Annual Meeting:
Thursday, September 20th
Bynum Ruritan Club
28 Charlie Fields Rd
About Us

News from Friends of Lower Haw River State Natural Area!


Dear Friends,

Welcome to the first newsletter from the Friends of Lower Haw River State Natural Area, and thank you for your support and interest in this group! We invite you all to kick things off with us at our first Annual Meeting on Thursday, September 20th at 6:30pm at the Bynum Ruritan Club! Current members of Friends of the Lower Haw River SNA and the public are welcome to attend to learn more about this newly formed friends group and to get involved! 

Guest speaker Hillary Pace of the Chatham County Planning Department will present on components of Chatham County's Comprehensive Plan relevant to the Lower Haw River SNA, and we will host a facilitated discussion on the priorities and future activities of Friends of Lower Haw River SNA.

We hope to see you there! 
Reflections on the Haw

Why does anything have to change with the Lower Haw River State Natural Area? Why can’t it stay the way it is now? Those are questions I’ve heard recently, and those of us who visit this special place and enjoy its natural beauty can understand why anyone would ask. Part of me wishes it could remain the way it is now. But change is happening. More people are going to be living in this area – a lot more. And because of that, more people are going to want to share this special place. So what to do? Do we keep people out? Not likely. I believe the more effective path is to manage usage to mitigate potential damage to this ecosystem. How can we manage usage? By making it safer for people and safer for habitats through planning for sustainability. By doing things such as building designated State Parks’ trails in environmentally sustainable locations to guide people away from more sensitive habitat areas. By building pedestrian bridges over streams to avoid erosion to streambanks and damage to streambeds from makeshift crossings. By installing signage that informs the public of appropriate uses and educates them about what makes this special place worth conserving. One of my other favorite places in the state park system is Occoneechee Mountain State Natural Area outside Hillsborough. It has nature trails, a pond for fishing, some picnic tables and a restroom facility. If you have never visited Occoneechee Mountain, I encourage you to go there soon and see what one of the other State Natural Areas looks like. We can find a balance between protecting nature from people, and protecting nature for people. And with the increasing development, population, traffic, and stresses of everyday life that will come, it’s going to be more important than ever to have natural places close by where we can escape to recharge our batteries, and where natural habitats can still thrive.

- Gretchen Smith, President

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