Editor’s Note: This is another in a continuing series of stories called “Find Your Park,” where we will highlight local, state and federal parks within this region of North Carolina and nearby Virginia communities.
What was then known as the Wilkesboro Dam and Reservoir was completed by the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers in August of 1962 after years of studies on how to control flooding from the upper Yadkin River. Renamed the W. Kerr Scott Dam and Reservoir in 1963 in honor of the former governor and U.S. senator who had a hand in getting the project approved, the lake in Wilkesboro now provides a variety of recreational activities in addition to controlling flooding and serving as a water supply.
From swimming to camping, fishing to mountain biking, outdoor enthusiasts can enjoy it all along the banks of W. Kerr Scott lake.
“We are really known for our mountain biking trials,” said Park Manager Kevin Heape.
The trails around the lake are multi-use trails for hiking and biking. Heape said a community group called the Brushy Mountain Cyclists have worked closely with the park.
“In partnership with them we have built 45 miles of trails,” Heape said. The group also hosts annual races, volunteer work days and obtains grants to build new or update existing trails at the lake.
A portion of the historic Overmountain Victory Trail also goes through W. Kerr Scott park, a partnership with the National Parks Service.
Camping is another popular activity at the lake. The park boasts three campgrounds, Fort Hamby Park, Warrior Creek Campground and Bandit’s Roost Campground.
“Bandit’s Roost is by far the most popular,” Heape said. “That’s one of the highest performing campgrounds in the nation for the Corps of Engineers.” The campground is booked up for summer weekends nearly a year in advance.
All three of the campgrounds have water and electric campsites as well as primitive tent sites. A shower house, dump station, swim beach, basketball court, playground and trails are available at each of the sites.
The 1,475-acre lake provides a number of water-based recreation including boating, fishing and swimming.
“We have a variety of fish in the lake, our most impressive fishery is the crappie, but we also have striped bass, hybrid bass, spotted bass, a lot of smaller fish and catfish,” Heape said.
Swim beaches can be found at the campgrounds and in day use areas at Berry Mountain Park, Boomer Park and Fort Hamby Park.
Environmental education is another mission of W. Kerr Scott. Programs are presented weekly during peak camping season on a variety of environmental topics. A state-of-the-art Environmental Education Center offers hands-on exhibits as well.
Heape said the park and lake have numerous partner organizations which assist with various programs. The Friends of W. Kerr Scott Lake, established in 2007, is one of the most active, Heape said. The group has obtained $1.5 million in grants for the park since its inception.
For more information on the many activities available at W. Kerr Scott Lake, visit www.recreation.gov and search W. Kerr Scott Lake or call 336-921-3390.
Kitsey Burns Harrison may be reached at 336-679-2341 or on Twitter and Instagram @RippleReporterK.