ORRUM — Lumber River State Park on Saturday will host a bevy of outdoor activities and exhibitions as part of its fifth annual Lumber River Day event.
The park, which comprises 11,064 acres of land surrounding a 115-mile stretch of black water river, was declared a state landmark by the General Assembly in 1989. Lumber River Day began in 2010 as a way to celebrate its designation as North Carolina’s top 10 natural resources by conservation group Land for Tomorrow, and the event blossomed from there.
Park Superintendent Neill Lee is expecting at least 600 visitors to the park’s Princess Anne access point.
“I meet people who say it’s the first time they’ve been to the park. There are new folks that come each year from close by and far away,” Lee said. “It’s something fun to do in the middle of the summer when not a whole lot else is going on around here. It’s neat to see all the park has to offer and we’ll have a lot of fun things going on.”
The free event, which runs from 9 a.m. until 2 p.m., will feature fishing contests, live music, a watermelon seed-spitting contest, nature exhibits and canoe rides. Food vendors will be on site for those who want to purchase a meal or snack.
“We’ll have canoe rides going on all day, which is probably the most popular part of the event,” Lee said. “It’s a nice opportunity to get some exercise. Most folks love to canoe and a lot of people have never been paddling on the Lumber River. This gives them a chance to see how fun it is.”
Jim Caulder and the Bluegrass Misfits band will perform. A children’s “recycle regatta” will make use of recycled materials.
Lee said that park officials will also be out promoting the newly formed Friends of the Lumber River State Park organization. An independent chapter of Friends of State Parks, the group was established during a Park Advisory Committee meeting in April to help advocate for contributions and resources. Annual membership is $10.
“We’ll have a booth where people can learn about it and fill out applications,” Lee said. “It’s a great way to raise money for the park and there are a whole lot of really great benefits.”
So far, about 60 people have signed up for Friends of the Lumber River State Park. A meeting is expected to be called in the fall to elect officers and adopt bylaws for the group.
The park is located at 2819 Princess Ann Road in Orrum, off U.S. 74, about 40 minutes from Laurinburg. For information, call 910-628-4564, or visit ncparks.gov.