April 2021
Closing Time Change
Beginning on 
Monday, April 19:

Harris Lake County Park will close at 8:30 p.m.

The New Hill parking area (1309 New Hill-Olive Chapel Rd.) on the American Tobacco Trail will close at 8:00 p.m. The restrooms at New Hill and White Oak will automatically lock at 7:45 p.m.

Upcoming Events
Smile More 5k will be taking place on Saturday, May 1 
from 8 a.m. - 1 p.m. 
There will be limited parking during this time, as well as runners utilizing the Peninsula Trail.

 Prescribed Burn of Womble Field

If conditions allow, we will be conducting a prescribed burn of our 
3-acre Womble field on Tuesday, 
April 27 from 1 - 4 p.m. Please follow any posted signage as portions of the Peninsula Trail will be closed. 

Thank you for your cooperation!

Restrooms at Harris Lake County Park Closed For Repairs
Unfortunately, the restrooms continue to be closed until further notice while extensive repairs are made. Please utilize the temporary ADA accessible facilities located near the Longleaf and Cypress Shelters during this time. We apologize for this inconvenience!

April is "I Heart Parks" month! Tell us why you love Wake County parks by sharing your thoughts using this link:

Thank you very much in advance!

Sensational Staff Spotlight

Jessica Cawley
Park Aide of Programs
Please welcome Jessica Cawley as our new Park Aide of Programs! Jessica is already busy working on several projects and we are so excited to have her on board!

Q: How long have you worked for Wake County Parks?
A: I have worked for Wake County Parks since November 2019 when I started as a Park Aide at Green Hills County Park. I just started working at HLCP and the ATT in February.

Q: What is your favorite part of working at HLCP and the ATT?
A: My favorite part is how much I am able to learn from my coworkers. Everyone at Harris knows so much about wildlife, plants, ecology, land management, and more. I feel so lucky to be here learning something new every day, especially with people that are so excited to share and collaborate.

Q: What is your favorite movie?
A: My favorite movie is Howl's Moving Castle, and the book is awesome as well! Pretty much all Studio Ghibli movies are beautiful and interesting in their own ways.

Q: Who or what influenced you to work in this field?
A: Growing up I spent a ton of time exploring parks and the outdoors with my family. When deciding on a career path, I wanted to do something where I could really make a positive impact, so I combined my love for nature and animals and got a degree in wildlife and conservation biology. Learning how important urban wildlife management is becoming, as well as experiencing myself how influential parks are in getting people invested in conservation made me feel like I could be a part of something really significant by working in parks.

Q: What is your favorite plant or animal at HLCP or the ATT?
A: This is kind of a boring answer, but I love vultures! They are the often-forgotten helpers of the environment, cleaning up roadkill and reducing the spread of disease. I get more excited seeing marbled salamanders or northern flickers, but I've always had a soft spot for vultures.

When you visit Wake County parks and preserves, please comply with guidelines set forth by the state to stop the spread of COVID-19:

- Gathering with no more than 50 people
-Maintaining physical distance of at least six feet from another person
- Wearing a mask or cloth face covering when in public and unable to adhere to social distancing guidelines. 

Shelter rentals and park use agreements are available. 
Our playgrounds are open. Visitors are encouraged to maintain physical distance, wear masks or cloth face coverings, and wash or sanitize their hands often. Capacity limits are posted near each playground.

The following restrictions will remain in place through at least 
April 30:

- Park centers are closed.
- Programs and special events are cancelled. 
-Special operations such as boat rentals, group camping, and lodge rental are not available.

Please visit our website for the most 
up-to-date information as we follow a phased reopening plan. 

Recycling Reminders

Unfortunately, most cups are not recyclable and must be placed in the trash. Other single-use plastics like clamshell containers, to-go containers, and plastic utensils are also not recyclable. And remember, when in doubt, throw it out!

Facebook and Instagram:

Wild Wednesday Virtual 
Public Program Series!

Our program team is pleased to offer virtual program opportunities for the public. Virtual public programs will be interactive, including games, stories, activities, and/or live specimens with suggestions for further enrichment and an invitation to explore the outdoors. Zoom meeting links and other pertinent information provided upon registration.

Beaks, Tweets, Feathers, 
and Feet
April 14; 11 - 11:30 a.m. 
Let's learn what makes birds different from other animals. Through fun birding activities and specimen examination, we'll identify some of our common birds by the sounds they make as well as some of the other things that make them special. We will discuss adaptations as we virtually explore habitats in search of our feathered friends.

Register here for this program. 

Raptor Powers! 
Birds of Prey
April 28; 2 - 2:30 p.m.
Owls, hawks, and eagles are graceful, yet powerful birds of prey that have many special adaptations that help them to maintain their spot at the top of the food chain! Learn all about these adaptations and how to identify various raptors as we show off some of our local raptor species' special traits.

Register here for this program.
Self-Guided Activities to Enhance Your Park Experience!


We are excited to offer a new StoryWalk® each month! StoryWalk® combines the pleasure of reading a children's book with taking a nature walk. Laminated pages from a children's book are attached to signs installed along an outdoor path.
From Saturday, April 10 through Sunday, May 2, we are featuring The Dawn Chorus, written and illustrated by Suzanne Barton. This month's StoryWalk® can be found on the paved trails along the perimeter of the Educational Garden.
The StoryWalk® Project was created by Anne Ferguson of Montpelier, VT and developed in collaboration with the Kellogg-Hubbard Library. StoryWalk® is a registered service mark owned by Ms. Ferguson.
Put your navigational skills to the test on our orienteering course! Using a map and compass, try to quickly navigate your way through wooded areas and fields on our 
5 waypoint short course, or for more of a challenge, try our 16 waypoint long course. Each point has a rubbing, so try to collect them all! For more information, including a helpful brochure to get you started and printable course sheets, view our orienteering information here

Mobile Tours

We have three interpretive cell phone tours that you may access from the park or at home. Each tour introduces you to different aspects of nature or history at Harris Lake County Park. 

Mobile tours have also been developed for other park sites and you can view them all here

Check Out Our Virtual Group Programs!

Until we can gather again, Wake County Parks, Recreation and Open Space is excited to offer engaging virtual field trip programs for groups! Enjoy educational experiences on cultural and environmental topics from the safety and comfort of your own home. 
See what's available at all Wake County parks here.

 The following virtual programs 
for groups are available at Harris Lake County Park:
  • Busy Beavers: Adaptations for Survival 
  • Longleaf Legacy: In the Pines
  • History Mystery: What Happened at Harris Lake?
  • New! Snake Scales and Turtle Tails
  • New! Amphibians as Bioindicators
Our virtual field trips combine video and live sessions led by park educators. Each program lasts about 30 minutes and encourages students to think critically about the natural environment.
There is no fee for virtual field trips. Our virtual programs use Zoom or Google Meet. Each program includes an activity packet offered in both PDF and Google Classroom-ready formats, to digitally extend the program content.

Contact Amelia Williams, Assistant Park Manager of Education, at 
amelia.williams@wakegov.com or 919-387-4344 with questions or to schedule your free virtual experience!

Harris Lake County Park is now an ecoEXPLORE HotSpot!

We are thrilled to announce that Harris Lake County Park is now an ecoEXPLORE HotSpot! EcoEXPLORE (Experiences Promoting Learning Outdoors for Research and Education) is an initiative of the North Carolina Arboretum that encourages children in grades K-8 to connect with the outdoors and engage in citizen science. When participating in ecoEXPLORE, a family works to earn a variety of nature-themed badges and earns points that can be traded in for prizes by exploring their own neighborhoods or a local HotSpot. After signing up online, participants go outside to search for and photograph different plant and animal species and then share their observation online via their ecoEXPLORE profile. Data is reviewed by Arboretum staff and approved submissions are submitted to iNaturalist! We hope you will become an ecoEXPLORER and share your finds from the park! For more information on ecoEXPLORE, to sign up, and to find a HotSpot near you, visit: https://www.ecoexplore.net/

Nature Nook: Wildlife and Roads - 
Give 'Em a Brake!

Spring is here, and with that wildlife is on the move. We've included these two photos as an example of what you can see on our park road. The top photo is a Red Eft, the juvenile terrestrial stage of the Eastern Newt, and the bottom photo shows an Eastern Box Turtle just starting to cross. Both of these critters were photographed on rainy mornings, though at separate times. Please exercise caution and be alert whenever you are driving through the park, but especially after a rain as it encourages many animals to start moving around. 
Remember the speed limit within the park is 20 mph at all times.

The box turtle photo is "as found", so please note that they can resemble a rock or pine cone if you are not paying attention. 

Did you know that habitat fragmentation is one of the major threats to amphibian and reptile populations? With new construction comes roads which divide once large tracts of woods and other habitat into smaller sections, or fragments. Animals like box turtles, snakes, frogs, and salamanders that travel within their range to a breeding pond or to an area where they feed or hibernate then need to cross roads which were not previously there to reach those areas. Any time an animal has to cross a road it puts them in danger, and especially slower moving critters like reptiles and amphibians. "Herps", as they are known for short, also have a tendency to linger on black surfaces like asphalt roads because they are warm and allow them to soak up heat. 

The best thing you can do as more development is happening in our area is to pay attention to what may be crossing as you are driving. IF it is safe to pull over and do so, you can move an animal to the side of the road it was facing. It is best not to turn them around as they will still often try to go in their original direction.

Thank you for doing your part to keep wildlife safe, in the park and elsewhere!

(Photos by park staff)

Harris Lake County Park: 919-387-4342
email: harris.lake@wakegov.com

American Tobacco Trail: 919-387-2117
email: americantobaccotrail@wakegov.com