Outdoors

Raleigh family seeks return of treasured canoe

Nikki Alba of Raleigh hopes for the return of her family’s 16-foot Mad River duck hunter special canoe, which was made in Waitsfield, Vt. The canoe is shown with her sons on an outing a couple of years ago.
Nikki Alba of Raleigh hopes for the return of her family’s 16-foot Mad River duck hunter special canoe, which was made in Waitsfield, Vt. The canoe is shown with her sons on an outing a couple of years ago. Courtesy of Nikki Alba

The canoe is old and a bit battered, but it is a memory-filled family treasure, and Nikki Alba would appreciate its return.

“It was my dad’s canoe. He gave it to us just a couple of years ago. My dad (Bob Lemieux) is from Vermont,” said Alba, who moved with husband Spenser to Raleigh from New York five years ago. “… I have a picture of me in it as a baby. I’m almost 30 now, and I have my own children.”

On a nice Thursday in early December, visiting family took the 16-foot canoe out at the Milburnie Dam access on the Neuse River in Raleigh. Needing a piece of equipment to secure the canoe to Alba’s car, they left the canoe at the access entrance. They returned to find the canoe gone.

“We have zero leads at all,” said Alba, who grew up spending every other weekend in the canoe on a Vermont river with her father and brother Ryan, five years older.

Her parents were divorced, and her mother, Diane Lemieux, recently moved to New Bern.

Her father and brother loved to hunt and fish. She didn’t.

“But as much as I was dragged along as a kid,” Alba said, laughing, “I think it’s important for me now as a mom. I love to do that stuff with my kids.”

She hopes her boys, ages 8 and 5, get their turn with the canoe, a Mad River duck hunter special made in Waitsfield, Vt., and bearing a Vermont registration.

“It has a ton of patching, some green epoxy along the bottom,” she said. “It’s definitely unique. If you saw it, you’d know for sure.”

If you know the canoe’s whereabouts, contact Alba at 407-233-8431 or n.alba2807@gmail.com.

Fishing: With more than 100 vendors and a long roster of pro anglers, the Bass and Saltwater Fishing Expo takes place Jan. 13-15 at the State Fairgrounds in Raleigh. Hours are 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Friday, 9 a.m.-7 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday. Adult tickets cost $9. Go to www.ncboatshows.com.

Fisheries: Five N.C. Marine Fisheries Commission advisory committees will meet jointly at 12:30 p.m. Jan. 17 at the Riverfront Convention Center in New Bern to hear public comment on an N.C. Wildlife Federation-submitted petition calling for habitat protections that would affect trawl fishing for shrimp. Comment also may be emailed to NCWFPetition@ncdenr.gov by Jan. 20. Go to http://portal.ncdenr.org/web/mf/dmf-public-meetings-schedules.

Banquet: The North Central N.C. Branch of the Quality Deer Management Association will hold its Sportsman’s Banquet on Jan. 14 at Virginia International Raceway in Alton, Va. Doors open at 5 p.m. Adult tickets cost $60. Contact H.R. Carver at 336-592-0547.

Regulations: The N.C. Wildlife Commission’s series of nine public hearings is underway to allow comment on proposed changes to wildlife management, fisheries and game lands regulations. Comment closes Feb. 1. Find a schedule at www.ncwildlife.org.

Benefit: The Sandhills Chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation will hold its third annual Casino Night 6-10 p.m. Jan. 14 at Hope Mills Shrine Club. Call 910-591-8548.

Send news and announcements to outdoors@newsobserver.com.

Boggess: boggess.teri@gmail.com Twitter: @BoggessT

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