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Outdoor Recreation in Charlotte NC-Nature Centers and Preserves

You can find many opportunities for outdoor recreation in Charlotte NC and its small towns.Tree  One of the best providers of recreational facilities and programs is the Mecklenburg County Parks and Recreation Department.  This department oversees a network of parks and nature preserves that are located throughout Mecklenburg County.  The mission of the Nature Preserve and Natural Resources Division is to protect the region's biodiversity and natural heritage by promoting open space preservation, conserving natural communities and fostering stewardship through environmental education and outdoor recreation.

Outdoor recreation in Charlotte includes six nature preserves.  A brief description of three of these county-run preserves follows.  These facilities have numerous programs for all ages.

Latta Plantation Nature Center and Preserve

The Latta Plantation Preserve is the largest in the parks system encompassing over 1300 acres on a peninsula jutting into Mountain Island Lake.  This preserve includes upland and bottom land forests and a prairie restoration project.  It has been designated as an important bird area due to the diversity of waterfowl that overwinter there.  The Nature Center has live animals and the Raptor Center is a rehabilitation center for birds of prey.  The Latta Plantation Equestrian Center offers horse back rides and horse shows.  Historic Latta Plantation is a living history farm and restored 19th century farmhouse.  Sixteen miles of trail wind through Latta Plantation Preserve.

McDowell Nature Center and Preserve

The McDowell Preserve has over a thousand acres with direct access to Lake Wylie.  It includes upland hardwood forest plus two grassland/shrubland prairies.  Canoeing, kayaking and fishing are popular activities at the preserve.  The preserve also has a 56-family campground with both tent and RV camping.

Reedy Creek Nature Center and Preserve

Reedy Creek is separated into Reedy Creek Park with fishing pond, picnic shelters and ballfields and Reedy Creek Preserve with over ten of trails in over 700 acres.  The ruins of the Robinson Rock House from the 1700s are located at the Reedy Creek Preserve.  The Reedy Creek Preserve protects a natural heritage site of woodlands more typical of the mountains.

Outdoor Recreation Programs at the Nature Centers and Preserves

The Mecklenburg Parks and Recreation Department publishes a catalog of programs available for outdoor recreation in these Charlotte NC preserves.  Examples of the programs follow:

  • Nature clubs for homeschoolers
  • Garden clubs for adults and youngsters
  • Bird and tree hikes
  • Geocaching and Segway hikes
  • Junior naturalist programs
  • Nature programs for parent-child interaction
  • Kayak tours

Learn more about living and playing in Charlotte NC and its small towns at www.CarolinaSmallTownLiving.com.

About the author:  Carol Fox of Allen Tate Realtors is a veteran agent who enjoys Charlotte's natural resources and recreational opportunities.

Copyright 2009.  Carol Fox.  *Outdoor Recreation in Charlotte NC-Nature Centers and Preserves*

Posted: Friday, March 13, 2009 3:03 PM by Carol Fox

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