Lake Norman State Park had its best attendance ever in 2014 and was among the state leaders in attendance growth from the previous year.
According to data released by the N.C. Division of Parks and Recreation, Lake Norman State Park drew more than 551,000 visitors last year, up from the 323,237 reported in 2013.
That 70 percent increase put the park second among the state’s 39 state parks and recreation areas in attendance growth percentage. Topping the list was Carvers Creek State Park in Cumberland County, which saw a 92 percent increase in attendance from 2013.
“Record visitation in 2014 dramatically reflects the value North Carolinians place on our state parks, especially for the communities where they’re located and their economies,” state parks director Mike Murphy said in a prepared release.
“The state parks system will hold its centennial in 2016, and planning is underway for special events and opportunities to celebrate a system that has become an institution for recreation, conservation and connection with nature in our state.”
Lake Norman State Park’s total attendance also put it ninth in the state, just behind Carolina Beach State Park (567,025) and ahead of Eno River State Park (530,703).
Six state parks had attendance of 1 million or more in 2014, led by William B. Umstead State Park (1.3 million). Also breaking the 1 million mark were Jordan Lake State Recreation Area (1.27 million), Jockey’s Ridge State Park (1.24 million), Fort Macon State Park (1.2 million), Kerr Lake State Recreation Area (1.1 million), and Falls Lake State Recreation Area (1.1 million).
Statewide, attendance at the state parks and recreation areas grew 10 percent from the previous year, from 14.17 million in 2013 to 15.58 million in 2014.
Covekeepers meeting March 26
The Lake Norman Covekeepers will hold its monthly meeting 7 p.m. March 26 at the East Lincoln Fire Department, 406 S. Pilot Knob Road, Denver.
The guest speaker will be Laura Shidal, educational ranger at Mountain Island Educational State Forest, who will discuss the forest and its importance to the environment.
For information, call 704-489-6249.
LNWC plans Spring Fling
The Lake Norman Wildlife Conservationists will hold a special Earth Day event 10 a.m.-4 p.m. April 18 at LangTree Lake Norman, 401 Langtree Road, Mooresville.
The theme of the Wildlife Conservationists’s Earth Day program is “All Things Nature.” Featured will be exhibits from local nurseries, landscapers, outdoor specialty stores and other outdoor-themed organizations.
In addition, participants can learn how to construct a wildlife-friendly yard, experts will hold seminars on subjects such as “Bird-Brained Gardening” and “Aliens Among Us,” and music, food, beverages and hand-on crafts will also be available.
Bill Kiser is a freelance writer. Have a story idea for Bill? Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.