Lake Norman State Park »  History
Construction at Park Lake Area & Boat Rentals Closure.
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Construction on the park’s new visitor center is in progress and will not be completed until at least September, 2014. It is being built on the opposite side of the parking area from the Itusi Trail trailhead. Access to the Heron shelter, picnic area, fishing dock and Alder Trail is restricted. Boat rentals are closed indefinitely. The restrooms are closed, but there are porta jons. Potable water is not available. At least half of the 240 parking spaces are blocked off. Parking on road shoulders is not allowed. Visitors may be directed to park at the swimming area on busy weekends and holidays. This does not affect any other facilities at the park, including the campgrounds and swimming area.
Updated: 2014-09-16 11:28:22
The parking area for the mountain bike trail/park lake area will be closed starting July 18th, 2014 so that it can be refurbished. We are unsure how long this closure will last. During the closure, trail/area users will only be allowed to park at the swimming area. Parking along roads or in undesignated areas is prohibited. Parking won't be allowed in other lots (i.e. office, group camp/community bldg, etc.) due to limited capacity and/or the need to provide parking for facility renters.
Updated: 2014-07-16 16:10:18
The area surrounding the Catawba River is rich in history. Artifacts including pottery shards, flint
chips and arrowheads, as well as burial sites near the river, indicate the presence of Native Americans
long before European settlement.
The Catawba Indians had an estimated population of 5,000 in 1600, but their number declined steadily due
to disease and warfare with Iroquoian tribes. By 1760, the tribe was reduced to 60 fighting men. And in
1762, the Catawba left the area and moved south.
In the mid-18th century, Fort Dobbs was built to protect area settlers during the French and Indian War.
Daniel Boone helped to defend this fort against the Cherokees. During the Revolutionary War, Lord
Cornwallis set up a camp in the area and a skirmish was fought at Cowans Ford, an area now covered by
Lake Norman was created from 1959 to 1964 when Duke Power Company built the Cowans Ford Dam across the
Catawba River to generate electrical energy. The creation of the lake led to further industrialization of
Mecklenburg County, helping establish Charlotte as a major trade center.
The park was formed in September, 1962, when Duke Power Company donated 1,328 acres of land on the
northeastern shore of Lake Norman for a state park.