Sound there is a series of drowned cypress trees that originally grew in the floodplain of the stream; now with rising sea level the drowned trees form a natural buffer that semi-protects that shoreline segment from severe erosion. Most of the eastern boundary is an eroding bluff of the flat Talbot Terrace by the western edge of Albemarle Sound. The eroding bluff is essential to provide sand for the narrow sandy strandplain beach. Page 38


NCLOW Recommendations: from Page 43

·       Instructional swimming, boating, and water safety programs on the Albemarle Sound  waterfront for the Bertie school system and the public

·       Water tour programs into different components of the open waters (Roanoke,  Albemarle, and Chowan coastal system) of the “Bertie Water Crescent”.

·        Camping areas that range from RVs, rustic cabins, tree houses, primitive camps,

·       Natural areas to provide trails for hiking, biking, GPS geo-caching, physical fitness,  rope courses, climbing walls, zip lines, etc.

·       General picnic areas with tables, benches, fire pits, and shelters, etc.

·       Small pavilions for family gatherings, weddings, meetings, etc.

In the News

November 2019
NCACC CountyCast - Bertie County's Tall Glass of Water 

November 2019
NC Association of County Commissioners: CountyCast - Bertie County's Tall Gloss of Water

UNCTV-Peninsula With A Future
UNCTV - Peninsula With A Future

June 28, 2019
Bertie County turning rivers, creeks, woods into economic catalyst

April 26, 2019

County Talks TGOW

January 16, 2019
Commissioners Exercise Eminent Domain

January 14, 2019
Bertie County Press Release

March 26, 2018
Governor Cooper Hosts Conservation Groups

August 30, 2016
Soothing Water

April 7, 2016
"Sounds" Good

Tall Glass of Water Project Sign
Revised Project Plan 9/12/19


Project Partners


Community Voices

“Great job Bertie!” L. Helms

“Can't wait to come and experience Bertie Co. Beach. Great Accomplishment!!” M. Bond

“We had the best time!! We will be there every weekend!!” K. Copeland

“Great event! I enjoyed seeing our county come together! Well planned and hats off to all involved to make it happen!” P. Demofonte

RFQ Background Information