Local state park tops 2013 list

January 28, 2014 by  

The North Carolina Division of Parks and Recreation has declared Crowders Mountain State Park to be the North Carolina 2013 Park of the Year.

Parks and Recreation chose Crowders Mountain because of its initiatives relating to recreational opportunities, volunteerism, and the management of natural resources. The park was established in 1971 after citizens mounted a campaign to protect Crowders Mountain and Pinnacle Summit. It comprises 5,126 acres and is about 180 miles from Raleigh.

State parks director Lewis Ledford noted that the park has become one of the state’s busiest, attracting more than 300,000 visitors annually. Despite the influx, however, the park staff has been able to advance new ideas in community involvement, recreation, and saving natural resources.

Among the accomplishments, the park staff set up regular days for volunteers to help enlarge the 20-mile hiking trail system. Volunteers also improved and enlarged a campground suitable for families, and hosted an event for approximately 10,000 rock climbing enthusiasts. They also doubled the size of the central parking area, which is always filled on weekends despite the expansion. The park staff plans to schedule prescribed burns and the removal of invasive species. Belmont Abbey College will work with staff members to do a comprehensive survey of the park’s flora.

Park officials could work with a poster printing company to create colorful placards for display throughout the area, including the city of Raleigh itself. The posters would not only celebrate the award, but also invite people to visit the park.