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New River State Park to Dedicate US 221 Access Development

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Michael F. Easley, Governor
William G. Ross, Jr., Secretary

Release Note: 
Charlie Peek
Release Date: 
Wednesday, June 20, 2007

New River State Park to Dedicate US 221 Access Development

RALEIGH -- Officials with the N.C. Division of Parks and Recreation will formally dedicate a visitor center and other parts of a major development phase at New River State Park's U.S. 221 Access on June 29.

In addition to the visitor center, the development phase included the expansion of campground and picnic facilities.

The 11 a.m. ceremony at the access area 10 miles north of Jefferson is open to the public and will celebrate an important milestone in the development of the state park in Ashe and Alleghany counties.

The development project at the 195-acre access represents an investment of $6.6 million from the N.C. Parks and Recreation Trust Fund. The trust fund is supported by the state's tax on real estate deed transfers and is the principal funding source for land acquisition and capital improvements in the state parks system.

'The state parks system has been committed to the development of this area for many years, and it brings New River State Park to a new level in offering opportunities for recreation and environmental education and in serving as a focal point for the community,' said Lewis Ledford, director of the division. 'It also reflects the high regard that people throughout North Carolina have for this beautiful river and what it represents for conservation in our state.'

The 14,000-square-foot visitor center will serve an important education role with its integrated exhibit hall that explores and interprets the rich natural and cultural resources of the region. The center's museum-quality exhibits are augmented by a teaching auditorium, laboratory/classroom and staff offices. The New River project is the latest in a program to equip state parks with modern visitor centers and exhibit halls. The project was launched in the mid-1990s when the trust fund was established.

The structure was designed by Edwin Boudin Architects of Winston-Salem, and the contractor was James R. Vannoy & Sons of Jefferson.

An improved campground at the 195-acre U.S. 221 Access includes a bathhouse and 20 campsites, half of which offer utility connections for trailers and recreational vehicles. Along with its community building, the access now offers a 1,230-square-foot picnic shelter. The maintenance complex is designed for long-term care of the visitor facilities and includes a mechanic shop, vehicle storage area and 3,440-square-foot woodworking shop.

New River State Park was established in 1976, the same year that a 26.5-mile segment of the New River, the centerpiece of the park, was designated a federal wild and scenic river. The park now encompasses 2,339 acres.

The park reported visitation of 185,335 in 2006.