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Release: Immediate
Date: Sept. 20, 2011
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Contact: Charlie Peek
email: Charlie.Peek@ncdenr.gov
Phone: (919) 715-8709

Public can visit new section of Haw River State Park at free festival


RALEIGH – People can get their first glimpse of what will become Haw River State Park at a fall festival state officials are hosting at the park near Greensboro Sept. 25.
 
Most of Haw River State Park is not open to the public. But staff members with the N.C. Division of Parks and Recreation hosting the festival will allow people to visit the property in Browns Summit. The festival will be from 1-4 p.m. with temporary entry at the end of Oak Arbor Road, off N.C. 150, just west of Northern Elementary School. The festival is free.
 
People can go on hayrides and hikes across the property to Haw River wetlands and participate in crafts, a turtle scavenger hunt, a campfire and storytelling. The event is co-sponsored by Friends of Haw River State Park.
 
The festival will be held on a 692-acre tract acquired from the real estate development company Bluegreen in 2008 that lies just west of the state park’s Summit Environmental Education Center. The land will soon be developed with traditional state park facilities.
 
A master plan was completed in 2010 for Haw River State Park, which encompasses 1,374 acres in Guilford and Rockingham counties. The park was authorized in 2003 and the environmental education center was created from conference facilities purchased from the Episcopalian Diocese. The master plan calls for more traditional state park uses on the former Bluegreen property, and it will eventually become the principal state park gateway.
 
The initial phase of park development includes an entrance road and parking area, a network of hiking trails, restroom facilities and picnic grounds. Work has begun on an extensive loop trail and design of the park’s entrance road.
 
An environmental education center at Haw River State Park is open to organized groups that make reservations. However, the rest of the park will only open to the public for traditional uses such as hiking and picnicking after interim facilities have been completed. Construction of the park’s facilities is expected to start in 2013.
 
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