This past weekend, I had the opportunity to camp at Grayson Highlands State Park in Virginia. Since I was also there in April, this is not a new to me park, but one I highly recommend you visit. There are not many places where you go for a hike and meet wild ponies on the trail.
On my way back through Surry County, I saw a sign for Fisher River Park located in Dobson and hung a right to find it. Without any prior research, I didn’t know what to expect when I arrived and was pleasantly surprised. This park was dedicated in 2001 and has a plethora of activities available. As I traveled the road to the park I saw signs directing me to the amphitheater
and the 6.5 miles of mountain bike trails. A little further down the road was the practice field and the entrance I took to the park. Here I found several baseball/softball fields, a soccer/multipurpose field, several large picnic shelters which were both being used and even a small picnic table/shelter with a grill. The park also has a walking trail, 2 playgrounds, horseshoe pits and an outdoor basketball court.
What I noticed while rambling around the park, was most everything was sponsored or supported. I chatted with Surry County P&R Director Daniel White to find out more. They have a gift catalog program created a number of years ago and is being revamped to reflect current costs and pricing for naming rights. Over the years, a number of businesses, community groups and families have sponsored items in the park. These donations have helped towards applying for matching grants.
While talking to Daniel, I found out the department has a unique partnership with the Wild Turkey Federation to offer the Women in Outdoors program. This is a female-focused outdoor skills training program. In the past they have taught kayaking and skeet shooting.
A plaque I found on the wall at the concession stand reads, “A special thanks to all Recreation Advisory Committee members past, present and future. Together we can make a difference!”. What an innovative way to recruit future advisory committee members.
The park is 135 acres with some undeveloped acres. The property has been owned by the county since 1870. Its original intent was the “poor farm” - a place where those with no place to live and without jobs could live, work and earn their way towards having those things. The old farm house is still on the property. Fisher River Park was the vision of a county commissioner and advisory board members to create a place for recreational opportunities for Surry County residents and travelers like myself passing through.
For more information on Fisher River Park visit http://www.co.surry.nc.us/departments/(k_through_z)/park_and_recreation/fisher_river_park/index.php