Goose Creek ready for busy season

Published 8:14 pm Wednesday, April 25, 2012

GOOSE CREEK STATE PARK — The staff at Beaufort County’s Goose Creek State Park has been hard at work making sure visitors will enjoy their foray into the park.

The campground, which was heavily damaged by Hurricane Irene last year, reopened to the public April 2, and other finishing touches are underway to make the park even more user friendly, according to superintendent John Fullwood.

“We’ve been really busy. … We’re looking forward to the summer,” Fullwood.

John Fullwood, superintendent of Goose Creek State Park, uses a crab pot to illustrate a point during a talk on the blue crabs found in the Pamlico River and Pamlico Sound. The park hosts educational and entertaining programs every weekend. (WDN Photo/Kevin Scott Cutler)

The reopening of the campground was welcome news to visitors who want to get back to nature in the primitive facility, primitive in that it offers pit toilets in lieu of bathhouses. While water is available, there are no electrical hook-ups. But that has never deterred campers who don’t mind “roughing it” in the woods of Beaufort County.

The group campground and the bathroom facilities near the park’s swim beach remain closed for the time being, Fullwood noted. Park personnel will install water lines over the coming weeks and plans are to have those facilities up and running soon.

“The park is actually planning to run county water lines to those areas,” he said. “Hopefully, it will be done and completed in May.”

The park schedule calls for the swim-beach area to officially open for the summer season Memorial Day weekend.

Of a more immediate nature are preparations for this weekend’s Race for the River Kayakalon, organized by the Pamlico-Tar River Foundation and hosted by Goose Creek State Park. The three-stage event will feature kayaking on the river, a run along some of the park trails and a bike trek to the Dinah’s Landing boat-ramp facility, Fullwood said. The event is scheduled to begin at 9 a.m. Saturday, with participants expected to arrive one hour earlier.

Younger visitors to the park were entertained with an Easter egg hunt, the first time the park has hosted such an event in several years, according to Fullwood. Plans are to bring in even more young visitors this summer during the weeks of Critter Camp and Camp Wannagoma, collaborative efforts between park staff and Beaufort County 4-H leaders.

Recent visitors to the park may have noticed new, improved signage to help them along the way. The signs also mark the park’s more than seven miles of hiking trails through woodlands and marshes.

“With the new signage, we’re taking down a lot of things that were duplicated,” Fullwood said. “In some areas, there were four different signs with the same message. We’re streamlining things. And we’re also trying to open up areas of the park, to improve conditions and visibility.”

Fullwood and his fellow rangers Joe Martin and Nicole Crider are keeping busy planning and presenting a series of educational and entertaining programs offered free to the public each weekend. Topics include wildlife, plants and points of interest found in the park.

“Overall, we’re looking forward to people coming out this season and enjoying the park, taking advantage of what’s here for them,” Fullwood said.

For more information about Goose Creek State Park and its weekend programs, call 252-923-2191. The park is currently open daily from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.