Sunday, September 4, 2011
McDowell Nature Preserve
Located in the far southwest corner of Mecklenburg County, McDowell Nature Preserve is as close to South Carolina as you can get in Mecklenburg County. The preserve contains 1108 acres bordering Lake Wylie. It is the oldest park in Mecklenburg County. The preserve includes seven miles of trails and has been left 90% undeveloped.
This is a fairly small park with lots picnic areas and excellent peers for fishing. The main attractions to this preserve are for the nature center, hiking trails, fishing peer, the many reservable picnic shelters and for the public boat access to Lake Wylie.
Because of the undeveloped nature of the preserve it is the perfect place to take a child on their first ever camping trip. The preserve is close to nature, yet still close enough to Charlotte that if the weather or the trip in general turn for the worst you can easily pack up and go home. The preserve includes 56 total campsites that can serve both RV's and tent camper's. The camping area include's 13 RV sites, 26 car-camping sites, 10 primitive camping sites, one cabin and six 9X12 foot Rent-a-Tents.
The campsites are all reservable as are some of the picnic shelters. On most weekends it is a good idea to make reservations in advance. The best place to reserve for a picnic or party is the picnic shelter on Copperhead Island. This shelter is located at the end of Soldier Road next to the public boat access. The best parts of this park to me are the fishing pier, the picnic shelters and the hiking trails. I enjoy the area most often for trail running and for an afternoon picnic with my wife.
The Nature Center at McDowell Nature Preserve is very active. It offers environmental education programs for scout troops, teachers, schools, and other organized groups. They participate in the special events Earth Day and International Migratory Bird Day. It includes an interpretive display observable most days of the week.
The next time you are looking for a place to go fishing, have a picnic, or just go for a leisurely stroll remember to go see McDowell Nature Preserve.
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