Hanging Rock opens new accessible picnic shelter

Hanging Rock State Park has opened a new 1,440-square-foot picnic shelter near its swimming lake and bathhouse that’s accessible to visitors with disabilities.

The shelter complex is a result of a partnership with ACCESS North Carolina, a state program established to provide funding for accessibility projects at tourism-related venues. The $290,000 project also includes an accessible, paved walkway from the parking area and shelter to the lake and bathhouse and eventually will include four outdoor, accessible picnic sites.

haro_shelterThe shelter offers 10 picnic tables, four of which are specially built to allow accessibility to persons with disabilities. Its design by architect Edwin Bouldin of Winston-Salem, using massive timbers and stonework, complements the park’s older shelters and other structures built by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1930s.

“This shelter complex is a tremendous addition to one of our oldest and most popular state parks,” said Mike Murphy, state parks director. “We are grateful to ACCESS North Carolina and the state’s accessibility community, not only for helping with projects such as this in our state parks system, but also for keeping us informed of accessibility issues.”

“Picnicking is a popular activity at Hanging Rock State Park, and this will give visitors with mobility disabilities, their family members and travel companions accessible picnic opportunities and a chance to experience a beautiful lake view surrounded by nature,” said Philip Woodward, former ACCESS specialist currently with the N.C. Council on Developmental Disabilities.

Hanging Rock State Park was created in 1935 and now encompasses 7,869 acres. It recorded visitation of 596,819 in 2015.

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