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KERR LAKE PARK WATCH LEADS EFFORTS TO GET PUBLIC INPUT INTO IMPROVEMENT PROCESS

Kerr Lake Park Watch wants Kerr Lake to get its share of the Connect NC Bond. The portion of Town Talk on WIZS that discusses spending bond funds on the 7 NC State Recreation Areas runs from minutes 4.5 until 18.5 minutes of the show. You can cue up the Kerr Lake Park Watch part of the show by selecting the minute marks on the orange slide on the show you can find at: https://soundcloud.com/user-96612206/town-talk-031716

PLEASE LISTEN and then write to state parks telling Director Michael Murphy you want a voice in Kerr Lake park improvements and a view of the budget! Write to this email: michael.murphy@ncparks.gov and copy us at info@kerrlakeparkwatch.org.

wizs-listen-live

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

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CONNECT NC BOND PASSES – WHAT IMPROVEMENTS CAN WE EXPECT AT THE 7 KERR LAKE STATE RECREATIONS AREAS?

We rarely hear any news about what is going on with NC State Parks out of Raleigh.  And now that there is big news like the passage of the Connect NC bond, those of us who ardently support our parks on the shores of the John H. Kerr Reservoir are wondering about the plan for expenditures and improvements on the North Carolina side.

“We’re wondering if there will be opportunity for public input as to what things are needed at the SRA’s (state recreation areas).  Historically, NC State Parks have operated in a vacuum passing down already decided policies from Raleigh, said Kerr Lake Park Watch spokesman Frank Timberlake, adding, ” I think I can count on less than one finger the number of press releases or meeting invitations we’ve had from the Division of State Parks in recent years.  They’re certainly not famous for seeking public involvement.  But mark this, we intend to be involved, visible and vocal on the expenditure of these funds, maybe the last dollars of their type for quite some time.”

Timberlake said that the support group is generally pleased with the passage of the $2 Billion Connect NC bond yesterday.  North Carolina’s infrastructure has been crumbling for some time.  A big concern is that NC State Parks is that the system has been acquiring more and more land areas without committed development funds.

“Our biggest concern now is how the $100,000,000 will be split up among parks and the state zoo.  Larger and more pertinent than that split is determining what amount of bond funds will come to the seven state recreation areas that NC STATE Parks operates on Kerr Lake.

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Transparency has not happened as no known groups including Kerr Lake Park Watch have been asked by the Division of State Parks on how the public who use the seven parks think they should be improved,” said Timberlake.

Kerr Lake Park Watch will now start digging through the bureaucracy to find these answers and to bring them out to view for our members and the public.

 

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

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STARRY, STARRY NIGHT…AS THE STARS SHINE BRIGHT SATURDAY NIGHT

 Staunton River Star Party public viewing night March 12

(SCOTTSBURG) – The public is invited to visit Staunton River State Park for an evening of stargazing on Saturday, March 12, 8 to 11 p.m. Visitors will be able to view a variety of planets, star clusters, and other celestial objects through telescopes. Seasoned astronomers will share information about the night sky.

Staunton River State Park was designated as an International Dark Sky Park in 2015. Staunton River Star Party takes place in the park twice a year, in March and April. Star party participants who have pre-registered will be set up in the observing field near the visitor center.

The park also offers star gazing programs throughout the year.

Visitors should dress for the weather and bring a flashlight, preferably one with a red lens. Red cellophane will be provided to cover flashlights if needed. Food and beverages will be available for purchase at the “Deep Sky Diner” located in the park bathhouse.

Parking will be at the pool parking lot adjacent to the Visitor Center, in order to keep car headlights off the viewing area. The public viewing night on March 12 is free of charge.

For more information about the event visit www.stauntonriver-starparty.org

Staunton River State Park is located in Halifax County at 1170 Staunton Trail, Scottsburg, VA. For park information you may call 434-572-4623, or email stauntonriver@dcr.virginia.gov.

For general information or to make overnight reservations at Staunton River or any of Virginia’s 36 award-winning state parks go to www.virginiastateparks.gov or call toll-free 800-933-7275.

 

Posted in: KLPW - Park Entertainment/Events, KLPW- Staunton River State Park

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CORPS OF ENGINEERS RAISES USER FEES FOR KERR LAKE PARKS – SOME UP 50%

March 1, 2016 – New User Fees for Kerr Lake Parks           (From KerrLakeGuide.com)

Wednesday, February 10, 2016 – Source: U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

Beginning March 1, 2016 fees at the US Army Corps of Engineers Day Use parks and some camping fees at Kerr (Buggs Island) Lake will change. The fee changes are part of a nationwide effort to bring the Corps’ user fees in line with state and private facilities, as well unify the Corps fee program.

The following changes are simplified and outlined for you below:

(1) Day Use Fees increase from $4 per vehicle to $5. This fee includes area boat ramps, swim beaches, picnic areas, etc.

(2) There is no longer a 50% discount for Day Use! If you have a Golden Age, Golden Access, America the Beautiful Senior, or an America the Beautiful Access you get in Day Use FREE!!

(3) The Corps Annual Pass (valid at Corps parks nationwide) has increased from $30 to $40. (There is no half-price discount, as those eligible for the discount now get in Day Use FREE!)

(4) Picnic Shelters have increased from $35 to $50 at most Corps parks. The Old Picnic Area at Kerr Dam is $100 per day. The Osage Shelter at North Bend Park is $75 per day. No discounts apply!

(5) Some Fishing Tournament Permits and other Special Event permits increased from $50 to $75. (All activities require a permit; however, some may be a minimal or no charge. Contact the Visitor Assistance Center at number below for information.)

(6) The Visitor Pass for North Bend, Rudd’s Creek, Longwood and Buffalo Campgrounds is $4. You can use your Golden Age/Access or ATB Senior/Access and pay $2. You can no longer use a Corps Annual Pass for free visits to your camping friends.

(7) The group camping fees at North Bend have increased: Piney Woods is $125 per night; Mays Chapel Group is $100 per night. No discounts apply!

(8) There are many new passes available! America the Beautiful Annual Pass (free entry at any Federal Agency park) is $80 and is available for purchase on-line or from the Corps.

(9) The popular “Every Kid in a Park” pass is available for 4th graders and their families, FREE! Please visit www.everykidinapark.gov then contact Ranger Juanita at the number below.

(10) There are other passes available to our Military.

Call for more information: (434) 738-6143. Ask for any Park Ranger.

Posted in: KLPW - Corps of Engineers Campgrounds, KLPW - MAIN NEWS, KLPW - US ARMY CORPS OF ENGINEERS

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OFFICIAL “FOR” COMMENT ON QRR PLAN FROM KERR LAKE PARK WATCH SENT TO CORPS

Kerr Lake Park Watch has sent its comments for the official record to the US Army Corps of Engineers.  “This is a precise and concise document in favor of the QRR (Quasi-Run-of-River) Plan, partly from us and partly from the RRBA,” said Frank Timberlake, Kerr Lake Park Watch spokesman.  “We have a number of people who have copied the short version off of our Facebook page and the public is certainly free to use this example, but it must be sent to the Corps by tomorrow night at 11:59.”

The Corps email address is:  eric.k.gasch@usace.army.mil

Mr. Eric Gasch, QRR Comments
US Army Corps of Engineers

Although we have not been in touch with the entire membership of the 400+ persons of Kerr Lake Park Watch, the majority of those reached concur that we as a group are in support of the Corps’ adoption of the QRR (Quasi-Run-of-River) Plan.  As the Public Affairs Lead, I am requesting that our opinion and comments go into the official comments record.

COMMENT:

The Roanoke River’s flow has been significantly affected by three dams near the Virginia/North Carolina border. Current dam operations hold large amounts of water in place for unnaturally long periods of time during wet years – causing long periods of flooding, damaging timber, wildlife, and fish. In turn, people who live along the river and depend upon it are also hurt. Since 2000, many conservation stakeholders, resource agencies, local property owners, and other conservation partners have worked with the Corps of Engineers (COE) to improve dam operations at Kerr Reservoir, reducing consequences to people and nature. Today the COE is proposing changing its operations.

Our first reasons are of course, based on recreational and tourism motives.  We feel that QRR will provide:

Improved Conditions in Public Parks & Public Areas – Controlling the flow of the Roanoke River through Kerr Lake using the QRR Plan would help prevent as much water as now that gets onto public parks lands.  If water levels did elevate to where it covered public areas, the use of the QRR plan would get that water off faster.

Improved Conditions for Public and Private Roads Near Flood Prone Areas – With the QRR Plan in effect, the COE could move flood waters off of public roadways and private areas much faster which has to be a huge factor towards public safety not to mention erosion and the costs of road, bridge and public area repair.

Improved Timber Stands Scientific research shows that continuing current operations, with long periods of flooding, will lead to loss of valuable hardwood trees such as oak and hickory. Over time, the forest will convert to trees with less value on the timber market such as sweet gum and red maple. Changing dam operations will reduce flood times and allow oaks and other hardwoods to flourish, which is good news for property owners along the river.

More Time on the River and in Forests of the FloodplainCurrent operations, with their high water levels, block access to the floodplain for long periods of time. Changing the dam operations will give anglers, hunters and outdoor enthusiasts more time to enjoy the area. That’s good news for recreational users of the river; it is also good for the many businesses that cater to recreational users.

More Food for WildlifeAs oak trees disappear so do their acorns, which are a major source of food for deer, squirrels and other wildlife.  Changing the dam operations will keep the acorns dropping and ensure continued abundance of wildlife, which is good news for hunters and wildlife enthusiasts.

Improved Water Quality Holding large amounts of water behind dams or in the downstream floodplain for long periods of time leads to lower levels of oxygen in the water. The fish and other animals are hurt, particularly in hot summer months. Changing the dam operations will improve oxygen in the water – reducing fish kills and ensuring that fish thrive in the Roanoke, which is good news for anglers.

Reducing ErosionLong periods of flooding lead to banks eroding and collapsing. Changing dam operations will reduce shoreline erosion on the river and in the Reservoir, which is good news for property owners.

Increasing Flood StorageCurrent operations result in sustained high reservoir levels, reducing capacity for storage of additional storm events.

Again, please see that my supportive email for the passage of the QRR plan is included in the record and counted as a very loud, “FOR!”

Thank you and best wishes,

Frank Timberlake
Lead, Public Affairs
KERR LAKE PARK WATCH
Office (919) 269-4300
Cell (919) 805-0055

Posted in: KLPW - Environmental, KLPW - MAIN NEWS, KLPW - US ARMY CORPS OF ENGINEERS, KLPW - WATER RELATED

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YOU CAN MAKE THE WATER LEVELS AT KERR LAKE BETTER…WITH JUST ONE EMAIL

Kerr lake Park Watch is working right up to Friday’s deadline to get its members and the public to support the adoption of the QRR Plan by the U S Army Corps of Engineers.  Kerr Lake Park Watch public affairs lead, Frank Timberlake appeared on Henderson radio station WIZS’s TOWN TALK this morning urging people to send just a short email to the Corps.

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The urgency is that this is the last week to make comments that count in the Corps’s official record of the 216 or water administration plan for Kerr Lake. THIS IS THE LAST WEEK TO MAKE COMMENTS TO CORPS.

Timberlake told the radio audience, “If people want higher and more consistent water levels on Kerr Lake, they have this one window of a few days to help make that difference. QRR = better water levels and conditions for Kerr Lake.”

Kerr Lake Park Watch wants to help Kerr Lake sustain more consistent levels to help recreation and tourism and is asking its members and interested citizens around the lake and those who visit Kerr Lake to take a few minutes to help for years. “It’s just a few minutes to write an email that can help so many aspects of Kerr Lake, its residents and its visitors, said, Kerr Lake Park Watch spokesman, Frank Timberlake.  “You need to write to the U S Army Corps of Engineers in support of adopting the QRR plan during the last days of the comment period.  QRR is simply, Quasi-Run-of-River, which means letting the water flow downstream more naturally than holding it up.

As a property owner, camper, hiker, fisherman or other Kerr Lake user, the adoption of QRR by the Corps into the overall 216 plan that dictates the administration of Kerr Lake would benefit you by less flooding as witnessed recently, more public areas not under water, more consistent and higher lake levels because water would be more naturally sent downstream, quicker.”

The Roanoke River Basin Association (RRBA) puts passage of QRR like this: “Restoring more natural flow to the Roanoke: It’s good news for people and nature, improved timber stands, more growth time on the river and in forests of the floodplain, promotes more food for wildlife, improved water quality, provides for reducing erosion, and increasing flood storage.”

Timberlake, the public affairs officer for Kerr Lake Park Watch said, “Our two big points we actually want to insert in the front of that list are: (1) to keep more water off public areas and (2) to increase tourism traffic to Kerr Lake both in the secondary and primary seasons. So it’s now or never, put up or shut up regarding Kerr Lake Water Levels.  If QRR is adopted by the Corps of Engineers, everyone wins.  Write the emails, now!”

The time to enter public comment about QRR being adopted by the Corps, is now as the last date in the comment period is Friday, January 29th.

Kerr Lake Park Watch has both short and long email/letter samples, which are free to the public and easily can be obtained by writing to info@kerrlakeparkwatch.org.  The official and the email address at the U S Army Corps of Engineers that public comment about QRR should be sent to is:

Eric Gasch at eric.k.gasch@usace.army.mil.

Late 2015 and early 2016 have seen a number of flood days on both local Kerr Lake roads and public areas. A Comparison of Existing and QRR Flood Operations — 2015-2016 which is plot graphic provided by Ashley Hatchell of the Water Management section of the Corps of Engineers, clearly shows the advantages of the QRR plan. The only disadvantages of QRR would be what power companies call “water spillage” which means water that moves through the system freely without having generated hydroelectric power.

QRR_current_thruFeb(11x17)

“What the QRR plan does in effect is to move the flow quicker and to allow for higher lake levels when normal conditions exist,” said Timberlake, adding, “And with Kerr Lake Park Watch, really high lake levels are among our top complaints for recreation and tourism.  So now the public can either help make QRR happen or learn to like what’s been happening to Kerr in recent years.  At Kerr Lake Park Watch, we hope they’ll write the public comment emails.”

Posted in: KLPW - MAIN NEWS, KLPW - US ARMY CORPS OF ENGINEERS, KLPW - WATER RELATED

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HAPPY NEW YEAR & LOOK AT US NOW!

As we move towards a new year, think about this:  a little over five years ago while some campers were sitting around the campfire at a Kerr Lake park, the birth of a positive idea took place.  That was the birth of Kerr Lake Park Watch.  Admittedly, very few people took the organization serious at that point with only six members.  Several other organizations scoffed at the totally new concept of getting lake and park users to join a protection, promotion and improvement group, especially since there were no dues and no boring meetings, just strong communications, led by our skilled and generous public affairs firm, RF Timberlake & Company, Inc.

If you want just a smidgen of an idea how much support and interests have grown for Kerr Lake Park Watch, just take a look at this week’s Facebook page update.  A FB weekly reach of 50,000 should impress even our critics.

December FB Update

Trying to build a constituency out of people who come to the parks around Kerr Lake and then leave to go back home to their regular lives has been tremendously challenging, but the founders have seen their efforts from six members grow to over 400 plus without any expenditures or real efforts to attract members.  That means that sometimes success can be obtained by plain hard and smart works.

Kerr Lake Park Watch is primarily responsible for getting action in the treatment of Hydrilla and in getting the US Army Corps of Engineers to acknowledge that it has a responsibility, as the owner of the lake, to be involved with Hydrilla solutions.  Kerr Lake Park Watch was the first organization to get environmental agencies to give an answer regarding the public’s recreational contact with the lake’s water after the introduction of coal ash into the lake.  Kerr Lake Park Watch was instrumental in getting a proper concessionaire into one of the lake’s important service venues.  Kerr Lake Park Watch has been instrumental in getting campsite and facility improvements made.

Kerr Lake Park Watch has shown that its membership cares and has helped and will participate in volunteer efforts to help staff clean up parks and make improvements, like fostering Work Days in some of the parks.  Kerr Lake Park Watch has repeatedly stated and supported that the most important people in the parks are the rangers, the maintenance and support people, who are in constant contact with the camping and park using public; and there have been some inroads in fostering relationships with all levels of relative government including parks staff in administrative and especially with the legislative branches.

When asked, Kerr Lake Park Watch has helped to promote events at Kerr Lake facilities, often times generating press releases and media advisories on behalf of organizations, at no charge to them.

We have much more to work towards and many more needs and goals, but as we approach 2016, we think we ought to blow a horn for the new year and finally step up and proudly blow the horn for Kerr Lake Park Watch, a 100% volunteer organization formed from a dream.

Posted in: KLPW - Campground Facilities and Improvements, KLPW - MAIN NEWS

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“MAKE IT BETTER” SPIRIT IS ALIVE AND WELL IN KERR LAKE NC STATE RECREATION AREAS

At Kerr Lake Park Watch, we are always impressed with seeing a ranger using a hammer (okay, it is a nail gun) as opposed to a gun. Ranger Elliott and Harold are shown here on a Sunday afternoon building a new information bulletin board.

The campers really notice when they see rangers and maintenance people out among them and working together to make the Kerr Lake parks better. Besides that they did really great work and without the over-supervision of the state construction office.

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If the parks people in charge in Raleigh would take a stand and get the bureaucratic monkeys off the parks’ backs, our field people could really do some cool things for our Kerr Lake and other state parks.

Bravo Elliott and Harold!

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

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KERR LAKE PARK WATCH EFFORTS HAILED IN NATIONAL RV/CAMPING NEWSLETTER & BLOG

Kerr Lake Park Watch recently received a notch up for the collective work of its members.  Working on an RV problem with the national recreational vehicle newsletter, RV Daily Report, Kerr Lake Park Watch member Larry Matthews mentioned to one of the editors about the exciting accomplishments the lake’s support group has made over the past five years of its existence.

RV Daily Report’s Assistant Editor, Darian Warden contacted Frank Timberlake to find out more about how Kerr Lake Park Watch got started and about Kerr Lake in general.

Kerr Lake Park Watch reaches out nationwide in this story on RV Daily Report

Kerr Lake Park Watch reaches out nationwide in this story on RV Daily Report

The daily newsletter goes out to over 12,000 subscribers, mostly camping and RV enthusiasts all over America.  The report’s website is visited by over 35,000 unique visitors each month.

 

You can read the article by clicking on this link:  Kerr Lake Park Watch Article in RVDailyReport.com.

 

 

Posted in: KLPW - Campground Facilities and Improvements, KLPW - MAIN NEWS

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SCOUTS LAUNCH BATTLE AGAINST PESKY LEFTOVER FISHING LINE AT KERR LAKE

North Carolina State Parks and Recreation – Kerr Lake

Ever gotten tangled in fishing line, or have you seen a fish tangled in line?  It’s not good for anything or anyone so some local scouts are working to solve the problem at Kerr Lake.

Eagle Scout Coleman Hopfer and his Troop 605 built and installed fishing line recycling stations at all of the Kerr Lake boat ramps managed by the state parks system this past Saturday. Rangers will be collecting the used fishing line and Troop 605 will recycle it.

scouts install fishing line containers at kerr

(Picked up from NC State Parks & Recreation)

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

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