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The NC Recre8'er - is the Blog for NC Recreation and Parks Professionals. We will feature posts from NCRPA members and staff about all the latest news, insights and tips in our field and around the state. Topics will include but are not limited to: Health and Wellness, Outdoor Recreation, Athletics, Advocacy, Aquatics, Therapeutic Recreation, Special Events, Marketing, Parks and Greenways, Cultural Resources and more! If you are interested in being a guest blogger please contact Matt at NCRPA or 919-832-5868. The opinions of The NC Recre8'er (NCRPA) blog contributors don't necessarily reflect the editorial position of North Carolina Recreation and Park Association as a whole.


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Discover NC Parks - Lake Johnson, Raleigh

Posted By Coult Culler, Intern at NCRPA, Friday, August 3, 2018
Updated: Thursday, August 2, 2018
Choosing my #DiscoverNCParks visit was not a very hard choice. I have lived in Raleigh for about five years now and since moving here I have fallen in love with a local park named Lake Johnson Park. I live within walking distance of this wonderful site, which makes it very easy for me to go for a run or just have a nice quiet place to escape. Offering many amenities and resources to the public, Lake Johnson Park is a great place for anyone!

Recently I decided to go for a run, which I haven't done in a while, but I am glad I did. It was around 7:30 pm when I got to the lake, and it was beautiful. It was not very hot and the humidity level was down. I started my run on the west side of the lake where there is no pavement; the trails are made up of wood chips and other natural materials that have been recycled to give the trails more of a natural appearance. The West Loop Trail is roughly 1.6 miles long. I always start on the west side of the lake because there is an elevated ridge that looks over the lake, and it is a great spot to stop and catch your breath. For me, it is a spot to stop and decompress while taking in the landscape surrounding me. Continuing on the trail, the West Loop crosses Avent Ferry Road and becomes the paved East Loop. The East Loop is about 2.8 miles that includes a bridge that crosses the lake as well as a section that goes over the dam. At the dam, you usually see people fishing, playing with their pets, and others taking in the view. Continuing on the East Loop is a great way to end your run or walk. Going through the old trees and seeing wildlife, all while being about 20 yards from the lake. The end of the trail brings you right back to the parking lot, which is very convenient for people who drove. That day I didn't mind having to walk back to the house because it was just so nice out.

Lake Johnson offers more than just trails; you are able to use any of the shelters for gatherings, rent paddle boats, go fishing off the bridge or dam, participate in fitness classes, and more. I highly recommend taking the time to discover what Lake Johnson Park has to offer. Even if you do not live in the City of Raleigh, take a couple hours on a weekend and get out there! I hope this inspires you to discover Lake Johnson or any other park that may be near you.

For more information on Lake Johnson Park, visit

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Tags:  DiscoverNCParks  greenways  parks  Raleigh  Recreation 

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50 at 50 - July 21

Posted By MICHELLE WELLS, NC RECREATION & PARK ASSN, Friday, July 21, 2017
Updated: Wednesday, July 19, 2017
This week, I stayed very close to home and explored a park here in Raleigh. With over 200 parks to select from and so many I had already visited, I went to the Raleigh Parks, Recreation Cultural Resources website for assistance and what I found was a very cool park finder tool. The tool let me search based on location, activity, or park name. After a little reading, I selected Roanoke Park for a visit. Located at 1500 Cherokee Drive, this park is not far from downtown Raleigh. This is a 1.6-acre park that I can best describe as shaped like a funnel. The far end of the park is a triangular grassy field with volleyball net for open play. Next, there was a small picnic shelter with 1 table and a grill. Then a wooden boardwalk leads to a narrow section that has the playground and basketball court. This park is surrounded by neighborhood streets on all sides.

When I arrived, I was impressed by several things. First, there was no parking lot, just on-street parking. This suggests to me that many of the users either walk or ride a bike to the park. Another interesting thing I noticed was that in addition to the traditional playground equipment and a basketball court, there were numerous wheeled toys - scooters, big wheels, tricycles, etc. These toys didn’t look like they had been provided by Raleigh Parks, Recreation & Cultural Resources. A lady who was conducting a children’s art class at a nearby business came to the park with 7-10 children in tow. I asked her about the toys, and she said people bring/leave them at the park when their kids out grow them. She used to bring her son there 20 years ago, and it was the same way then. There were also 4 basketballs near the basketball court as well.

After a little more looking, I found a sign addressing the toys. The playground is designed for children ages 2-12. Toy play is allowed in designated areas only, and they are asked to only play with the toys provided. They also are asked to inspect toys prior to use and advised not to play with broken or damaged toys. Finally, children are encouraged to share toys and return them to their storage areas. For many reasons, I thought this was a neat idea for sharing toys in a neighborhood. Then I put on my park and recreation professional hat and thought there have to be concerns with random toys being left or taken from the park. I reached out to Kathy Capps, Manager of Learning Development and Risk Management with the department, to find out more.

This is a unique programming opportunity. Raleigh Parks, Recreation & Cultural Resources has a Toy Play Agreement with the neighborhood that outlines what the city and the neighborhood will both do in regards to management and maintenance of the toys. This is a perfect example of a good community partnership - the idea came from the neighborhood, and both parties have taken steps to make sure it continues to be viable for the community. Unique indeed!

While the big wheel and scooter were too small for me to enjoy, I did spy four basketballs near the court, and one of them fit my hand just fine. I couldn’t resist making a couple of quick baskets before leaving. I’m thinking this might be a good place for the NCRPA staff to square off in a game of horse!

For more information on Roanoke Park, visit

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Tags:  50at50  parks  partnerships  Raleigh  recreation 

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