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There's no charge to get into county's new park

By Jessie Burchette

Salisbury Post

Admission to Rowan County’s newest park will be free of charge.

The Rowan Parks and Recreation Commission has changed its mind about charging for admission to Dunn’s Mountain Nature and Historic Preserve.

In October, the board approved a request from retiring Parks Director Jim Foltz to charge a $1 fee for adults and 50 cents for children.

The recommendation was forwarded to the Rowan County Board of Commissioners for approval, but commissioners haven’t taken up the issue.

That request will now be withdrawn.

The Parks Commission has unanimously approved a recommendation from its property committee to drop the fee.

If the fee had been approved by the Board of Commissioners, it would have been the first admission fee to any of the county parks.

At Dan Nicholas Park, there is a $1 admission fee for Rowan Wildlife Adventures, but no fee for admission to the park.

Newly appointed Parks Director Don Bringle said the request for the admission charge at Dunn’s Mountain could surface again if the numbers of people visiting the park increase substantially.

Currently, the park is open only one weekend each month. Notices of the opening will be in the Post and on the park’s Web site.

Bringle said the park will be open more starting in April.

At this point, the operations will depend heavily on volunteers.

Bringle said the operations require three volunteers and one paid staffer to drive the shuttle bus.

Additional volunteers and additional staffers will likely be needed when the park opens for extended periods.

The current county budget provides minimal funding for personnel.

Bringle said a donation box will be placed at the park for anyone who wants to make a donation. And a sign-up book is available for volunteers.

Some additional work is planned at the park, including paving at the top and nearby restrooms to comply with the American Disabilities Act.

After a shakedown period for the park’s operations, Bringle said access to additional areas of the mountain may be added through supervised tours.

Because of dangers and liability issues, Bringle said the access has to be controlled and restricted.

Extensive fencing channels visitors to the top of the mountain and the observation deck and back down.

Some visitors have asked about having picnics on the mountain, recreating memories from decades ago.

“We have benches at the observation deck,” said

Bringle, adding that picnic tables aren’t in the plans.

He cited concerns about trash and incessant winds that could scatter debris across the mountain.

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