Campground in Plans for New N.C. State Park?

September 9, 2013 by · Comments Off on Campground in Plans for New N.C. State Park? 

Locator map for new Carvers Creek State Park in North Carolina. Map courtesy of the News & Observer

A new North Carolina state park will open today (Sept. 9) near Fort Bragg, giving people a chance to hike and fish on land once owned by the Rockefeller family.

Carvers Creek State Park covers 4,332 acres in two noncontiguous tracts north of Spring Lake. The smaller of the two – the 1,420-acre Long Valley Farm on the Cumberland-Harnett county line – opens with temporary facilities, the Raleigh News & Observer reported.

Long Valley Farm belonged to James Stillman Rockefeller, a grandnephew of Standard Oil founder John D. Rockefeller and a New York banker. He acquired the property in 1937 and lived there year-round while serving in the Airborne Command at nearby Fort Bragg during World War II.

When Rockefeller died in 2004, at 102, he left the farm to The Nature Conservancy, which eventually transferred the property to the state parks system and helped acquire other land for the park.

Rockefeller’s home, built in 1939, is on the National Register of Historic Places and overlooks a 100-acre lake with a cedar swamp at one end. There also are stands of longleaf pine and endangered red-cockaded woodpeckers, fox squirrels and carnivorous pitcher plants.

“It’s really a mixture of Southeast North Carolina country estate and some very pristine land,” said Charlie Peek, spokesman for the Division of Parks and Recreation. “Some of the land was in agriculture use going back to the early 1800s, and some of it has never been touched.”

James Stillman Rockefeller won an Olympic rowing title for the United States in the 1924 Olympics and a subsequent honor on the cover of TIME magazine. Photo courtesy of Wikipedia

Peek said there is no timetable for developing and opening the larger of the two parcels that will make up the park. The 2,912-acre Sandhills area off Johnson Farm Road eventually will be the site of a visitors center and a campground, though much of the property will be preserved in its natural state.

The park’s master plan also envisions another section on the Cape Fear River, but there are no firm plans for acquiring that property. Peek said the state plans to work with the city of Fayetteville to connect the sections of the park with trails.

“We’re hoping to work real closely with them to have a kind of unified recreation corridor over there,” he said.

Carvers Creek is North Carolina’s 36th state park and the eighth to open since 2001.