Jeff Cline: Building a Dream

By Leslie Moore

You can start with nothing. And out of nothing, and out of no way, a way will be made.  -Michael Beckwith

The Sasee crew recently enjoyed a fun day on a little known part of the Waccamaw River, and was left in awe of the beauty found just seven miles from North Myrtle Beach. Located on the northern end of the Waccamaw, we toured River Island Adventures, an adventure outfitter with dozens of fun activities. This beautiful site is the dream come true of Jeff Cline, self proclaimed “river rat” and wilderness expert.

Growing up in Surfside Beach, Jeff loved surfing and spending time near the ocean. It wasn’t until he and his best friend stayed in an Edisto River treehouse that Jeff fell in love with the river. “That is where the idea for River Island Adventures was born,” Jeff told me remembering.

A busy professional, Jeff and his mother own Palmetto Properties, a real estate company serving the Grand Strand area. His wife of nine years, Nicole, is a speech pathologist and has her own business, Young Talkers. The couple also has two young children, Colton and Capri. But, Jeff had a dream and without the way or the means, he began his journey to make it happen.

When Jeff returned from his trip to the Edisto River, he immediately began looking for property. “I went online and found a 48 acre island on the map. I had never seen the northern part of the Waccamaw River until I started looking for a place to create River Island Adventures,” Jeff told me laughing.

Jeff explored the area and fell in love, but there was only one problem. None of the property he wanted was for sale and what was on the market was very expensive. Jeff went on with his story, saying, “I got the addresses of all the property owners and wrote each of them a letter asking them not only to sell to me, but to finance it as well!” As he put the 24 letters in the mailbox, Jeff said a prayer, asking for a way to make his dream a reality. “It wasn’t long until two gentlemen responded to my letters and were willing to owner finance the property!” This young entrepreneur was able to close on what would become River Island Adventures in February of 2016.

But acquiring the property was just the beginning. The amount of work required to make this beautiful area into a place where everyone could enjoy the wilderness of the Waccamaw was overwhelming. “I had one investor and the help of my friend Mike,” Jeff remembered.  “For the first year and a half, it was just me out there working.”

With headwaters in the Lake Waccamaw area of North Carolina, the Waccamaw River joins with the Intracoastal Waterway near Bucksport and empties into the Atlantic near Georgetown. According to the Waccamaw Rivers Foundation (www.winyahrivers.org), the Waccamaw River “supports recreational fishing and other water sports, provides drinking water, is a venue for tourism and camping, and enhances the lives of those who touch it through its beauty and serenity.”

This fertile area was home to the Waccamaw Indians, a Siouan-speaking tribe whose territory and hunting grounds extended from around Lake Waccamaw in North Carolina, down the coast to the junction of the Pee Dee and Waccamaw Rivers. They are thought to have been semi nomadic river-dwellers who subsisted on hunting and some farming, often o

n high-ground “islands” along the Waccamaw River and adjacent swamps.

While European contact nearly wiped out these proud people, Jeff has evidence of their presence on his property. When visiting River Island Adventures, guests will see an Indian Trail Tree, a tree that was purposely bent over as a sapling, tied and held in a bent position throughout most of its young life. They were used to guide the Native Americans to a source of water, a good place to cross a river, a campsite or other important natural features. Jeff also offers extensive information to his guests about the river’s history and importance to an ecologically sound environment.

The Outpost of River Island Adventures is a beautiful, rustic area that has lots of fun activities. The one building houses an office and restroom facilities. Guests can enjoy a slack line, swurfer swing, fire pit and tent camping before ever setting foot in a boat. “I have recently set up women’s glamping sites at the outpost. We do everything from setting the tent up to cooking dinner over the camp fire.” Glampers will also be treated to a paddle downriver with plenty of time to stop, relax and enjoy an adult beverage if desired. “It’s a great way to enjoy the camping experience without any of the work.”

Ramping up the excitement, Jeff offers Escape River Island Survivor-type challenges where participants are taken to the island and left to discover how to unlock the kayaks to return to the Outpost. “This has become a very popular activity,” Jeff told me as we walked through the beautiful wooded areas of River Island.

Next season, Jeff plans to offer a Mini-Survivor Season on the isla

nd. He is also building tree houses, yurts and permanent glamping sites, also on the island, with all the amenities of the Outpost and more.

The day the Sasee crew visited, Jeff gave us a tour in his comfortable

pontoon boat, and we reveled in the beauty of this part of the river. The winding bends offer spectacular, natural vistas, plus the abundance of wildlife almost guarantees sightings of a wide variety of animals.

“This is completely different from any other river tour,” Jeff said as we made our way back from River Island. “And it’s just minutes away from the hustle and bustle of Myrtle Beach. It takes me less than 30 minutes to get here from my home in Surfside Beach.”

Contact Jeff to schedule your personal wilderness adventure at 843-882-7487 or visit www.rivr.info. River Island Adventures is also on Facebook and Instagram @RiverIslandAdventures.

  

About this writer

  • Leslie Moore

    Leslie Moore

    Leslie Moore is the editor for Strand Media Group. A 25 year resident of Pawleys Island, she is blessed with a life filled with the love of family and friends and satisfying work to do every day.

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One Response to “Jeff Cline: Building a Dream”

  1. Erika Hoffman says:

    Now, I want to go there the next time I’m down at Myrtle Beach!

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