Big plans for Pilot Mountain park

By Eva Winemiller -

PILOT MOUNTAIN — Pilot Mountain State Park Superintendent Matt Windsor recently announced several new projects for the upcoming years.

One project to open this spring, according to Windsor, is the Pilot Creek Trail. The trail is 3.4 miles long, one way from Pilot Mountain State Park.

The trail will begin at the main park gate and continue toward the downtown region of the town of Pilot Mountain.

“In the future we hope to connect the trail to the town’s greenway,” said Windsor.

In the meantime, the park has funding for a gravel parking space at the end of the trail, near Boyd Nelson Road.

“In the future we hope to add a small restroom building and water station,” said Windsor.

The Pilot Creek Trail is being used for kids programs, nature hikes and other various activities, according to Windsor and will be open to the public by spring.

According to Windsor, visitation has climbed from 58,000 visitors a year on the state park’s “birthday” year in 1968 to 770,000 visitors a year in 2016, increasing around 100,000 to 200,000 visitors every ten years.

Also, as part of the $2 billon Connect North Carolina State Bonds Act, passed in February of 2016, Pilot Mountain State Park is due to get a new visitor’s center.

The amount received from the statewide bond referendum for the State Park Improvements totals $4,481,850 million.

That amount will cover the visitors center, roadway realignment, parking and and other improvements associated with the project.

The new visitors center will be located on the left hand side of the road as you come in the front gate, off the road, according to Windsor.

“We will be building a road extension and a new parking area for it as well.”

In addition to the road extension and parking area, the park will be adding a roadabout entering the park.

“The roundabout will be able to direct traffic better when the park is overcapacity, which is often,” added Windsor.

However, the visitors center is still in the design stages and has not been approved by the state.

The project date is still up in the air, but according to Windsor the date is a moving target.

“We are hoping for sometime in 2019,” as the park’s 50th anniversary is coming up in April 2018.

By Eva Winemiller

Reach Eva Winemiller at (336) 415-4739 or on Twitter @ThePilotNC

Reach Eva Winemiller at (336) 415-4739 or on Twitter @ThePilotNC

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