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New accessible fishing pier opens at Morrow Mountain State Park

Visitors to Morrow Mountain State Park can now enjoy a new fishing pier accessible to everyone.

The new pier, in the same location of the old one destroyed in 2016, is complete with access ramps and places designed for people to fish from their wheelchairs.

Accessibility was important for the new pier, Park Superintendent Jeff Davidson said.

“Many people with mobility challenges have difficulty when trying to navigate along the river bank as many sections are steep and have ongoing erosion issues,” Davidson said.

He added the park is “unique for visitors with mobility challenges. You can easily drive around the park’s winding roads, enjoy the natural beauty of the park, mountain vistas and the lakefront. You can also enjoy an accessible overlook deck on top of Morrow Mountain, stay overnight in an accessible campsite or cabin and now enjoy an accessible pier on Lake Tillery.”

After flooding damaged the old pier in 2016, it was removed for the sake of safety.

“The old fishing pier was a popular recreational component of the park; something that visitors asked about frequently and wanted to see rebuilt,” Davidson said.

“The pier was popular for both locals and visitors traveling from outside the county. The pier was popular for fishing, but also popular for visitors who want to enjoy the lake views and watch wildlife on the lake.”

One year later, funding for a new pier was in the state budget, so a partnership between the park and the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission led to a design for the new pier.

In 2018, the park went through a permitting process with Duke Energy as part of a lease renewal which was completed this past July. With construction approval and both permits and grants secured, construction on the pier began in August.

Funding for the park came from a ConnectNC Bond, a Recreational Trails Program grant and a special funding allocation in the 2017 state budget, according to Davidson.

Davidson said the park receives approximately 500,000 visitors annually. The park, he said, “draws brings many people to Stanly County and has a positive impact on the local economy. The park also provides recreational opportunities to local citizens.”

The pier is just one of several major renovation projects coming to the park, he added. Davidson said later this year, approximately 20 miles of the park’s trails will be rerouted. This will make the trails “more sustainable and add a better trail experience for our hikers and horseback riders.“

Other renovations at Morrow Mountain will include changes to the campgrounds, cabins, the swimming pool and the summit area. Those changes, Davidson said, will begin in the early part of 2022 along with new camper cabins.

Many of the coming changes, he added, “will also improve or add accessible components to these facilities. We’re excited about these improvements and look forward to what the park has to offer in the future.”

About Charles Curcio

Charles Curcio was the sports editor of the Stanly News & Press from 1999-2001 and has currently served in the same capacity since 2008. He was awarded the NCHSAA Tim Stevens Media Representative of the Year and named CNHI Sports Editor of the Year in 2014. He has also been honored twice by the North Carolina Press Association.

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