Bernard C. Collins

Published 12:03 pm Tuesday, August 8, 2023

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Green Creek– Bernard (Bern) C. Collins of the Collinsville neighborhood, Green Creek, North Carolina passed away peacefully on Saturday, August 5, 2023, at Agape Hospice House Landrum, SC.

He had a yearlong struggle with pneumonia. Bern was born in 1938 in Boston, MA, into a large Irish family. He graduated from the University of Maine with a degree in Forestry and enjoyed working for the U.S. Forest Service part-time during those summers, in the Washington state forests. He took a Master’s Degree in Recreation and Environment studies at the University of Michigan then went to Washington D.C to work for the National Park Service.

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He spent his federal career working to identify and protect rivers that had the potential to qualify for the National Wild and Scenic Rivers system. A major accomplishment was getting this program into President Carter’s priorities. He also was a successful competitor in national and international whitewater kayak racing. He raced until his 70s in senior competitions.

After retirement, he and his wife Margaret (Maggie) Osborne Collins spent several years sailing in the Caribbean. Bern and Maggie moved to Green Creek in 2001 and built a home and enjoyed years of horseback riding on the CETA trail system.

Bern is survived by his wife Maggie and three children, oldest son, Sean, and children Christopher and Brendon, second son, Brian and wife, Laura and third son, Dan and children Noah, Alice, Scarlett and Ruby.

A memorial service will be held at 11 am. Monday, August 14, 2023, at Holy Cross Episcopal Church, 150 Melrose Ave. Tryon, NC.

Condolences to the family can be made to

In lieu of flowers please contribute to the conservation organization American Rivers at

Sanders Funeral Home
Columbus, NC.