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Parks are a good place to be - any time

By Alan Hodge

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What with many places such as libraries, museums, and other public venues closed right now, what are folks to do with their leisure time? One answer is to head out to a public park and enjoy the beautiful early spring weather.

Our area is blessed with an abundance of city and county parks offering plenty of fresh air, playground equipment for the kids, hiking and biking trails, picnic tables where you can enjoy your takeout food, and more. 

Belmont has two showplace parks- Stowe Park downtown and Kevin Loftin Riverfront Park on the Catawba River. Stowe Park has some great new playground equipment, a large picnic shelter as well as other picnic tables under shade trees. The park has public restrooms. There’s a paved walking path. Don’t forget to view the magnificent Spirit of the Fighting Yanks statue and pavilion while you’re there.

Kevin Loftin Riverfront Park has a sweeping view of the Catawba River. There’s an observation deck  with an osprey nest nearby. The park features several picnic shelters, a paved trail, playground equipment, and restrooms. Nearby is the boat ramp and fishing area associated with the park.

Other pocket parks in Belmont are Linford Park in North Belmont and Davis Park near Belmont Central Elementary. East Belmont has Gantt Park with soccer fields and Dwight Frady Field with a basketball court and swing set.

Mt. Holly’s main park is Tuckaseege Park. It’s also on the Catawba. It has ball fields, a trail, picnic shelter, and a nice view of the river. There’s a resident pair of osprey that have an active nest on a pole beside the ball fields. Mt. Holly also has a park on Dutchman’s Creek. 

In Stanley, the main park attraction is Harper Park on Blacksnake Road. This park features ball fields, a picnic shelter, and plenty of equipment for the kids. 

Cramerton’s main park, Goat Island, is still closed due to the floods last month, but the greenway alongside the South Fork River  is open as well as Riverside Park and Central Park. 

McAdenville has a paved greenway trail alongside the South Fork  as well as the ball field area behind the YMCA. Legacy Park off Mains St. has playground equipment and picnic tables.

Gaston County Parks has several facilities  in our area. Poston Park near Lowell is a wonderful place with biking and hiking trails, picnic shelters, ball fields, and a lake. North Belmont Park on Hickory Grove Rd. features a popular walking track, picnic shelter, restrooms, and ball fields. Also just off Hickory Grove  Rd. on Mountainview St. is South Fork River  Park. This  natural park offers wide hiking paths and views of the South Fork River featuring whitewater rapids. Fishing and birdwatching are popular activities at this park.

In Dallas, the main county park has a history heritage village, fishing pond, plenty of open space for walking, picnic tables, and playground equipment.

These are just a few of the free recreational  outlets close by that folks can enjoy, practice social distancing and improve their physical and mental outlook by enjoying the great outdoors not just during our current challenging situation but anytime.