The New Year


The New Year promises to be an exciting period of growth and development at Lake James State Park, especially when it comes to new opportunities for visitors to enjoy the expansive, 3,514-acre facility at the foot of the Linville Gorge.

Among several projects planned is the installation of four new picnic sites along the Paddy’s Creek Area lakefront. Each site will be graded and graveled and include a picnic table and an elevated grill. Once they are finished, the total number of picnic sites at Paddy’s Creek Area will be 24.

There are plans to open a 1-mile stretch of the Overmountain Victory Trail. The new section has been un- der construction for several months, with several dedicated volunteers supporting the work crew. Once completed, the trail will double the distance that the historically significant OVT traverses through the park.

It’s full speed ahead on the project to transform the former Paddy’s Creek Loop Trail into a first-of-its-kind, hands-on interpretive experience for young people. The new self-guided Holly Discovery Trail will feature 18 interactive stations where kids and their guardians can learn about the riparian ecosystem, and have a lot of fun doing it. Activities will include a “fairy house” building area, a “drumming” station and a wildlife viewing blind.

Folks who like to paddle around the lake will be happy to find the park’s eight-canoe rental fleet upgraded during the off-season. Canoes and single-person kayaks can be rented by the hour at the Paddy’s Creek Area concession stand, from Memorial Day until Labor Day, and by chance based on the seasonal staff schedule.

As always, the Friends of Lake James State Park will be supporting the permanent and seasonal park staff as they strive to make 2013 a success.