Land deal could bring more water access to Mayo River

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ROCKINGHAM COUNTY, N.C. — People who love the great outdoors, including Jan Bellard, try to take advantage of places like the Mayo River State Park on summer afternoons.

“It has so many opportunities for families and people wanting to be outdoors,” Bellard said.

Her dirtied-up shoes are fresh from a run on one of the parks many trails, and more options for recreation could be had just around the river bend.

“It’s just gonna amplify the recreational benefits of the county, it’s gonna be great for everybody,” said Executive Director of the Piedmont Land Conservancy Kevin Redding.

Redding’s group is celebrating a milestone, announcing a major buyout of more than 350 acres of land along the Mayo River. It’s thanks to a $1.1 million grant from Duke Energy.

“We believe that every day that we can demonstrate trust in the community, we can demonstrate that we are committed to this region and the people who live here,” said Duke Energy spokesperson Jeff Brooks.

The purchase is one example of how the energy company is trying to make up for the coal ash spill that impacted the northern Triad’s waterways.

The goal is to join the land with the current Mayo River State Park, to give more access to folks trying to enjoy the water. Redding says that transition should happen within the next year.

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