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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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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.


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 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



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

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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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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.


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.


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.


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

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


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

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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.

10-9-15 hibernia water
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.







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


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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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,

Kerr Lake Info scrnsht2m

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,

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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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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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!


Campsite in 93-99 area before rehabilitation  



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.”


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.”

### – End –

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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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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