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50 at 50 | December 29

Posted By MICHELLE WELLS, NC RECREATION & PARK ASSN, Thursday, December 28, 2017
With the end of the year quickly approaching and the high temps in the 20’s, I ventured out to Holly Springs located in Southern Wake County for a visit to Bass Lake Park. I had heard about the park, but this was my first visit. Even though the temps were chilly, I was glad to see that I wasn’t the only one enjoying the park.

The focal point of the park is the 54-acre lake. In the last 1800s, a grist mill stood on the property until it collapsed during a storm in 1949. The dam burst in 1996 during Hurricane Fran and the lake was drained dry. In 1999, the Town acquired the property and began a lake restoration project. Bass Lake Park was completed in 2004 and offers a variety of opportunities to visitors.

In addition to the trails, the park has a conference center with a unique beach-house feel. This facility is available for rent parties, conferences, and weddings. There is also a North Carolina Environmental Education Center offering native animal exhibits, a reference library, and friendly and knowledgeable staff. I looked around but didn’t linger too long when I realized there were several snakes on display. The staff was testing games for an upcoming Nerf fight they will be hosting and it was interesting to chat with them about their plans.

The park is home to many species of native plants and animals and through a partnership the NC Community Fishing Lake Program stocks the lake with catfish, but fisherman will also find bass, bream, and crappie. If you don’t have a pole, there is also a free tackle loaner program. I walked along the 2-mile natural surface trail that borders the lake and connects with other Holly Springs Parks & Recreation greenways. Early in the walk, I came upon 2 ducks. They were sitting so still at first I thought they were decoys. In the woods along the lake, I noticed 2 very large boxes with big openings. When I circled back to the environmental education center, I found out they are owl boxes. It was in that same area that I scared up a hawk who flew off to a nearby branch.

With lots of wildlife, educational exhibits, enjoyable trails and the opportunity to rent a canoe when warmer weather returns, I’ll be making plans for another visit to explore the park from the water as well. For more information on Bass Lake Park, visit https://www.hollyspringsnc.us/320/Bass-Lake-Park

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Tags:  50at50  environmental education  holly springs  parks  Recreation 

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