The following is a personal account given by Frank Timberlake, Lead Public Affairs for Kerr Lake Park Watch.

By a lot of the campers who frequent Hibernia, one of the seven NC Recreation Areas around Kerr Lake, Hibernia is often referred to as the “red-headed step child.”  Personnel shifts at the park have been on the rise after the departure of a long-time, long-experienced chief ranger.  While many of the recreation areas sport new electric and water campsites, new bath houses, new boat ramps and while all kinds of new services and features go into the state parks like the new elevator at Chimney Rock and new visitor centers abound, Hibernia continues to join its lake-surrounding brethren parks in leading the lagging.

On another note, we were scared to drive through Henderson, but we made it through fine without being assaulted, car-jacked or mugged. 

KLPW is visiting many of the parks around Kerr Lake during the next week or so to compile another year’s list for improvements. I want to bypass all the lofty improvements we’d like to see and to first share a couple of real-world camping experiences of our own.

Here’s a couple of tips necessary if you run into a dark or cold bathroom while camping at Hibernia.  Be careful when you approach the bathroom in Area 2.  If you walk in and the motion sensor turns on the lights, make sure you can complete your business before the timer decides to go off, otherwise you can end up sitting in the dark or near dark.  KLPW is reasonably sure that a general memo ordering the timers came from Raleigh from someone who has never camped and is a fast tripper to the restroom.


Last year I was left totally in the dark in that bathhouse when the timer clicked off the lights.  This photo was clicked right before the lights went out this morning.  With the clouds and a dark bathhouse it became…interesting.

For May it’s very cold.  The State of North Carolina way overpaid for some of these bath facilities, but none may be more famous or infamous than the bathhouse in Area 3 of Hibernia.

The Area 3 bathhouse is closed and locked now.  But check out all the burning lights tonight.  The lights are on but no one is home!


Now that is not the real rub.  If you look very closely at the left side of this photo, just to the left or back of the building, you will see a propane gas tank.  That is because this locked and closed bathhouse has heat, the only one in Hibernia with heat.  It may well be one of very few of any to have heat in the seven NC State Recreation Areas at Kerr Lake.

This bathhouse, complete with heat, would have been nice for those of us wanting a shower or just a visit and we would certainly have appreciated access to a heated bath facility.  But what you don’t know is that this bathhouse, the only heated one in a park that is open from March through October, is only open June, July and August, when you don’t need any heat!  I will repeat that: the only heated bathroom in the park is only open the 3 summer months.

Why don’t you stand up for your park?  It’s time for campers and park users to reverse the trends of senseless operation, procedures and policies that come from mindless memo makers up the chain.  It’s time for the people who work in these parks to use public support to change these asinine policies, put some customer care and common sense into park operations.

We want, we pay for, and we deserve for the lights to be on and somebody to be home, especially on a cold camping day we could use a little heat in the john and the light left on!

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

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  1. Malinda May 4, 2013

    Since when does a timer know when you are finished in the bathhouse? It should be set to after there is no movement in there. Whoever set these timers sure don’t know what they’re doing. There are snakes around and other creatures that would really harm someone if you met up with them in the dark. Or should we take flashlights to guide us through the remaining time the campers need. We pay for the sites and the bathhouse, so leave the lights on when there is movement there. As far as the bathhouse in area 3 (with heat), during the time we are experiencing now, that bathhouse should be open. I know that you really don’t care if the campers or cold or not but why did the state spend the money to do this, if it’s not going to be used. The state has spent so much unnecessary money like the ranger houses, the bathhouse that’s not being used and other things that it makes me sick to even think about coming there. You hear the state is broke, well I see why now, just look around. Money wasted all over. And for what reason do you not clean up area 3 of all the downed trees and stumps. Yes we have damaged our vehicle trying to get between these hazards. I say straighten the place up and make all the campers feel safe or shut it down. You’ve wasted too much money already.


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