The N.C. Parks and Recreation Trust Fund Authority approved $4.5 million for maintenance and construction projects and $3.1 million for land acquisitions in the North Carolina state parks system at its Dec. 5 meeting at William B. Umstead State Park.
Board members approved $1.06 million to be used in combination with other funds to acquire mainland property at Hammocks Beach State Park in Onslow County. The expansion of the mainland property has been a critical need for over 30 years to provide visitor facilities for additional environmental education and recreational opportunities.
The authority allocated $494,400 to be used in the purchase of 335 acres at Chimney Rock State Park to provide public access to the World’s Edge section of the park and several tracts to protect the Bat Cave area on the park’s west side. It also approved $155,500 in partial funding for a critical tract on Buckquarter Creek at Eno River State Park.
An additional $1.4 million was approved for acquiring critical properties at Mount Jefferson State Natural Area and South Mountains State Park.
Construction and maintenance funds approved by the board will be used for building, infrastructure, trail and exhibit repairs, dredging of the channel allowing access to Bear Island at Hammocks Beach State Park, sewer improvements at Pilot Mountain, development of a high-hazard dam emergency action plan and construction of tent-trailer camping at Lake James State Park.
The North Carolina General Assembly established the Parks and Recreation Trust Fund (PARTF) in 1994 to fund improvements in the state’s park system, to fund grants for local governments and to increase the public’s access to the state’s beaches. The Parks and Recreation Authority, a nine-member appointed board, was also created to allocate funds from PARTF to the state parks and to the grants program for local governments. PARTF is the primary source of funding to build and renovate facilities in the state parks as well as to buy land for new and existing parks.