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Public Meeting Will Introduce Revised State Park Master Plan

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

Release Note: 
Charlie Peek
Release Date: 
Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Public Meeting Will Introduce Revised State Park Master Plan

RALEIGH -- As part of a process to revise the South Mountains State Park master plan, the N.C. Division of Parks and Recreation and Swanson and Associates, P.A. of Chapel Hill will conduct a public meeting May 17 at 7 p.m. in Morganton.

The meeting will be held in the meeting room of the Burke County Board of Commissioners.

The meeting will include a presentation of a proposed master plan update with emphasis on new facility development in the Clear Creek Area of the park near U.S. 64. Also, the public will be able to offer comments to officials of the state parks system and Swanson and Associates, a Raleigh-based landscape architecture firm responsible for completing the plan.

The existing master plan for South Mountains State Park was prepared in 1979 when the park was about half its current size. Most of the additional land was acquired at the park's western boundary in the Clear Creek watershed.

'The additional land acquired at South Mountains offers the opportunity to open another gateway to North Carolina's largest state park and to create our third environmental education center,' said Lewis Ledford, director of the division. 'The state parks system and the (N.C.) Department of Health and Human Services have made a joint commitment to create a facility there that would allow all citizens ' and, especially those with special needs ' to connect with nature in a very special way.'

In 2003, the Department of Health and Human Services transferred 450 acres, known as the School for the Deaf Watershed, to the park. This followed the transfer in 2000 of 2,556 acres, property known locally as the Broughton Watershed, from the N.C. Department of Agriculture. These and some adjacent properties are considered the Clear Creek Area of the park.

A state park's master plan is essentially a blueprint for long-term development of facilities and recreation opportunities and a guide for protection of natural resources. It is meant to be an organic document, evolving as the park grows and as knowledge is gained about a park's natural resources and public use.

Written comments about the proposed master plan will be accepted at the meeting and afterwards through May 29. Comments can be directed through the Web site, (navigate to South Mountains home page) or sent to N.C. Division of Parks and Recreation, 1615 MSC, Raleigh, NC, 27699, Attn: South Mountains State Park Master Planning.