Some sections of Morrow Mountain State Park will reopen to the public on Mon., Aug. 5, at 8 a.m. The popular park has been closed following serious damage from straight line winds associated with thunderstorms which occurred in mid-June.
During the thunderstorms, thousands of trees were knocked down or damaged, clogging park roadways, campsites and facilities and crushing vehicles, picnic tables, and trash cans. Seven park buildings received significant roof and structural damage when trees toppled onto them. Additionally, overturned tree root balls cut waterlines and damaged septic systems.
Park Superintendent Greg Schneider said Morrow Mountain State Park will thank neighbors and the patrons for their patience and support with a “Free Re-Opening” on Monday. At the Pool, swimming and use of the pool area will be free of charge for all patrons. At the Boathouse, the first hour of rental for rowboats, canoes and paddle boats will also be free of charge.
Park Rangers and Maintenance Mechanics from State Parks all over North Carolina have been assisting the Morrow Mountain State Park staff in clearing trees and brush and in repairing damaged facilities. To date, 94 N.C. Division of Parks and Recreation staff members have traveled to Morrow Mountain to assist in the recovery.
The park also received assistance from citizen volunteers who performed trail clearing on Saturday, June 29.
Greg Schneider issued a note of thanks to many in the community and also supplied detailed information about areas of the park that will reopen Monday, all of which can be seen below.
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From Morrow Mountain State Park Superintendent Greg Schneider:
The Morrow Mountain State Park staff would also like to thank the many supporters, private citizens, businesses, and emergency service providers that offered aid and assistance on the day of the storm and during the subsequent recovery.
The first two volunteers during the storm were Mr. and Mrs. J.R. Drake, who were driving through the park prior to the storm and were blocked in the campground by hundreds of fallen trees. Mr. Drake joined a park employee, who was also stranded in the campground, in surveying on foot each of the 106 campsites to ascertain if campers were okay or in need of additional assistance. This survey was completed in blustery winds and driving rain, tromping through a tangle of twisted and fallen timber. While Mr. Drake assisted with the welfare check of the campers, his wife took charge of two young boys that were temporarily separated from their parents by fallen timber. The Drakes’ selfless service to fellow park patrons was truly heroic and heartwarming.
We would also like to thank the dedicated personnel at East Side Volunteer Fire Department, Stanly Rescue Squad, and the NC Division of Forest Resources for their quick response to Morrow Mountain State Park and for their efforts to chainsaw a path to park visitors that were stranded by fallen trees in the campgrounds, in the cabin area, and at the summit of Morrow Mountain.
Special thanks are offered to the Ranger Jeremy Forsythe and staff from Boy Scouts of America Camp Barnhardt. On the evening of the storm, Ranger Forsythe led a crew from Camp Barnhardt to Morrow Mountain and assisted in chainsawing trees out of park roadways so that emergency crews could access park visitors stranded in the campground.
So many members of the public have called to volunteer their time and services toward the rehabilitation of Morrow Mountain State Park that it would be tough to thank each person individually, but we would also like to thank Store Manager Hal Knight and Lowe’s Home Improvement for donating ten cases of drinking water and Gatorade to the sawyers, chipper operators, and laborers working to clear and repair the park’s damaged facilities.
The following sections of Morrow Mountain State Park will re-open on August 5:
- Loops A and B of the Family Campground (Sites 1 to 68)
- Organized Group Camping Area (Sites 1 to 6)
- Family Vacation Cabins 1, 2, 3, 5, and 6
- Olympic Size Swimming Pool and Bathhouse/Concession Stand
- Boathouse and Concession Stand
- Boat Ramp and Fishing Pier
- Picnic Shelters B and C and the Lower Picnic Area
- Quarry, Laurel, and Three Rivers Trails
- Campground to Pool Access Trail
- Kron House Restoration
The following sections of Morrow Mountain State Park will remain closed until all downed and damaged trees can be removed from the facilities and repairs made:
- Mountain Top Overlooks and Picnic Area
- Picnic Shelter A
- Bridle Trails and the Bridle Trail Parking Lot
- Family Vacation Cabin 4
- Backpack, Fall Mountain, Hattaway Mountain, Morrow mountain, Mountain Loop, Rocks, and Sugarloaf Mountain Trails
From the Park… For your personal protection and for the safety of park staff and contractors, park patrons are asked to only utilize those areas of the park that have been re-opened to the public. Closed trails, roads, and facilities have many damaged trees and tree limbs which pose a safety risk to persons trespassing in those areas. In addition, contractors and park staff will be working in the closed areas with saws and heavy equipment and may be unable to see or hear persons around them. So, stay safe by staying in the open areas of the park.