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Public Meetings Scheduled for Lake James State Park Master Plan

Home >> Newsroom >> Press Releases >> Public Meetings Scheduled for Lake James State Park Master Plan
Michael F. Easley, Governor
William G. Ross, Jr., Secretary

Release Note: 
Immediate
Contact: 
Charlie Peek
Release Date: 
Tuesday, April 5, 2005
Phone: 
919-218-4622

Public Meetings Scheduled for Lake James State Park Master Plan

RALEIGH -- As part of its master planning process, the NC Division of Parks and Recreation is seeking comment at public meetings in McDowell County on April 21 and Burke County on April 28 concerning the future use of property added to Lake James State Park.

The park's long-range master plan is being adapted to include 2,915 acres purchased early this year from Crescent Resources Inc. The master plan will essentially be a blueprint for how the recently acquired acreage is to be developed in coming decades. The plan is to be formally presented to the division in the spring of 2006 by LandDesign, a Charlotte planning and landscape architecture firm.

"The addition of this property to Lake James State Park was very much a community effort, and we feel it's important that citizens be involved in the planning process as well," Division Director Lewis Ledford said. "A successful state park should be a vision shared by the parks system, the people who use the park and the people who are its neighbors."

The state and Crescent Resources reached agreement last summer to add the land to the state park for $18.36 million, well below its appraised value. The acquisition, completed in January, expanded the state park to six times its former size and allows the conservation of more than 30 miles of lakeshore. The purchase was made possible through the use of certificates of participation backed by future revenues to the Parks and Recreation Trust Fund and the Clean Water Management Trust Fund.

Developing a master plan involves making critical decisions that will guide almost every aspect of development in a state park that already attracts more than 250,000 visitors a year. Some of the issues that the master plan will address include:

' Which areas of the Longarm peninsula and Paddy Creek watershed are suitable as sites for facilities and which areas should be left to nature.

' What types of recreational and education facilities - such as visitor center, swim beaches, boating access, campgrounds, picnic areas and trails - will be provided.

' Where land and water access, road systems, maintenance compounds and other infrastructure will be located.

' How trails and overlooks can be configured to take advantage of scenic viewsheds and provide for greatest visitor enjoyment.

' What will be the long-term use of the 650 acres of land and facilities in the existing park on the lake's south shoreline.

During the master planning process, LandDesign will consult with the park's staff and its citizens Park Advisory Committee as well as the division's planning, natural resource protection and park operations teams.

Agendas for the public meetings in both counties will be identical. Participants will have a chance to talk to LandDesign and parks system officials and to view maps of the acquired property.

The April 21 meeting will be held in the upstairs courtroom of the McDowell County Courthouse, 21 South Main Street, in Marion. The April 28 meeting will be held in the Commissioners Board Room of the Burke County Service Building (Old Lazarus Building), 110 North Green Street, in Morganton.