A new state park will open Monday near Fort Bragg, giving people a chance to hike and fish on land once owned by the Rockefeller family.
Carvers Creek State Park covers 4,332 acres in two noncontiguous tracts north of Spring Lake. The smaller of the two the 1,420-acre Long Valley Farm on the Cumberland-Harnett county line opens with temporary facilities.
Long Valley Farm belonged to James Stillman Rockefeller, a grandnephew of Standard Oil founder John D. Rockefeller and a New York banker. He acquired the property in 1937 and lived there year-round while serving in the Airborne Command at nearby Fort Bragg during World War II.
When Rockefeller died in 2004, at 102, he left the farm to The Nature Conservancy, which eventually transferred the property to the state parks system and helped acquire other land for the park.
Rockefellers home, built in 1939, is on the National Register of Historic Places and overlooks a 100-acre lake with a cedar swamp at one end. There also are stands of longleaf pine and endangered red-cockaded woodpeckers, fox squirrels and carnivorous pitcher plants.
Its really a mixture of Southeast North Carolina country estate and some very pristine land, said Charlie Peek, spokesman for the Division of Parks and Recreation. Some of the land was in agriculture use going back to the early 1800s, and some of it has never been touched.
Peek said there is no timetable for developing and opening the larger of the two parcels that will make up the park. The 2,912-acre Sandhills area off Johnson Farm Road eventually will be the site of a visitors center and a campground, though much of the property will be preserved in its natural state.
The parks master plan also envisions another section on the Cape Fear River, but there are no firm plans for acquiring that property. Peek said the state plans to work with the city of Fayetteville to connect the sections of the park with trails.
Were hoping to work real closely with them to have a kind of unified recreation corridor over there, he said.
Carvers Creek is North Carolinas 36th state park and the eighth to open since 2001. The Long Valley Farm section will be open daily except for Christmas Day. Fall hours are 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.