NC State Parks

Celebrating 100 Years of NC State Parks!

NC State Parks

Image Courtesy North Carolina State Parks.

{Editor’s Note: We are starting a new series of posts called “On the Road with Mickey“. This post is our first in this series, which will feature posts about things you can do in the North Carolina region and beyond. Come check it out!}

2016 marks the 100th anniversary of the creation of the NC State Parks system, and the state plans to celebrate all year long!  On January 1st, the state started things off with “First Day Hikes” at nearly all of the state parks.  I say nearly all because some of the events had to be cancelled due to weather conditions at some of the parks.

In addition to the First Day Hikes, the NC State Parks division plans events throughout the year.  Some of these events include:

  • 100 S’more Years events at William B. Umstead State Park (multiple dates and times)
  • Art Trail Hike at Elk Knob State Park (January 24th at 3:00PM)
  • March Forth on March Fourth on the Eno — a series of hikes from March 4th – 6th, covering all of the trails of the Eno River State Park.
  • Old Homesites Tour at Lake James State Park — this state park pays tribute to some of the families that lived there before it was a state park with information on the old homesites that still exist on the grounds.
  • Party for the Pine at Weymouth Woods-Sandhills Nature Preserve — come on March 19th to celebrate the 468th birthday of the oldest known living longleaf pine in the world!

These are just some of the activities planned for this year!  Check out the Centennial Events page for all the events throughout the year!

What was the first NC State Park?

The very first state park in North Carolina was on the site of Mount Mitchell.  This mountain, which at elevation 6,684 feet is the highest point east of the Mississippi River in the United States, was being devastated by logging, mining, railroad activities, and so forth in the early 1900s.  In 1915, concerned citizens wrote to Governor Locke Craig, who visited Mount Mitchell, convinced the loggers to cease operations, and then went back to the General Assembly to being the campaign to save Mount Mitchell.

There are now 66 properties across the state that comprise the NC State Parks.  38 of these are state parks and recreation areas, and 28 are state rivers, lakes, trails, and other natural areas. In all, the NC State Parks comprised 211,964 acres of land.

The culmination of all of this will take place on October 8, 2016, at Elk Knob State Park, near Boone, NC. Starting at 10AM in the Picnic Area of the park, there will be a free lunch with hot dogs, hamburgers, and such, games to play, talks, hikes, and more.  Elk Knob State Park is located at 5564 Meat Camp Road, Todd, NC 28684.  You can email them at or call them at 828-297-7261 for more details.

Throughout the year, On the Road with Mickey will be visiting some of our state parks to give you in depth reviews of them, so stay tuned for more details!  We’ll see you at the parks!