11/14/08 — New Visitors center gets upgraded

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New Visitors center gets upgraded

By From staff reports
Published in Sports on November 14, 2008 1:46 PM

RALEIGH -- A popular playground for sportsmen will be gaining an attraction today when the new visitor's center at Jordan Lake State Park opens its doors for the first time.

Expanded and remodeled, the 9,949-square-foot visitor center at Jordan Lake State Recreation Area in Chatham County will be dedicated this afternoon at 3:30 p.m.

The ceremony is open to the pubic and will celebrate the addition of important environmental education amenities to the park, including a state-of-the-art exhibition hall.

The project represents an investment of $2 million by the N.C. Parks and Recreation Trust Fund, the principal funding source for capital improvements and land acquisition in the state parks system.

"Roughly one million visitors use Jordan Lake State Recreation Area each year, and this facility can add to their experience," said Lewis Ledford, director of the N.C. Division of Parks and Recreation. "Beyond being a new focal point for the park and a gathering place for visitors, the center will serve an important educational role with its integrated exhibit hall that explores the natural resources of the region."

The facility is one of 18 visitor centers built in the state parks in the past two decades, aided by the development of the trust fund. It was expanded by 4,217 square feet, adding an auditorium, conference room and classroom as well as the exhibit hall. A paved, accessible trail leads from the visitor center to a new floating dock on the shoreline.

Well known for its fishing opportunities, Jordan Lake has recently become a haven for bird watchers.

Bald eagles are now a common sight on the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers reservoir, and the visitor center's museum-quality exhibits include a replica bald eagle's nest tended by a carved wooden eagle in flight and accompanied by video of the eagle's life cycle. There are also marine dioramas and Triassic-era fossils dug from the lake's shore by state paleontologists.

Jordan Lake State Recreation Area has nine recreation sites on the 46,768-acre reservoir. The visitor center is located on State Park Road just east of the U.S. 64 bridge.