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THIS IS STAR GAZING WEEK AT ONE OF THE KERR LAKE STATE PARKS IN VIRGINIA

Staunton River Star Party offers free public viewing night October 17

SCOTTSBURG – The Staunton River Star Party will return to Staunton River State Park Oct. 12 – 18 for registered participants. A free public viewing night will be offered on Saturday, October 17 from 8 to 11 p.m. Join members of the Chapel Hill Astronomical and Observational Society (CHAOS) for their fall star party. Visitors will have the opportunity to learn about the night sky, and view various celestial objects.

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Astronomers from across the country converge here in Halifax County each spring and fall to take advantage of the area’s exceptionally dark night skies. The star party also features guest speakers and a variety of vendors geared to astronomy enthusiasts.

Star party goers this year will also be celebrating the designation of Staunton River State Park as an “International Dark Sky Park,” the 25th park in the world to attain that status.

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Guests at the Saturday evening event will have a chance to mingle with amateur astronomers who will share their telescopes and their knowledge.

Stargazers should dress for the weather and bring a flashlight, preferably one with a red lens to preserve the dark night views. (Red cellophane will be provided for those who don’t have a red lens.) Food and beverages will be available for purchase at the beach concession area.

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Staunton River State Park is located in Halifax County at 1170 Staunton Trail, Scottsburg, VA. For specific information about the park 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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HIGH WATER RECEDING – COME ON TO KERR LAKE & CAMP!

The water is receding along the shores of Kerr Lake, hitting a high at a little over 305 feet above mean sea level, with full pool normal being at 300 ft.  This morning the water, which is rapidly receding was less than 304.5 ft.

That said, US Army Corps of Engineers reports no significance loss of campsite use due to water as does Virginia State Parks.  The seven NC State Recreation Areas are closer to the water with less sloping, so a few campsites are impacted by the two weather systems that dumped huge amounts of rain into Kerr Lake and its sister systems.  So only a few exception campsites are covered by water which makes it a great weekend to camp at Kerr.

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Photo of a few water covered sites by Kerr Lake Park Watch – October 9, 2015

In their Tuesday meeting, US Army Corps of Engineers staffers told their stakeholders and affiliates that managing the flow through during this weather event has been taxing, ” I haven’t resorted to antacids, but those of us involved have lost some sleep.” said Ashley Hatchell, a water resource manager with the Corps.  The system got pounded by two wet weather systems with Hurrican Joaquin off the shore of North Carolina.

Kerr Lake USACE Project Manager Michael Womack sent Kerr Lake Park Watch some charts for campgrounds, boat ramps and more and how they are impacted at various water levels over 300 feet.  “Most of the numbers were compiled based on visual observation and discussion with the managing entities,” said Womack.

It would be a good idea for you, as a Kerr Lake user, to review these charts.  Many campers observe the lake level and make records and know whether to visit their favorite site or not based on water levels.

CAMPSITES

USEABLE CAMPSITES AT VARIOUS WATER LEVELS USACE 1

BEACHES

USEABLE BEACHES AT VARIOUS WATER LEVELS USACE 1

BOAT RAMPS

USEABLE BOAT RAMPS AT VARIOUS WATER LEVELS USACE 1

MARINAS (Prepared before Rudd’s Creek Marina was built)

USEABLE MARINAS AT VARIOUS WATER LEVELS USACE 1

Posted in: KLPW - Boating and Related Improvements, KLPW - Campground Facilities and Improvements, KLPW - US ARMY CORPS OF ENGINEERS, KLPW - WATER RELATED, KLPW - Water Safety

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KERR LAKE PARK WATCH WARNS TO WATCH WATER – LAKE IS DOWN!

Writing this notice may help bring rain to Kerr Lake, but the water level or lack thereof bears watching if you’re planning a camping or day trip. The water is approaching the 295-ft level, which is down 5 feet from the normal full pool level of 300 feet (above mean sea level).

At Kerr Lake a vertical changed of 5 feet in water level can mean that the shoreline can be moved horizontally by a few feet or hundreds of feet.

The main concern for campers and boaters is not the shoreline, it’s the depth and lengths of boat ramps. Some ramps have already been closed.

Although some parks will close at the end of October, there are still many good camping and boating weeks left. You can actually check the hourly level of Kerr Lake tat the US Army Corps of Engineers updates every hour at the link below and lake level info is always displayed at the top right of the website, www.kerrlake.info.

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If you’re interested you can also go directly to the hour by hour listing by the US Army Corps of Engineers or see at summary of water levels at this page, http://epec.saw.usace.army.mil/.

There’s rain in the forecast, but for now we’re asking, “How low will she go?” Just be smart and check your water level…that’s our advice.

Posted in: KLPW - Boating and Related Improvements, KLPW - US ARMY CORPS OF ENGINEERS

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TEXTING ON BOATS IS A “NO-NO” ALONG WITH “YOU’RE IN MY WAY” BOATING HABIT

Most campers and folks out for a picnic at Kerr Lake also enjoy some form of boating or jet-skiing.  Thankfully, there are not to many accidents to report, but near misses due to things like texting, not paying attention, and not following boating rules, are increasing.  Daily Dispatch reporter Sarah Mansur caught up with Frank Timberlake, Lead Public Affairs for Kerr Lake Park Watch to get his views on Kerr Lake boater safety.  Here’s a scan of the story.  BE SURE TO CLICK ON PIC TO ENLARGE TO READ.

 

Aug 2015 - Hen Daily Disp - Water Safety at Kerr

 

Posted in: KLPW - Boating and Related Improvements, KLPW - Water Safety

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NC PARKS DEFINE NEW ERA RV CAMPSITES WITH REHABS AT KERR LAKE

KERR LAKE PARK WATCH submitted this article recently to area newspapers and several  papers printed it in variations.  For you, our members and visitors, we want to provide you with the entire article as the renovated sites in this story now set the pace for recreational RV camping.  We hope you will contact NC State Parks and/or your legislator and push for more such renovations. 

Campers’ reactions to renovations soar as popularity and reservations of rehab sites goes up.

A team effort from park staffers yields the best designed and most RV camper friendly public campsites in North Carolina state parks and recreation areas, maybe even for all public camping areas. NC State Parks now gets it: define the resource user area with borders, make it close to level, putting most of the campsite surface on the same level, then make it 3 feet for RV/Trailer slides, 8 feet for camper, 8 feet for awning and the rest for a fire pit and a tent site: perfect!

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Campsite in 93-99 area before rehabilitation  

 

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Campsite in 93-99 area after rehabilitation

The camping public at Kerr Lake is buzzing about the seven (7) newly rehabilitated campsites at Hibernia State Recreation Area. Campers and Kerr Lake Park Watch agree the renovations are timely and greatly improve the camping experience. The sites were previously in rough shape and mostly very uneven with stumps, washed out sand or a lot of the rock base being the original quartz stones found naturally on the land turned campground over 50 years ago. There is a story within a story here though being the overflowing positive public reaction to the campsites and how they got sort of a miraculous makeover. The latter part of the story will come in a while.

State recreation areas, particularly those at Kerr Lake, differ from state parks for two main reasons: 1) the majority of the visitors come to interact in/with the water, and 2) with variable water levels that sometimes flood some of the campsites, additional planning and site stabilization has to go into campsite construction or renovations. Since many Kerr Lake campers avail themselves of all the space, a site can easily be full with an RV, trailer or a pop-up camper, plus a tent, picnic canopy, floats, cars and more.

Kerr Lake Park Watch asked a camper from Washington, NC about her five day camping stint on Hibernia’s campsite #98 and her comment was, “Absolutely fantastic!  It may be the best campsite we’ve ever stayed on.”

Eddy and Terry Cannady from Oxford, NC were even more emphatic and ecstatic about the new sites as the couple stood and smiled over renovated site #95. Eddy Cannady proudly states that he’s been camping at Kerr Lake for over 40 years and loving it though little has changed until now. “When Terry and I first set eyes on these newly redone campsites, I just yelled ‘Wow, this is (the difference between) night and day’ – they did it all and did it alright!” Cannady said he is most impressed that the sites are mostly level and especially fairly level from side to side, something important in pop-ups, trailers and motorhomes, adding, “The timber layout with the leveling, using real fine gravel for the tent and picnic area, all those things were good but we did not expect the steps, the handrails, the railing around part of the site, even a concrete stoop at the bottom to wipe mud off. These guys did it all and way above anything we’ve seen at this park, Kerr Lake or just about anywhere.”

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Eddy Cannady, Oxford, NC talks about new Kerr Lake campsites

Like a number of campers around the Kerr Lake parks, the Cannady’s have been seen for years, cooking, riding bikes, fishing and visiting. There’s a lot of their kind at Kerr Lake. They love it. Demonstrative of that is the fact that Eddy and Terry Cannady were observed by several people earlier in the week picking up trash from a site where someone else left some debris lying around. There was Terry and Eddy picking it up. That’s not uncommon for campers, particularly long term campers who become attached to their particular parks.

“It’s been a long time coming,” said Eddy Cannady speaking of the new site renovations, adding, “It looks like to me that the people in charge would realize they could take a whole lot more money in if they added more electric and water sites here at Kerr Lake and fixed some more up like these.” The Cannady’s noted that they could not get into Hibernia several weeks ago as the couple wanted to camp to celebrate their wedding anniversary. So they booked into another Kerr Lake park, Nutbush. Terry Cannady said it was a different ballgame, “The showers and bathrooms at Nutbush are awful, terrible, slick with slime, just yuk!” Eddy Cannady agreed, “It’s night and day between the new Nutbush boat ramps and the old bathrooms. They need to learn that the better the facilities the more people will come.”

That brings the other part of the story, the story of how Kerr Lake Park Watch worked with the local state parks staff to get this project done. “I have to first give credit to District Superintendent Dave Cook and to Kerr Lake Superintendent Bryce Fleming for finding the funding sources and for having the courage to renovate these seven sites ‘in house’ and for showing everyone else in public parks how to build a better campsite, said Kerr Lake Park Watch’s Frank Timberlake who actually was called in a few times to offer input, even help measure for the renovated campsites.

“Campers are tired of washed out, undefined, unleveled and basically unimproved campsites that are not long enough or wide enough for today’s campers and RV’s. Year after year they pay their money and see little of it come back to the resource and what excites us at Kerr Lake Park Watch is that the guys and gals here at Kerr Lake showed that while they can’t fix everything, they can fix some things and better than anyone outside can do!”

Timberlake added that after seeing the contractor shambles of new sites built a few years ago at Henderson Point, campers and the leaders of Kerr Lake Park Watch were dead set against that happening again at Kerr Lake. His reference is to RV sites that are “split-level” where a camper’s awning covers nothing but the steps and rocks between the camper level and the lower picnic level. They just don’t work. Because most RV’s and trailers have expanding slides of about three feet, the regular camper width of eight feet, an awning width of eight feet, plus an area for tenting, cooking and campfires.

“An amazing thing happened at Kerr Lake that could have impetus on other state recreation areas and state parks all over North Carolina, added Timberlake. “From the district superintendent to the grass mower and all in between, mechanics put down their wrenches, rangers put down their guns, maintenance folks put down their rakes and mops and they all, hear me on this, they all worked together to build something. They cut off the head of some of that old state bureaucracy and they saved North Carolina, and thus the taxpayers, thousands of dollars on a really fine job.” Timberlake concluded, “We’ve got the before and after photos, it’s pretty plain. All who worked on this project are to be commended and let’s not forget the added benefit that came from the different parks workers getting the opportunity to develop a new appreciation for each other and what each other does for the parks, and the positive teambuilding that came out of this significant Kerr Lake camping renovation project. Kerr Lake Park Watch proudly joins the Cannady’s and many other campers and gives our state parks team an “A” for a job well done.”

An August poll of campers just this week using the new sites found only two complaints:  1) “Why didn’t the state put 50 Amp electric service in?” and 2) “Why is the water dropping so fast?”  We answered, “One step at a time, one step.”

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Posted in: KLPW - Campground Facilities and Improvements, KLPW - Camping Safety, KLPW - N C State Recreation Areas, KLPW - Similar Circumstances/Situations at other Locations

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TEENAGERS VANDALIZE – APOLOGY TO THE HIBERNIA SRA STAFF FROM A CONCERNED CAMPER

With the good comes the bad.  The following is a guest testimonial/commentary by camper and KLPW member Larry Matthews.

While neither I, nor any of my camping friends and/or family were involved, I am a camper and I’d like to offer my sincere apologies to the staff at Hibernia State Recreation Area at Kerr Lake for the extra effort they had to put forth a couple of weeks ago when four teenagers trashed the Area 2 men’s bath house.

When we arrived for our 10 day stay, I thought “how nice the bath house looked.” It was clean and fresh.  Then a fellow camper allowed their four (4) teenagers to be out unsupervised after midnight one night.  While everyone was sleeping, the boys proceeded to throw toilet paper wads all over the place, stop up every toilet and to cut and/or to burn the shower curtains.  Fortunately, the camp host observed them hanging around the bath house from his trailer that night and knew exactly who had trashed the bath house when he got a knock at his door early the next morning.

The four young culprits were quickly identified by the rangers and required to suit up with those big nasty yellow gloves and help clean up their mess.  But, they could not repair the curtains. (And it’s doubtful that with no budget, the state can replace them.)  Then, they were asked to leave the campground.  Kudos to the rangers for making them pack up and leave immediately.

As a camper who loves the lake and our state parks, I was not surprised, but truly appalled at what happened. I know that this blog has had some often harsh commentaries about the parks and staff.  But, a spade should be called a spade, and fellow campers…for a parent to allow their kids out that late without supervision is unacceptable and especially that they be allowed to trash state property.  (Boys will be boys, I know, I raised 2.)

Please, keeping your kids under control is your responsibility first, before the rangers.  And most of all, let’s all take care of our parks and teach our kids to do so, too.

Again, Hibernia park staff, on behalf of the good campers, I apologize for your inconvenience caused by those kids and thank you for your efforts.  You are good hard working people who should not have to endure that kind of drama and trauma.  Thanks for all you do!

 

P.S. The refurbished sites in Area 2 (93-99) are the talk and the rage of the campground all week.  They are awesome!

Posted in: KLPW - Campground Facilities and Improvements, KLPW - N C State Recreation Areas, KLPW - Similar Circumstances/Situations at other Locations

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JUNE AT KERR LAKE IS GONE BUT NOT FORGOTTEN – WATCH THE MOVIE!

A lot of time and space on KLPW is taken up with public issues, governmental policies and concerns and the like.  So we thought we’d share with you FIVE (5) MINUTES of pure family fun from Hibernia State Recreation Area and beyond with a video from KLPW member families including the Baileys and the Matthews.  The video is shot and produced by Joshua Bailey and we want to warn you;  there are portions of this video that are a little “drone.”  With that said click on this link, and even though we can’t believe that June is gone, and enjoy the beauty and see the fun that makes all of us love Kerr Lake and work so very hard on Kerr Lake Park Watch.

 

 

Posted in: KLPW - Boating and Related Improvements, KLPW - MAIN NEWS, KLPW - WATER RELATED, Uncategorized

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BIG BLOW UP SCHEDULED FOR KERR LAKE JULY 4TH!

The Vance County Tourism Development Authority will hold the 20th annual fireworks display over the water at beautiful Satterwhite Point, Kerr Lake, Henderson, NC on July 4.   Frankie Faucet and “the Drips” will perform Beach and Oldie’s music along with your favorites from 7:00 pm – 10:00 pm.

July 4th Vance Tourism

Bring a lawn chair, blanket and flash light, kick back and enjoy.  Come early and grill your own meal or enjoy great food provided by vendors.  T-Shirts, glow sticks and homemade ice cream will be available for sale.  Representative from the American Legion will provide American flags for sale throughout the evening will present flags to veterans who served our country.

Fireworks will light up the waters over Kerr Lake at 9:15 pm.  NC State Parks will charge a $6.00 parking fee per car. Time: 6:30 PM – 10:00 PM NO ALCOHOL ALLOWED!

For more information contact:  Nancy Wilson, Vance County Tourism Dept.- 252-438-2222 www.kerrlake-nc.com.

 

Posted in: KLPW - MAIN NEWS, KLPW - Park Entertainment/Events, Uncategorized

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ROANOKE RIVER BASIN ASSOCIATION PRESIDENT ANNOUNCES RETIREMENT

Gene Addesso announces step-down after 13 years at the helm of the Roanoke River Basin Association.

In his usual quiet and calm style veteran president of the Roanoke River Basin Association, Gene Addesso announced that he will retire from that leadership role on June 26th at a board meeting of the RRBA.  A successor is not known but will most likely be elected at that time.

After 33 years as an IBM executive, Addesso assumed the leadership role of the RRBA directing it to a more fact-based, science-alert organization designed to protect the Roanoke River Basin; that protection including natural elements, outside potential threats and if need be, the government as well.

Addesso studied how the basin with all its creeks, rivers, and lakes is put together and became an expert, especially in the eyes of the U. S. Army Corps of Engineers.  He is considered one of the top layman on the river and its basin in existence.

Under his leadership the RRBA has grown and strengthened its affiliations, with the organization showing that it will challenge through lawsuits if necessary to protect the Roanoke River Basin.

Addesso

In a memo to friends and associates, Addesso said, “After many long years of volunteer community service to the Roanoke River Basin Association I have decide it is time for me to retire my position as President and let younger folks take the helm in moving the organization forward.

I will remain a member of the RRBA and make myself available for advise and counsel as long as it is needed. I will work to insure a transition to new leadership and coverage on all the projects. Also I must say it has been a pleasure working with you folks over the years.”

“Gene has led the fights over Uranium mining in Virginia that could potentially harm the rivers and Kerr Lake, he’s worked tirelessly on Corps of Engineers reports, plans and guide curve patterns, he joined us right at the top on the Coal Ash and Hydrilla dilemmas.  And the key point is, that he has worked on a multitude of issues and problems with solutions that we all don’t even know about.  That’s just Gene Addesso,” commented ally and Lead Public Affairs Frank Timberlake of Kerr Lake Park Watch.

“We know what a tremendous leadership position that Gene has crafted that president’s job into and we know that RRBA knows how important that role is now and we look forward to seeing the RRBA put in another dynamic leader,” added Timberlake.  “For now, we want to wish Gene some peace and enjoyment.  He deserves it for a job well done.”

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

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Kerr Lake’s Virginia State Parks Invite you to Walk, Run or Ride on National Trails Day

Whether you just want to quietly want to walk and observe or really move on down the trail, the Virginia State Parks around Kerr Lake have opportunities for you.  This Saturday, June 6th, is National Trails Days and you can do everything from pick your path at Occoneechee to help clean or build trails at the other parks.  Discover below how you can volunteer and or just enjoy!

 

Occoneechee State Park 1192 Occoneechee Park Rd., Clarksville, VA 23927 Phone: 434-374-2210   Email Address: Occoneechee@dcr.virginia.gov Web Site: http://www.dcr.virginia.gov/state-parks/occoneechee.shtml

Event time: 8 a.m. – 4 p.m.

National Trails Day is a day to remember how lucky we are to have well-maintained trails for enjoyment in our community. So come out and celebrate at Occoneechee State Park and take advantage of one of the 8 trails the park has to offer.

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There are surprises at Occoneechee!

The 1.2 mile, circular Old Plantation Trail contains interpretive signs that can teach you about the various structures located on the old plantation grounds. It also encompasses the peaceful, scenic landscape of the Terrace Gardens.

Bird-lovers will enjoy the 1.1 mile long Tutelo Birding Trail which contains an elevated look-out that can be used to discover the various birds Occoneechee has to offer.

The Mossey Creek and Big Oak Nature Trails allow you to get away from everyday stress with tranquil, wooded landscapes that can help you reconnect with nature.

The 1.5 mile Mossey Creek Trail contains a small, peaceful creek and connects with the .4 mile Warrior’s Path.

If you’ve never seen a beaver dam, then hike the 1.7 mile Beaver Pond Trail to see all the hard work that beavers put into creating their homes.

There is also the 7.5 mile Panhandle Multiuse Trail, which can be used for horseback riding and biking.

No matter what kind of hike you prefer, Occoneechee has the perfect trail for you.

 

Staunton River State Park 1170 Staunton Trail, Scottsburg, VA 24589 Phone: 434-572-4623   Email Address: StauntonRiver@dcr.virginia.gov Web Site: http://www.dcr.virginia.gov/state-parks/staunton-river.shtml

Event time: 10 a.m. – 12 p.m.

Hike the River Bank Trail along the Staunton River with a ranger as you conduct trail maintenance, remove debris out of the trail, and look for ways to improve the existing trail system. Along the hike, issues such as trail construction, erosion, and trail maintenance will be discussed so that volunteers will understand why trails require a little TLC from time to time. Virginia State Parks belong to the people, so visit your local state park and help improve it for your fellow nature lovers. At the end of the hike, you will enjoy a free wagon ride back to the Staunton River area.

 

Staunton River Battlefield State Park 1035 Fort Hill Trail, Randolph, VA 23962 Phone: 434-454-4312   Email Address: srbattle@dcr.virginia.gov Web Site: http://www.dcr.virginia.gov/state-parks/staunton-river-battlefield.shtml

Event time:  10 a.m. – 2 p.m.

Seeking volunteers to join park staff in helping with the initial layout and construction of the new trail surrounding Mulberry Hill Pond. Meet at Roanoke Station.

If you would like information on these or other Virginia State Parks, contact, Pat Eastwood, Visitor Services Specialist, Virginia State Parks, Southern Virginia, 434-471-0154.

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

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