BY DEBBIE PAGE
debbiepage.iredellfreenews@gmail.com

The Friends of Lake Norman State Park recently held its annual meeting, which was delayed from April, to elect officers and board members, reflect on the past 18 months of accomplishments, and plan two upcoming events to enhance the park.

STATE OF THE PARK

Park Superintendent Scott Avis announced that the Visitors Center is now open for shortened hours in North Carolina’s Phase 2.5 reopening. Because of limited staffing, the center is open 9 a.m. to 12 noon and 1 to 3 p.m.

The group camp area is now open since outdoor gatherings are now allowed up to 50.

The swim beach and community center remain closed, but picnic shelters are available on a first-come, first-serve basis.

Avis said the construction of six cabins, 11 full camper hookups, and a new bathhouse in the family campground area is ahead of schedule. The construction is expected to be complete in December, with reservations for these new facilities beginning in January.

The superintendent is in the process of selecting six native wildflowers to use as names and artwork for the cabins.

The park is operating with only half its staffing complement, with two park rangers, two maintenance staffers, and one office administrator position currently unfilled.

Avis said a recent Boy Scout project added 50 plants to the lake’s northern side to stabilize the shoreline area and to provide more shade for fish.

He is pleased to see the park busy with hikers and bikers on the trails and camping areas filled.

Future projects that FLANO could assist with include renovating some family camp sites and rehabbing a trail in the group camp area.

TREASURER AND MEMBERSHIP REPORT

Treasurer Katie Wurtz said the organization has $8,915.87 on hand, of which $4,879.51 in Habitat Enhancement Project grant funds is earmarked to purchase native vegetation and trees for replanting in late September.

The group spent $2,011.97 this year so far on projects. Slowed donations and membership outreach during the park closures resulted in lower revenues, with $510 in membership fees and $1,014.00 in donations collected so far in 2020.

Wurtz said the club also recently received $150 of unspent funds from the Park Lake Scout project.

FLANO currently has 43 paid members.

ACCOMPLISHMENTS

Ninety-three volunteers participated in 12 FLANO activities thus far in 2020, for a total of 253 volunteer hours.

These projects included FLANO hikes, erosion control, invasive species eradication, group camp improvements, and small projects with students from the Community School of Davidson.

UPCOMING VOLUNTEER OPPORTUNITIES

National Public Lands Day

On Saturday, September 26, FLANO will celebrate National Public Lands Day with the completion of a Habitat Enhancement Project. This past winter and early spring, volunteers eradicated non-native species, including extensive infestations of privet and kudzu, over five sessions in two areas in the park.

FLANO will now complete the project by replacing this invasive vegetation with 46 native trees and plants as well as native seeds.

Volunteers should meet in front of Visitors Center at 9 a.m. Please wear appropriate clothes, work gloves, sturdy shoes or boots, and face coverings. Bring any helpful tools (shovel, hoe) if possible. Volunteers will carpool to the sites.

Riversweep

On October 3, FLANO is partnering with the Catawba River Keepers in the Lake Norman Riversweep and Clean-up from 9 a.m. until 12 noon. Volunteers (on boats or on foot) should meet at the Lake Norman State Park Boat Launch.

Teams of volunteers on pontoon boats will clean up debris from the river while other teams will walk the shorelines collecting debris. A dumpster will be provided at the boat launch to place collected trash.

Volunteers should bring face coverings and gloves and wear sturdy boots or shoes.

ELECTIONS

Michael Polzin was re-elected as president, with Wurtz selected to remain as treasurer. Joy Shuck was chosen as vice-president to finish the term of Shannon Johnson, who resigned and moved from the area. Debbie Page and Vicki Taylor were re-elected to the Board of Directors.

NEXT MEETING

The next FLANO meeting will be on Tuesday, November 10, at 6 p.m. inside the Visitor’s Center. Masks will be required, and attendance will be limited to 25.

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