To have chosen Onslow Pines Park as a #DiscoverNCParks visit was easy for me; sort of like walking back in time while going forward.
Some forty years ago, I started my parks and recreation career at Onslow Pines Park. In 1978, fresh out of North Carolina Central University, with an undergraduate degree in parks and recreation administration, my first positions for pay were with Onslow County Parks and Recreation Department in trail construction during the week and gym supervision at a local school on Sunday afternoons. I, along with about a half dozen others, was hired under the Comprehensive Employment and Training Act, better known as CETA. CETA was enacted by Congress in 1973. Services funded via this program included on-the-job training, classroom training, and public service employment (footnote…CETA was later replaced in 1982 by the passage of the Job Training Partnership Act, commonly referred to as JTPA).
It had been some time since my last visit to Onslow Pines Park, located three miles south of Jacksonville, so my wife Jacki and I set out early one recent Saturday morning to take a look. One of the most striking features of the park is its well-developed entrance with ample parking and turnaround points to exit the park. To my surprise, the layout of the park hasn’t changed much over time, although it’s obvious that the park has been taken care of and added to by parks staff, as there are several new amenities, upgrades, and improvements. The trail from the 1970’s still exists, I was pleased to find, and now has a formal, dedicated name…the Bicentennial Trail. It’s a 4/10 mile nature walk with twenty interpretive stations as well as a 9/10 mile jogging/fitness trail. There are picnic areas and covered pavilions for family gatherings, lighted tennis and basketball courts for night play, combination baseball/softball/football/soccer fields, a little league baseball field, a playground for tots and a recently constructed inclusive playground, multi-purpose arenas for special events, and a senior citizen outdoor recreation area.
Onslow County has a lot to be proud of with Onslow Pines Park, as it has been sustained and continues to improve over time. When visiting relatives or friends in Onslow County/Jacksonville, take some time to visit or revisit Onslow Pines Park. For more information on Onslow Pines Park, visit https://www.onslowcountync.gov/facilities/facility/details/Onslow-Pines-Park-8