Trust Fund Authority Directs Funds to Land Conservation

The N.C. Parks and Recreation Trust Fund Authority met at Lake Norman State Park Friday.

LAKE NORMAN – The N.C. Parks and Recreation Trust Fund Authority approved funding for key state park land acquisitions at six state park units at its meeting Friday at Lake Norman State Park.

The funds, previously identified for other land acquisitions which have been delayed, will go to projects at Mayo River, New River, William B. Umstead state parks, Mount Jefferson and Yellow Mountain state natural areas and the Mountains-to-Sea State Trail. The funds will be used to acquire 889 acres for conservation and recreation.

The board also reviewed 2012 local government grant applications. In this cycle, 60 local units of government have submitted PARTF applications requesting $12.6 million in PARTF assistance. The board approved six grants totaling $1,026,938. Additional grants approved by the board are dependent upon future funding in the first two quarters of fiscal year 2012-13. The authority awarded grants for 15 projects at the May meeting for a total of $2.6 million.

State Parks and Recreation Director Lewis Ledford provided an update to the board on the 2012 General Assembly, Land and Water Conservation funding in the recently passed federal transportation legislation, and recently completed capital improvement projects at Chimney Rock State Park and Kerr Lake State Recreation Area.

Chimney Rock State Park hosted a grand reopening June 29 to celebrate the completion of a two-year project to renovate the 1940s-era elevator that carries visitors up 26 stories to the park’s principal features. The project also included replacement of the Outcroppings Trail, a companion stairway that also allows access to summit destinations.

At Kerr Lake, a boat ramp and building have been constructed to support fishing tournaments at the Nutbush Bridge area.

At the conclusion of the meeting, Lake Norman State Park Superintendent Casey Rhinehart gave a presentation about the park, its history, natural heritage and recent initiatives.

The terms of authority members Jennifer Scott, Boyd Lee and Cody Grasty have expired, and they will be cycling off the board. We wish them the very best and thank them for their dedicated service.

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