Category Archives: Parks

This weekend: Bundle up and learn something

Carvers Creek State Park (photo courtesy North Carolina State Parks)

Temperatures across the state this weekend are generally forecast to stay in the 40s under mostly sunny skies. Ideal weather, in our view, for getting out and learning a little about the world around us. Courtesy of North Carolina State Parks, we bring you three options for doing just that. (And you can find more at the State Parks website.)
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N.C. State Parks see record attendance in 2013 (pass it on)

Moore's Knob at Hanging Rock is one of the more popular spots in the State Park system.

Fortunately, the North Carolina General Assembly has a short session this year. Good news, considering the environmental mischief they got into during last year’s regular session.

Still, we shouldn’t underestimate what these folks can do in just six weeks, the typical length of a short session. Nor is there reason to wait until they convene in May to arm ourselves with factual ammunition, so that when someone gets the idea to, say, close North Carolina’s State Parks for the winter, you can contact your local representative with facts and set him/her straight on why that’s not a good idea. Since we’re on the topic of North Carolina’s state parks, let’s focus on them today. read more

Piedmont color: Kerr Lake ‘at 60 percent of peak’

Umstead State Park this past Sunday.

A reminder that if you want to catch good fall color but don’t have time to drive to the mountains, nature’s autumn display is starting to play in the Piedmont. The N.C. Division of Tourism, Film and Sport’s Development is keeping tabs on the evolving fall show at Piedmont Foliage Reports, with various state parks, natural areas and recreation areas weighing in. According to the most recent reports, as of Wednesday Kerr Lake State Recreation Area reported it was “about 60 percent on the way to peak.” Pilot Mountain State Park is being to bloom as well, while at Mayo River State Park there’s still “some green, but we are beginning to see more yellow, gold and some orange in the foliage now.”
Find the full report here. read more

Send a message: Get out and explore a federal park

Clingman's Dome: send a message, pay a visit
Clingman's Dome: send a message, pay a visit.

Weirdly, a lot of us felt powerless as our elected federal officials shut down the U.S. government for 16 days. We elected them, but I’m pretty sure most of us didn’t elect them to do this.
You can stress this point when your local representatives come up for reelection. Unfortunately, that’s a ways off. If you prefer instant gratification, here’s a suggestion: This weekend, now that the government is again open for business, visit one of the federal parks, forests, refuges, trails, historic sites, military parks — whatever, that was closed during the recent … situation.
Our friends at the N.C. Division of Tourism, Film and Sports Development have put together a list of federal sites you can visit statewide. Click on the site for information on planning a visit.
This weekend, let your elected officials know how much you appreciate these gems — and don’t appreciate them being capriciously closed. Take a day trip. read more

Don’t let Andrea rain on your weekend fun

It's always sunny at your local climbing gym (in this case, the Triangle Rock Club).

Wondering what kinks Tropical Storm Andrea may have put in your weekend plans?

Paddling. If you were planning on paddling, you might think again. With projected rainfall amounts of four inches or greater, some local rivers may be swollen to the dangerous level, especially for less experienced paddlers. Your best bet for assessing paddle conditions on specific rivers is to check with the outfitters who serve them. Find a list of 44 such outfitters, specifically those who rent canoes and kayaks, here. If you’re familiar with a specific waterway, you can check levels and flows at the U.S. Geological Survey site, here. If you need help interpreting what those numbers mean — what’s optimum, what’s safe, what’s not — you should have a copy of Paul Ferguson’s “Paddling Eastern North Carolina” for the eastern part of the state, the Benner boys’ “Carolina Whitewater: A Paddler’s Guide to the Western Carolinas” for the west. read more