JORDAN LAKE, NORTH CAROLINA
Spanning 21 square miles and nearly three counties, and smack-dab in the middle of North Carolina is the beautiful Jordan Lake. The reservoir and dam are two of the state’s most treasured and important resources; not only is the area a protected state park and popular recreation site, but it’s also tasked with flood and water quality control, and is responsible for supplying water to the capital metro area.
Jordan Lake’s history is an interesting one. Various cultures have called the area home for over ten centuries; both Revolutionary and Civil War troops marched through. But in the second half of the 20th century, big changes came. Twenty years after a particularly damaging tropical storm in 1945, the Army Corps of Engineers was handed the “New Hope Lake Project” (eventually renamed B. Everett Jordan Lake after the former Senator, who—little known fact—was eventually unseated by comedian Zack Galifianakis’s uncle). The Engineers were tasked with studying flood control and water resource needs in the area and as a result in the decade between 1973 and ‘83, the New Hope and Haw Rivers were dammed and flooded. Farming families were relocated; roads were rerouted or wholly covered by water. To this day, when the water is low enough, old roads and forgotten bridge parts create pseudo-sandbars for birds to sun themselves on.
Now a State Recreation Area, Jordan Lake’s shores are protected from development. At the south end is the impressive dam, where the surface can be calm or full of churning white caps, depending on the day. The past several years have seen a grassroots movement to clean up the scourge of litter plaguing Jordan Lake’s shores—a prime example of the place the area holds in the hearts of its residents. The bald eagle is the lake’s official animal, and the area is home to many other recognizable North American woodland animals. Visitors can fish, swim, sail, hike, hunt or camp. Boasting multiple boat ramps, canoe launches, two beaches, piers (including one that’s wheelchair-accessible), playgrounds, campgrounds, and a privately-owned marina, it’s one of the best places in the state to spend a day. This author, for one, is happy to call Jordan Lake home.
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Brittany Kearns is a Guide to North Carolina. An honorary Southerner, she was born in New Jersey, but now calls rural Chatham County home. She’s got a degree in anthropology, a love for documentary photography and takes film over digital any day. Follow her on Tumblr at thebeekearns.tumblr.com and check out her portfolio at BrittanyKearns.com.
Thanks to The American Guide for publishing my little ditty about Mama Lake.