Hooker Falls is within Dupont State Forest and is relatively pristine even now and offers wonderful hiking. It is always a balance between humans appreciating an area and causing more harm to ecosystems. Hiking near waterways can compound the problem of erosion. In 2007, there was an extensive restoration project to remediate erosion on the Little River above and below Hooker Falls. Thought the placement of the rocks may be a little too even to look entirely natural, the end result was that the riparian banks filter sedimentation and runoff from the roads.The main pollution issues the Little River and Cascade Lake contend with are excess sedimentation from the logging practices that took place here once and excess nutrients in the form of non-point source pollution from agriculture and roads in the watershed.
Here is another view of Hooker Falls along the Little River closer up and Cascade Lake. The Little River flows through 10,400 acres of The Dupont State Forest in North Carolina. It and Cascade Lake are part of the French Broad River Basin, along with the Suwannanoa, Nolichucky and Toe Rivers. Since it runs through the forest, it is cleaner than other waterways which run through more developed areas.
Triple Falls is the next fall you come to on this three mile hike that includes three waterfalls. The first view is from the trail where you can see all three sections of the falls.
This view is from a little higher up looking back. You can see that the banks have been left wild here and there are only periodic strategic and safe viewpoints so that footfall doesn't erode the banks or that people don't run the risk of injury and death falling from steep elevations. One of the goals of the National Forest Service is that these waterways are also able to function as filtrations systems, which is most effective when riverbanks are left wild.
High Falls was stunning. There are two viewpoints. One from the trail across from the falls that gives you a viewpoint from about the midpoint. There is also a trail that goes to the bottom of the falls, which I did not take this time. All the falls in Dupont State Forest are beautiful and safe to wade in from a water quality perspective.
The image above is of Falls Park in downtown Greenville, South Carolina. The Reedy River, which is part of the Saluda-Reedy Watershed, runs through the middle of town and despite its unhealthy levels of pollution over the years throngs of people came and continue to come here to wade and for recreation especially in the summer months. The sources of pollution include textile mills close by, sewage discharges, and runoff from increased urbanization. Today much of the river is designated as "impaired," which explains why there are not many access points to this area outside of this one area. (https://greenvillejournal.com/2017/07/27/reedys-water-quality-hindering-recreation-outside-city/).
The Reedy River even here often suffers from excessive amounts of E. coli bacteria, the sources of which are animal waste from pets and cattle farms as well as leaky sewer pipes. “E. coli bacteria impair waterways and can contaminate sources of drinking water, limit recreation opportunities, damage the habitat of fish and other aquatic animals and plants, and make humans and pets ill if ingested,” said Maddi Phillips, community relations coordinator for the Greenville County Soil and Water Conservation District. When I visited here, I saw many dogs and in fact had Takoda with me as well. Pets must be leashed and it is very important that owners pick up after their dogs when walking or hiking near waterways. With the overpopulation of people also comes the overpopulations of pets and in areas where many visit waterways are at greater risk of becoming impaired.