When the original campsites were put in around Kerr Lake in the 1960’s most consisted of a graded off site, sloped in relation to the ground around and fairly unlevel. Then came the lean-to’s, the tents and a few trailers. A good site might have some gravel spewed across it and a picnic table. Then came 20-amp electric service and shared water but the campsites still remained “undefined” meaning it had no borders. Campground borders keep neighboring campers friends and also do less damage to the land resource. Be sure to read and view to the end because it does get better!
Now, with all the gadgets that campers possess, even tenters want electricity and water on a fairly level site, which around any lake that is a flood control project cannot entirely be level because of flooding; thus the site must be slightly downhill towards the water. Travel trailers demand 30-amp service and Fifth Wheels and Motorhomes demand 50-amp service, oh, and a level “defined” campsite that’s on one level!
About the time that Kerr Lake Park Watch was forming several years ago, a construction company under NC state contract was building, or as we say, rehabilitating or a number of RV camping sites at Henderson Point while building a tenting campground. The irony of that is amazing. RV’s need fairly level sites for obvious reasons, but especially so their refrigerators and air conditioner units will work properly.
Here’s a few photos of what the State of North Carolina allowed the contractor to build from a design that most likely came from a non-camper within the Raleigh office of NC State Parks.
The five (5) photos below show recently developed campsites at Henderson Point executed by a contractor to the design specification of the Division of State Parks. To a non-camper or the untrained eye, first glance might suggest what great campsites these are. Stop there. Now put out your awning from your RV or trailer and discover that there may not be enough room for a straight chair on the upper or lower level; forget a lounge chair. So the camper’s awning ends up covering mostly, you guessed it, rocks.
All the food and meal preparations have to be taken up and down the steps and a number of these sites do not have a space big enough in the defined area for a tent or a tent and picnic canopy.
Several of the sites are not “slide friendly” which means that the increasingly popular slide extensions (units with 4 and 5 slides were seen this weekend 5-10-14 in 4 of the 7 SRA’s at Kerr Lake) may run into trouble with the electric/water post or a tree.
For the next rehab project the NC Division of State Parks used its design section, but merged into the process opinions and pertinent information from campers and from Kerr Lake Park Watch. Though the process of using rangers, maintenance people, mechanics, sanitation workers and a variety of people to rehabilitate campsites may not be the most practical and fastest way to build campsites, the process at Hibernia where two of seven renovated campsites, 98 and 99 are now open, has proven to be beneficial to two groups.
Campers will instantly see the improvements favor from small campers to mega RV’s. The second group to benefit are those parks professionals who gained a better understanding of their coworkers and their leaders and the ability to see the right way to build a 2014 campsite.
Everything the camper does on this site is on one level. There’s plenty of room for the slides and lots of space for the RV awning to cover. This site offers an enlarged fire and cooking ring, far away from the camper along with the lantern holder.
Now, if you are reading this and listening NC Division of State Parks, here’s what you need to finish off sites 98 and 99 correctly. Screenings or powdery rock on the “living area” of a campsite are OK in thinking about tenters but (1) tent dwellers of today carry air mattresses and such, and (2) RV’ers don’t want to walk screenings into their trailers or motorhomes. A suggested finish is pea gravel. Next, please use timbers to separate gravel RV space from the living space. It’s not a hazard as campers expect and appreciate it. And lastly, don’t forget to notch the corners to allow flood waters of Kerr Lake to recede but to keep rock of whatever size in the improved campsite.
And lastly, we at Kerr Lake Park Watch would like to thank NC Parks & Rec Operations Manager Mike Lambert, District Supervisor Dave Cook, Kerr Lake Superintendent Bryce Fleming and all those who have and are working on the Hibernia rehab project. It is only a start, but it’s a good start.