New Hanover County welcomed its newest, 92-acre park today near Gordon and Harris Roads. Smith Creek Park features a fresh water lake, kayak and canoe launches, trails, and a playground.
WHQR’s Sara Wood reports that mined sand was removed to create a 35 acre fresh water lake.
The lake is spring-fed, stocked with fish and close to 40 feet deep in some parts. Mark Boyer with the county says there will be non-motorized boat launches, meaning you can bring your kayak, you can bring your canoe, but don’t bring your swimsuit.
“Most of the folks who live along Smith Creek know that Smith Creek is loaded with alligators. So the alligators have found a new habitat in the lake. So swimming with not be encouraged just because of the alligators.”
Boyer says in addition to the park, the development of 80 adjacent acres will create a growing green space for residents.
“We’re looking to keep it as natural as possible meaning no playgrounds, no soccer fields. We’ll have nature trails, bird-watching areas. The combination of those two properties will give that part of the county one of the largest parks in this whole part of the state."
Boyer says county hopes to start developing the land in the next five to ten years.
Funding for Smith Creek Park came from a half-million dollar grant from the North Carolina Parks & Recreation Trust Fund. The project was also supplemented by selling mined sand that was removed to create the lake. Two other parks are currently in development and when complete will close out the county’s portion of a parks and green space bond voters passed in 2006.