Trust fund authority briefed on centennial plans

Ranger Jake Vitek talks to authority members on the ferry ride to Bear Island.
Ranger Jake Vitek talks to authority members on the ferry ride to Bear Island.

SWANSBORO – Members of the N.C. Parks and Recreation Trust Fund Authority discussed plans and their involvement in the upcoming state parks centennial celebration in 2016 at their meeting Thursday and Friday at Hammocks Beach State Park.

Acting Director of the N.C. Division of Parks and Recreation Carol Tingley and Elizabeth Bizer, a consultant with the Friends of State Parks, outlined proposed special events, partnerships and other initiatives under way.

The board also received status reports on the division’s activities in recent months and progress and issues associated with continued progress on the Mountains-to-Sea Trail. The trail, an effort to link Clingman’s Dome in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park to Jockey’s Ridge State Park on the Outer Banks, is the flagship project of the North Carolina State Trails Program. About 600 miles of dedicated trail — roughly half the planned length— has been completed to date. Partners across North Carolina are helping to plan and build the trail to link communities together and to serve as the backbone of a growing system of land and water trails.

Authority members tour beach facilities on Bear Island.
Authority members tour beach facilities on Bear Island.

Authority members also discussed the upcoming local grant cycles and learned about the state parks system’s maintenance, capital improvement and land acquisition needs.

The authority also visited Bear Island and adjacent property, which may become available for addition to Hammocks Beach State Park.

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