Mayo River State Park will be expanded by 354 acres – including 3.6 miles of river frontage – thanks to a land acquisition arranged by Piedmont Land Conservancy and Duke Energy that was announced Thursday. The property is critical for development of the state park and offers much-needed river access for paddling and fishing.
Piedmont Land Conservancy has pledged to make the property near the Town of Mayodan part of the 2,187-acre park in Rockingham County. Duke Energy provided $1.1 million to help the non-profit conservancy acquire the land as part of Duke Energy’s efforts to mitigate recreational losses in the Dan River basin following a coal ash spill near Eden two years ago. Locally known as the Trust Property, the land is in two parcels.
Created in 2003, Mayo River State Park was envisioned as a riverine park in the style of New River, Eno River and Lumber River state parks. The ultimate goal is to allow visitors to experience the entire length of the river from the Virginia state line to its confluence with the Dan River. The park is headquartered at the site of the former Mayo Park near Mayodan, built as a recreation site by Washington Mills in the 1940s. The park also has a presence on the river at the Virginia state line.
This new acquisition will allow for river access and recreation facilities between those two anchor points within a 12-mile river corridor. At Highway NC 770’s bridge across the Mayo River, the property offers frontage on both riverbanks.
The acquisition was announced at a small ceremony at the NC 770 bridge by officials from North Carolina State Parks, the conservancy and Duke Energy.
“In 2015, Piedmont Land Conservancy celebrated our 25th anniversary, and this property is one that we’ve hoped to acquire from the very beginning,” said Kevin Redding, the conservancy’s executive director. “Given the property’s fascinating history and the miles of river frontage along the Mayo, this acquisition will provide a major boost to the growing recreational opportunities at Mayo River State Park.”
The conservancy has been active in the development of both Mayo River and Haw River state parks, identifying potential acquisitions and negotiating with landowners. It provided the first property acquired for Haw River State Park soon after that park was authorized in 2001.
Mike Murphy, state parks director, said. “To develop any great state park, we need partners and friends connected by a common vision and a commitment to protect a region’s special places. Piedmont Land Conservancy has stepped up as a critical partner in this region, and its dedication and tenacity are to be applauded.”