RALEIGH -- The new Mayo River State Park in Rockingham County will open interim facilities to the public on April 1, according to the N.C. Division of Parks and Recreation.
The restoration of a pavilion-style picnic shelter designed by renowned architect Antonin Raymond is the centerpiece of the project that also includes picnic grounds, play fields, a hiking trail and a ranger contact station at the 1,961-acre state park authorized by the N.C. General Assembly in 2003.
?The development of North Carolina?s 35th state park has truly been a result of close partnership with the community, and the state parks system is very proud to share this achievement with Rockingham County and its citizens,? said Lewis Ledford, state parks director. ?Mayo River State Park will grow in its conservation mission and its ability to offer exciting outdoor recreation.?
The interim facilities are on a 398-acre site just north of Mayodan on N.C. 220 Business and known locally as Mayo Park. The site was developed in 1948 by Washington Mills as a community recreation area. The state parks system acquired the property in 2004 from Avalon Development Corp.
Land acquisition for Mayo River State Park continues within a 12-mile river corridor from Mayodan north to the Virginia state line. The state parks system owns about 400 acres contiguous to the state line, which could be developed as a second principal access to the park.
The former Mayo Park site included the picnic pavilion, a cooking shelter and a bathhouse designed by Raymond, a prot?g? of Frank Lloyd Wright who introduced a Japanese style of architecture to the U.S. incorporating natural materials. The pavilion and cooking shelter have been fully restored in wood and natural stone. The bathhouse was deemed too dilapidated for restoration, although portions of the structure were salvaged for potential later use as exhibits. The site also includes two small ponds, one of which has been drained to allow dam renovation.
Five individual picnic sites are being installed at the site. A half-mile hiking trail is in place and volunteers and park staff are building another 1.8-mile trail. The initial development project also includes renovation of a former caretaker?s quarters as a ranger contact station, a restroom building designed in a style similar to Raymond?s and park infrastructure including entrance road, parking areas and utilities.
The $1.7 million project was supported by the N.C. Parks and Recreation Trust Fund, the principal funding source for state park land acquisition and capital projects.
Mayo River State Park has a permanent staff of four and two seasonal employees under the direction of Park Superintendent Fred Watkins.
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