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NC Parks Celebrate 100 Years

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In the spring of 1903, President Theodore Roosevelt slipped his Secret Service detail to camp out in Yosemite with John Muir, Scottish-American naturalist and preservationist. Camping out a second and third night with Muir resulted in the creation of our national park system: 18 national monuments, 5 national parks, and 159 national forests, conserving more than 230 million acres, larger than the state of Texas.

Mount Mitchell (established in 1915) is one of those first national parks. It marked the beginning of North Carolina’s 41 state park system, encompassing more than 228,000 acres and visited by 17.3 million people last year.

Mount Mitchell

Triad and Triangle residents share ten of the state parks, which joined in the nationwide celebration this centennial year. They are:

Hanging Rock State Park (1935)
1790 Hanging Rock Park Road, Danbury (336-593-8480)
Begun as a Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) project, the park has a lake for swimming, canoeing, and fishing.

William B. Umstead State Park (1941)
8801 Glenwood Avenue, Raleigh (919-571-4170)
An extensive network of trails surrounds three man-made lakes.

Kerr Lake State Recreation Park (1952)
6254 Satterwhite Point Road, Henderson (252-438-7791)
The Park's 50,000-acre reservoir reaches into Virginia.

Pilot Mountain State Park (1968)
1782 Pilot Knob Park Road, Pinnacle (336-325-2355)
The park’s mountain section includes the rugged signature knave and a river section connected by a narrow corridor.

Pilot Mountain
Rising to more than 2,000 feet, Pilot Mountain has been a navigational landmark for centuries and is now part of a state park of more than 3,700 acres.

Eno River State Park (1973)
6101 Cole Mill Road, Durham     (919-383-1686)
Five access acres follow a swift shallow stream.

Jordan Lake State Recreation Area (1981)
280 State Park Road, Apex (919-362-0586)
Nine access areas line the shores of a 14,000-acre reservoir.

Falls Lake State Recreation Area (1982)
13304 Creedmoor Road, Wake Forest (919-676-1027)
Five beaches are available for swimming along the shore of an undeveloped 12,000-acre reservoir.

Occoneechee Mountain State Natural Area (1997)
625 Virginia Cates Road, Hillsborough (919-383-1686)
Fish in two quiet ponds or the shallow, wadable Eno River.

Mayo River State Park (2003)
500 Old Mayo Park Road, Mayodan   (336-427-2530)
Basic amenities are offered on the 400-acre site of the historic Mayo Parek, a prized community gathering place.

Haw River State Park (2003)
339 Conference Center Dr., Browns Summit (336-342-6163)
The environmental education complex has meeting spaces, overnight lodging, amphitheaters, and a six-acre lake.