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CAMPSITE GRAVEL REPLENISHMENT PROGRAM DELAYED BY HIGH WATER IS NOW UNDER WAY AT NC KERR LAKE STATE RECREATION AREAS

The water went up the first of May to 313 ft and down, then to 311 ft and down, then to 307.5 ft in June (above sea level, normal is 300 ft) and now it’s back close to normal. NC Parks maintenance crews at Kerr have pulled the electric boxes on campsites, put them back, pulled them again and so on…three times this Spring.

NC Maintenance Head Chris Curl, describing how pushed he, his crew and others have been, simply said, “Rolling.” Office staff at Kerr spent their time and overtime answering calls from campers wanting to know if they could come to their campsite or was it flooded; park staff also called out. Reserve America, which takes $3 a night for reservations failed miserably to call campers during the three episodes, but they kept the money (another story, another time). Campers calling Reserve America often were told that RA didn’t know the status of the flooding..

Kerr Lake Park Watch last August gave NC State Park officials from Raleigh a tour of all seven parks and Steele Creek Marina. That effort, having the brass see all the nooks and crannies, is helping. Firewood boxes and recycling bins are showing up and so is both campsite driveway gravel and fine gravel for picnic/tent pads.

Frank Timberlake, Lead Public Affairs for Kerr Lake Park Watch, got the see crews firsthand spreading the welcome refurbishment to some popular sites. Pictured below is maintenance crew member Gary Quinitchette bringing gravel on the backhoe, west side maintenance lead John Abbott, Jr. spreading gravel with the Bobcat and a little fine-tuning raking from new ranger Kyle Whitson.

 

“No other state parks crews, maybe some of the mountains come close, but no other group has to contend with the high water, the low water, up and down, pull electric boxes, put them back, the wind and the wrath of Kerr Lake, plus all the regular maintenance and operational duties,” said Timberlake. “I’ll put these guys and gals up against any other team in the state! Sure, we have wants, needs and problems at the seven recreation areas, but these maintenance and ops people do a heck of job with what they’re given! I thank them every chance I get and you should do so, “concluded Timberlake.

Timberlake and the rest of the Kerr Lake Park Watch leadership are eagerly awaiting from Raleigh the results of the recent needs and improvements survey. They plan to form a definitive improvements list after seeing survey results.

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

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IT’S PUBLIC INPUT TIME! SURVEY ON IMPROVEMENTS AT NC KERR LAKE PARKS IS OUT – YOUR TURN TO FILL IT OUT

The opportunity for the public to have input into the improvement process for Kerr Lake State Recreation Areas funded by $3.75 million from the Connect NC Bond is here.  The North Carolina Division of State Parks & Recreation has launched a 30-day survey on its website that will survey people seeking their priorities for improvements and facilities additions at the seven SRA’s on the North Carolina side of Kerr Lake.  Those parks include, Kimball Point, County Line, Bullocksville, Satterwhite Point, Nutbush, Hibernia and Henderson Point.

The direct link to the Kerr Lake State Recreation Area survey is:  NC State Parks Survey on Kerr Lake Recreation Area Improvements.

Kerr Lake Park Watch leaders took state park top administrators on a daylong tour of all seven state recreation areas late last season.  The idea was to give them a firsthand view of the parks, showing them both problems and opportunities, assets and liabilities in each park.  While meeting various park staff along the way, touring all the parks from the state division were Adrian O’Neal, Chief of Operations for the NC Division of State Parks & Recreation, Jerry Howerton, Chief of Maintenance, Bryce Fleming, Kerr Lake SRA Superintendent and Chris Curl, Kerr Lake Chief of Maintenance.   Kerr Lake Lead for Public Affairs, Frank Timberlake, led the around-the-lake trip.  At the conclusion, Kerr Lake Park Watch leaders Linda Timberlake and Lisa and Joel Bailey topped off the day with dinner and dessert.

KLPW’s Frank Timberlake photos NC State Park officials discussing the merits of a Premium RV loop at Henderson Point.

One of the opportunities for development was at Henderson Point where some of the most beautiful property on the lake is developed for tents only, but includes a $600,000+/- bath and shower facility.  Kerr Lake Park Watch has recommended that a portion of that park that is directly out in the sun most of the day, be developed into the first PREMIUM RV sites on Kerr Lake, or maybe in the State of North Carolina.  The flat, oversized sites, in KLPW’s concept, would offer water and 50 AMP electric service, wifi and a designated  beach area.  Now the area is unfrequented by many tent campers in the summer due to no available electricity or shade.  Sewer at Kerr Lake campgrounds below the 320 foot line above sea level is not possible since all parks around Kerr Lake are actually on federal land.

Kerr Lake Park Watch’s improvement list includes at the top:

  1. Improved bathhouses, especially at Nutbush and Kimball Point and possibly Satterwhite Point
  2. Increased water and electric sites, possibly on both sides of the lake.  For example, with a new bathhouse in Area 1 of Hibernia, that area is now prime for 25 to 30 water and electric sites.
  3. Develop a Premium RV loop, such as the Henderson Point site

“We asked the State of North Carolina in a loud and determined manner for a method to offer public input from us, the users of Kerr Lake, as to how to spend the money from the Connect NC bond,” commented Timberlake, “Now it’s the job of all of us who love those parks on the lake to voice our opinions and use the forum that the Division of State Parks has provided.  It’s like the old adage, if you don’t vote, don’t complain.  This is our window of opportunity!  Seize it.”

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

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SNOWMAN VISITS KERR LAKE – PARKS CLOSED OR OPEN ARE A BIT FROSTY – HOW ABOUT THE FUTURE?

The hearty and warm thanks of Kerr Lake Park Watch go to brave soul and park lover Cindy R Gustafson who braved this weekend’s winter weather to share with you some snow-covered scenes on Kerr Lake.  The picture below at the entrance to Hibernia State Recreation Area is a far cry from days of hot dogs cooked on a fire, roasted marshmallows and playing in the water’s edge.

Winter weather with low temps hit virtually all of Kerr Lake country this weekend and as you can see from Ms. Gustafon’s next shot, no one was launching boats at the Hibernia Wildlife ramp.  It was just a little to snowy!

Though things are frosty at the parks around the lake, we are now waiting to see if changes in the Division of State Parks in North Carolina are going to be warm or frosty.

Particularly at the end of last season, great inroads were made when NC parks officials from Raleigh and Kerr Lake Park Watch leaders toured every one of the seven state recreation areas and a leased marina to learn about the problems, the challenges and the opportunities of the recreation areas which differ greatly from regular state parks.

At the top of the list, is how to spend the $3 million plus from the recent Connect NC bond on Kerr Lake.  The change of a governor, means the change at the secretary level of a governing department and at the level of Division, meaning a new parks director.

Kerr Lake Park Watch will be keeping an eye on those positions and trying to ascertain where Kerr Lake stands with the new leadership.

In the meantime, as an interested supporter of Kerr Lake, you may want to send us your ideas on improvements that we can put into this year’s priority list.

With positive steps, correct information, good input, maybe we can all avoid any more snow jobs, and yes, that is a clichéd pun.

Until warmer days…

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

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VOLUNTEER DAY FOR HIBERNIA MAY 21HAS BEEN CANCELED DUE TO THE WEATHER FORECAST

The headquarters for Kerr Lake State Recreation Areas at Satterwhite Point has announced a Volunteer Day at Hibernia on Saturday, May 21st.  “We know it’s a little late and short notice, but there are a lot of mitigating circumstances with staff moves and some maintenance projects,” said Assistant Superintendent Lee Amos, “But we are hoping that members of Kerr Lake Park Watch and the general public will turn out for a while to help and that the weather will cooperate.”

Projects on tap for this year’s Volunteer Day include putting up some signs on some trails, recently refurbished by the maintenance and park personnel.  Several display cases that will house, for educational and informational purposes, both historical and environmental items and info have been built along some of Hibernia’s trails.

Park staff also hopes to work on the Hargrove family cemetery in which is buried the original owner and builder of Hibernia.  The cemetery needs some attention along with metal fence painting.  Real go-getters can bring limb trimming equipment and help push back limbs from campsites.  Last year’s successful Volunteer Day prompted a video about how a few can do much:  KLPW 2015 VOL DAY at HIBERNIA

Volunteers are badly needed, particularly with a short invite window.  Volunteers are asked to be at the picnic shelter between Area 2 and Area 3 on the main park road at 9:00 AM, Saturday, May 21.  For more information, contact the park office at (252) 438-7791.

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

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KERR LAKE PARK WATCH SENDS WRITTEN REQUEST TO NC PARKS FOR DETAILS ON HOW BOND MONEY WILL BE SPENT AT THE SEVEN KERR LAKE PARKS

Kerr Lake Park Watch made it official yesterday.  Written requests were sent to Michael Murphy, the Director of the Division of State Parks requesting written information on the bond budget and requesting that the Division of State Parks open up to the public the process of selecting projects with new bond monies.

The Lead for Public Affairs, Frank Timberlake wrote to Murphy, “Today, on behalf of the members of Kerr Lake Park Watch, I am requesting a copy of the proposed plan and budget for how many dollars are to be spent and what projects at Kerr Lake would be proposed with the Division’s share of funding, purportedly $100,000,000, of the Connect NC Bond funds.

Secondly, we are requesting that the Division of State Parks set up some kind of input and review by people who actually hike, picnic, swim and camp at those seven parks.  We feel that this can be accomplished by some form of committee, survey, possibly input meetings or some effective combination of all of those.”

Timberlake commented, “We were told that some things would be coming down the line for us to view, but I haven’t heard anything from anyone, so now we’ve put the request in writing, as we intend to be an active part of this process.”

Kerr Lake Park Watch wants to review a line-item plan and budget for the improvements to the seven State Recreation Areas on Kerr Lake with a total of the $100,000,000 to be spent from the Connect NC Bond passage several months ago.

connect nc bond

Excusing the present administration, there have been some questionable improvements, even blunders, at the seven parks in previous years and with money tight and this one-time windfall for improvements, Kerr Lake Park Watch wants to give input and to have a voice in the process of selecting projects to be completed with bond money.  Kerr Lake Park Watch has already offered to fund a survey on behalf of NC State Parks and the seven State Recreation Areas, Kimball Point, County Line, Bullocksville, JC Cooper (Satterwhite Point), Nutbush, Hibernia and Henderson Point.  Nearly 1.5 million visitors use those parks annually.  “We’ve already told them at NC State Parks and we announced it about a month ago that we will be glad to survey our members and people in the region who use the parks to find out what kind of improvements they want to see,” added Timberlake.

“This could be an awesome rebuilding year for state parks with the bond passage,” said Timberlake,  “And with the parks centennial this year, we surely want to celebrate 100 years of North Carolina’s State Parks this year by making every dollar count well towards the future of another 100 years.  So we think a good part of it should be the peoples’ decision as the parks serve them and they voted for the bond issue.”

Kerr Lake Park Watch says it hopes that Director Murphy will respond quickly with the information and with a channel for public input.

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

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