Trust fund authority approves park projects

Land acquisition projects at six state parks and seven significant capital projects were funded in whole or in part by the N.C. Parks and Recreation Trust Fund Authority Friday at a meeting at Crowders Mountain State Park. The projects will be supported with an $8.9 million share of the trust fund designated for state parks.

The land acquisition projects totaling $2.2 million include $800,000 to expand New River State Park with the purchase of a former private campground at the Kings Creek Access and $1.7 million toward the total cost of an expected addition of 114 acres at Lake James State Park. Other funding will be directed to projects at Chimney Rock, South Mountains, Lumber River and Elk Knob state parks.

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Funding was approved for additional trail structures at Chimney Rock State Park.

The capital funding of $6.7 million includes support for such projects as trail structures at Chimney Rock State Park, a campground bathhouse at Cliffs of the Neuse State Park and a trail bridge at Lake James State Park that will link visitor areas at Paddy’s Creek and Longarm Peninsula. Also, $300,000 was set aside to begin repairs at Carvers Creek State Park where heavy flooding in October damaged a dam and nearby structures.

The Parks and Recreation Trust Fund is the principal source of funding for land acquisition and capital projects in the state parks, with 65 percent of trust fund revenue directed to those types of projects. The remainder is set aside for local government grants for parks and recreation projects and for coastal beach access.

North Carolina State Parks Director Mike Murphy briefed the authority about recent division activities, including 14 centennial-related events held since August and the popular state parks presence at the North Carolina State Fair. He also noted that the state parks system has begun planning to host the 2017 Association of Southeast State Park Directors conference in Winston-Salem.

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