This past weekend (July 4th), my son and I backpacked and "hammocked" at Stone Mountain State Park, NC. We were fortunate enough to stay in the coveted Site F. As we were leaving, we happened upon a park employee, who mentioned (in passing) that the park was considering closing sites E and F. This was because of the condition of the bridge that connects those two sites to the rest of the Widow's Creek Trail. The bridge is getting older and, according to the employee, maintenance personnel had no way to get equipment and material in to the bridge site.
This news disturbed me greatly, both because of my own experience at the site as well as the glowing trip reports about Site F from NCPatrick, Carolinahammockhanger and others in this forum.
To make a long story short, I ended up emailing the park superintendent. For your information, I have included his response below:
I'm glad you had a good experience while visiting the park. The short answer to your question is there are no plans to remove the bridge or campsites at this time. The long answer involves long range goals for the management of the park. At our last General Management Plan meeting in 2008 the idea of improving all sites and possible increase the backpack opportunities was very popular. I hope in the future we can offer more miles of trail for overnight use with a goal of a 3 to 4 night stay on a large loop. This will take years to plan and seek funding but I believe it would be well received by our visitors.
It is hard to predict if any of the current sites would be included in a new plan but I'm certain that campsites as desirable as those would still exist. Sites A, E, & F are definitely the most popular. Thanks for your input and I will share this information with the other committee members.
Stone Mountain State Park
3042 Frank Parkway
Roaring Gap, NC 28668
PLEASE NOTE MY NEW EMAIL ADDRESS: Edward.Farr@ncdenr.gov
E-mail correspondence to and from this address may be subject to the North Carolina Public Records Law and may be disclosed to third parties.
From: Jim Yount
Sent: Tuesday, July 07, 2009 1:47 PM
Subject: Question about your backpacking camp sites
Dear Sir or Madam,
My son and I spent this past weekend (Thursday PM through Sunday AM) camping at Site F in your backpack camping area. It was our first visit to Stone Mountain State Park and we had a wonderful time! We will definitely be coming back soon!
As we were leaving Sunday, we stopped at the Stone Mountain Country Store for lunch. While we were there, I ran into one of your park employees (I didn't get his name). I told him how much we had enjoyed our stay, and he asked which site we had used. When I told him that it was Site F, he asked me what I thought about "the bridge". It had rained the night before, so I told him that I was glad that wire mesh had been placed on the surface of the bridge. It would have definitely been slippery otherwise. He told me that the park was considering closing Sites E and F permanently, because of the condition of the bridge at Site E. He said that they couldn't get equipment in there to rebuild the bridge.
I'm writing you to find out if this is truly the case. If so, I ask that you please find a way to repair or replace the bridge (or provide an alternative means of accessing Sites E and F). While my son and I were there, we hiked the entire length of the Widow's Creek trail and looked at all of the camp sites. While all of the sites are very nice, Sites E and F are, by far, our favorites.
I called the office yesterday afternoon to find out more information about the status of "the bridge". The lady that I spoke with said that she was not aware of any plans to close the two sites, but suggested that I send an email to you asking for more information. In fact, she told me that she processes the payments for the camp sites and she knows that Site F was the most popular of all the backpacking camp sites.
I look forward to hearing from you soon. In my humble opinion, it would be a tragedy if Sites E and F were closed permanently!
I'm relieved at this news and look forward to staying in Site F in the future! If anyone else feels so inclined, please email Mr. Farr at the email address shown above. The more input he receives, the more the committee will be influenced to preserve sites E & F for many years to come.