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Memorial Day Draws Thousands to the Water in NC State Parks

Home >> Newsroom >> Press Releases >> Memorial Day Draws Thousands to the Water in NC State Parks
Michael F. Easley, Governor
William G. Ross, Jr., Secretary

Release Note: 
Charlie Peek
Release Date: 
Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Memorial Day Draws Thousands to the Water in NC State Parks

RALEIGH --On Memorial Day, and other warm-weather holidays, people tend to gravitate to North Carolina's state parks. And, once they arrive at those state parks, thousands of visitors seek out the water.

Every state park and state recreation area, except for Mount Mitchell, offers some type of water-based recreation whether it's splashing in breakers on the beach, boating on a lake or reservoir, canoeing a river or trout fishing in a mountain stream.

Nine state parks and all four state recreation areas offer designated swimming areas.

"State parks seem to take center stage on a holiday such as Memorial Day. All of our parks are extremely busy, and we're happy to be able to offer these special places for summer recreation to so many people," said Lewis Ledford, director of the N.C. Division of Parks and Recreation. "However, we consider it a truly successful holiday only if every visitor stays safe in and around the water."

Visitors should plan ahead to deal with holiday crowds at popular outdoor recreation sites. State parks recorded more than 12.3 million visits in 2005. And, it's likely that even more visitors will enjoy the parks during the system's 90 th anniversary year in 2006.

And, planning ahead can help ensure a safe holiday. Information about each park's amenities and safety rules can be found on the parks system's website, . After they arrive, visitors should take a moment to read posted notices, talk with family members about safety and ask rangers or park staff if they have questions.

Although many parks offer designated swimming areas, not all of them are staffed by lifeguards. Signs are always posted to inform visitors whether lifeguards are on duty. Park rangers are on duty to assist visitors, and all are well versed in lifesaving procedures. However, rangers are not permanently stationed in or around water areas. If emergency telephones are available, they're often located near designated swimming areas.

Swim areas at Falls Lake, Jordan Lake and Kerr Lake state recreation areas have loaner life jackets available, and non-swimmers -- both adults and children -- should make use of them.

Children should also be under close supervision at all times when swimming. Young children and infants should remain within arm's reach.

Even experienced swimmers and boaters should remember some common-sense rules:

' Learn how to swim and learn CPR.

' Never swim alone.

' Never swim under the influence of alcohol or medications or when unusually tired.

' Never swim when you hear thunder or see lightning.

' When boating, remember there may be unexpected underwater hazards. Use extra caution when approaching the shoreline or docking areas.

If you find someone in trouble in the water, first yell for help and then try to help the person out of the water using a flotation device, pool hook, tree limb or rope. Never jump into deep water to save someone. Many would-be rescuers become drowning victims themselves.

Call 911 (or ask a park employee or another park visitor to make a call) and stay on the line. If you don't know CPR, a 911 operator can give instructions until help arrives.