Local News

State Parks Scramble To Open By Easter

Posted March 25, 2003

— For many area residents, December's ice storm is a cold memory quickly melting away.

But that's not the case at state parks in the area.

The destruction caused by the storm has kept many park areas closed for more than four months.

Cleanup at places like Falls Lake State Recreation Park is a big job.

The park has more than 350 campsites and picnic areas. It has 31 miles of hiking and biking trails and 40 miles of roadways that crews have had to work on.

It simply takes times to get everything done.

It also is an expensive job. Even though much of the cleanup is being paid for through Federal Emergency Management Agency disaster funds, park officials estimate that complete debris removal will cost about $300,000.

With the spring camping season just ahead, the cleanup effort is becoming more critical.

Parks like Falls Lake were designed for the public. But until some of the ice-storm debris can be cleaned up, the public can't be allowed in. Park Rangers say they have to make sure the park is safe for the public before they can let anyone in.

Rangers said they expect to be close to ready for the Easter weekend rush. With 30 days of good weather, they estimate that 90 percent of the work could be complete.

Much of Raleigh's Umstead Park is also closed. Contract crews have been working hard to get it open. But with 52 miles of roads and trails, it's a staggering job - perhaps 50 to 60 tractor-trailer loads of logs to come out, by some estimates.

Park rangers ask the public to be patient and know that the work is progressing.

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