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North Carolina State Parks

Every state park has its unique story woven into the 100+ year history of North Carolina’s state parks system, stories that bind us to the landscape and reflect our love of the natural resources. The State Library of North Carolina has woven those stories about state park origins into a dynamic, interactive timeline with historic photos. It’s part of the library’s broader NCpedia project, which offers an overview of the state parks’ role in North Carolina cultural and natural history.

The North Carolina State Parks Timeline is here:

The NCpedia project on North Carolina’s state parks history is here:

Much of the history of North Carolina’s state parks system is revealed through photos preserved across generations. The North Carolina Digital Collections is a trove of photos gathered from the files of the N.C. Division of Parks and Recreation, the State Archives and the State Library. Prepared as part of the parks system’s centennial in 2016, the easy-to-search collection includes both historical and contemporary images of varied topics, such as: the creation of individual parks, significant public events held in the parks, animals and plants, park scenery, recreation, and park visitors.

The North Carolina Digital Collections

In 2016, North Carolina’s state parks system celebrated its centennial. One of the nation’s first state parks was created over 100 years ago at the summit of Mount Mitchell, and since then, the system has grown to nearly a quarter-million acres set aside for conservation, recreation and education. The occasion offered North Carolinians an opportunity to celebrate this achievement and to rededicate themselves to the stewardship of this stunning landscape. Every state park held a special event to mark the centennial. Rediscover North Carolina’s state parks as places to learn about our environment, to relax with family and reconnect with nature.


Watch "Here in This Place," a celebration of North Carolina State Parks' scenery, activities, and natural wonder - filmed and produced by parks staff.

A team of 28 videographers, including rangers, a retired ranger, education specialists, office personnel and temporary AmeriCorps workers, was trained to contribute to the year-long project. The result was this video and the creation of a stunning video library of state park landscapes at their best. The video's soundtrack is provided by composer, musician and WRAL-TV news anchor Bill Leslie and Joe Newberry of the Department of Natural and Cultural Resources, a nationally known composer of traditional-style music. Editing was completed by Greg Snyder, Digital Media Group director for the museum. The project was produced under the guidance of Dave Cook, the parks system's north district superintendent.