News Stories

Park and Recreation Month in July promotes year-round opportunities to enjoy the outdoors

Published Sept. 6, 2018

   July is designated as Park and Recreation Month.  It’s a time set aside to observe the positive aspects of outdoor recreation, and challenges the public to explore the “undiscovered” roles of local parks and recreation, like science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) programming, senior programs,  innovative health and wellness opportunities, and community celebrations to name a few. 

   The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), Wilmington District’s own B. Everett Jordan Lake offers numerous recreational opportunities in the Raleigh, Durham and Chapel Hill area.  There are five campgrounds with more than 1,000 campsites, four day-use swim beaches, 13 parks with hiking trails, and 12 boat ramps with 14,000 acres of water recreation.  Additionally, the American Tobacco Trail, a 22-plus-mile refurbished bicycling route, connects Jordan Lake to downtown Durham.

   “Recently, I openly asked our Facebook followers what brings them out to the lake,” said Jordan Lake Ranger Blake Johnson.  “The general response I received was that our guests are pulled by the peace and quiet. From my personal observations, I notice the recreation most of our guests partake in are fishing, hiking, boating, camping, and relaxing.  On the weekends, you can see both bicyclists and motorcyclists lapping the lake and taking in the scenery.”

   Johnson said part of the appeal of camping at Jordan Lake is its aesthetically pleasing views.  He explained that all of the campgrounds border the lake with many of the campsites being directly adjacent to the water.

   “Even the campsites not directly on the water offer scenic views to relax. I find our campsites so pleasing that I've even compiled notes and photos of some of the greatest campsites in the general area, and one of the campgrounds is located here. Furthermore, Bald Eagle and Osprey sightings are fairly common across our campgrounds as well,” he said. 

   For those who appreciate looking for flora and fauna while hiking, Johnson said there are numerous areas to explore. 

   “If you want to hike along the campground trail at Poplar Point, you can spot some flowering trees such as Fringetree, Magnolia, Sourwood, Dogwood and Witch Hazel.  Another one I'd recommend is Poe's Ridge Trail by the Dam. It has a 4-mile loop with rolling hills along the way and a nice view of the lake through half of the trail.”

   USACE rangers are the eyes and ears to the public who help explain the numerous advantages of recreational opportunities that are available.  They often receive positive feedback from hikers, boaters or nature lovers who laud the Corps of Engineers for promoting those opportunities and for its environmental stewardship.   

   “I hear many guests refer to Jordan Lake as a ‘hidden gem’ amongst the Triangle area of Raleigh, Durham, and Chapel Hill,” said Johnson.  “I feel the same way about  the lake.  Directly bordering the lake itself is property that is managed by the U.S. Government. This grants a quite buffer between nature and civilization. Aside from this, you have a plethora of recreational activities to choose from at Jordan Lake.”

   Johnson said that USACE encourages Wounded Warrior-sponsored events at Jordan Lake and throughout the Nation. He said USACE officials make an effort to attend and assist as much as possible. 

   “Currently, we are working on bettering our relationship with the Wounded Warriors organization to be more aware of when events are being planned and how we can facilitate their efforts. Several non-profits use the lake for Wounded Warrior activities namely in the form of fishing events. In May, Warriors on the Water hosted a Military Appreciation Bass Fishing Tournament, and in September Operation North State will be hosting a ‘Fishin' Festival’ at Jordan Lake for Wounded Warriors.”

  With recreational opportunities offered at Jordan Lake comes the responsibility of promoting year-round water safety.  Jordan Lake Ranger Jerry Jarman recently won recognition for a water safety message of the month.  As a retired deputy sheriff with the Mecklenburg County Sheriff’s Office, he worked numerous drowning incidents that he felt could have been avoided if the person had been wearing a Personal Floatation Device (PFD). 

   “Now, as a Park Ranger, I can interact with more people,” said Jarman.  “I walk through the parks and the beach areas speaking with children and their parents about wearing PFD’s.  I also pass out water safety items to the children and explain to the parents the hazards of the lake, like water drop offs and underwater debris.  I also explain to the parents how hard it was in my previous job to tell a parent or a loved one that a family member had drowned when I felt if they had taken better safety precautions it could have been avoided.  It is my goal to educate as many people as I can to keep such tragedies from happening.”

   Jarman said that as far as year-round water safety, PFD’s are very important during the winter. He said that people tend to diminish the fact how much colder the water really can be or how the additional layers of clothing will weigh them down and restrict their movements if they fall into the water.

   If you’d like more information about Park and Recreation Month please go to .  And for more information about B. Everett Jordan Lake go to the following link;