This article has been authored by the Public Affairs Lead for Kerr Lake Park Watch or KLPW, Frank Timberlake, who camped at Hibernia State Recreation Area over the weekend and found the answer to a question asked repeatedly over the years.  Frank also came up with an idea. 

The number one question we get asked about Kerr Lake this time of year is, “Why do they (NC State Parks) close all the parks (recreation areas) for winter except for JC Cooper at Satterwhite and Nutbush?”

Over the years, the rumors as to seasonal park closures included but were not limited to: ‘not enough staff,’ ‘maintenance time was needed’, ’employee training time was needed’, ‘no one wants to camp over winter’ and several more. 
finally has a complete answer and it is simple.  The five (5) NC SRA’s, Kimball Point, County Line, Bullocksville, Hibernia and Henderson Point do not have freeze protected water spigots and pipes.  It’s that simple.  While the bathhouses at these parks probably will not freeze even though most do not have heat, the rest of the systems would more than likely develop frozen and busted pipes should the area have a significant freeze.  The recreation areas are not cool and cold weather friendly.

“This past weekend was not especially camper friendly at Hibernia,” according to Timberlake. “I actually took a shower in a chilly bathhouse without any heat.  The bathhouses in Areas 1 and 2 do not have heat.  Area 3’s bathhouse has heat, but it is only open in June, July and August.  Complying with a bureaucrat’s new policy, a bureaucrat who obviously never camped in their life, I also used the toilet in the dark after the new bathroom motion sensor reset itself.  Think about it, when you are sitting on a toilet in a closed stall, it is impossible to provide any motion to a sensor which cannot see you.  I also had to step out of the shower to regain lighting in that section where the lighting is also guarded by a motion sensor.  They are obviously set for a time period that’s too short.”

The five recreation areas, most of which are more popular than the two year-round parks, close fall to spring because of the risk of freezing.  KLPW found that some parks are still using original and outdated 1960’s plumbing piping and fixtures.

But from all this dilemma came an idea.  What if we, the campers and users of those recreation areas who would like longer camping seasons agreed on just a couple of the other parks to be overhauled and worked to help the state overhaul the plumbing?  What if the campers helped to orchestrate some fund raising events at those specific parks to raise what could be matching funds with NC State Parks and possibly even the Corps of Engineers?  It’s been done in North Carolina at other parks.  It’s the public-private partnership scenario.  They are good “what-ifs.”

So now you, the camper and Kerr Lake park user, have the exacting reason that 5 out of 7 Kerr Lake recreation areas operated by NC State Parks must be closed, some for over five months.

If you want to see some positive change, step up and be counted.  Contact us at and we’ll tell you who to contact.

Posted in: KLPW - Campground Facilities and Improvements, KLPW - MAIN NEWS, KLPW - N C State Recreation Areas

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  1. Mike Sawaya October 23, 2012

    I have also experienced the lights turning off in the area 2 bath house at Hibernia. The time delay is a good idea, but it should be set for 15 minutes rather than just a couple of minutes. The current design creates an unsafe condition that could easily result in someone being injured while moving around inside a dark bath house.


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