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Get Your Head Wet at Valle Crucis Community Park; American Fisheries Grant Promotes Aquatic Exploration

Valle Crucis Community Park will offer masks and snorkels for visitors to explore local waterways this summer, thanks to a grant from the North Carolina Chapter of the American Fisheries Society. The snorkels were provided by Two World Divers of Boone, and will be available for checkout from the park office.

According to Kevin Hining, Northern Mountain Education Specialist with the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission, “The snorkels will provide an excellent opportunity for park visitors to better explore the many unique aquatic critters in the Watauga River.” Snorkel users should exercise caution when moving rocks or other aquatic habitat so as not to disturb these vital ecosystems. “Moving too many rocks can change the environment in ways that could potentially harm delicate species such as salamanders and insect larvae. Carefully turning over rocks to see what lies beneath is the goal,” according to Andy Hill, Watauga Riverkeeper and Valle Crucis Community Park Board Member.  

This summer, the park’s environmental education programming will use the snorkels for educational exploration. Events will be held weekly from early June through mid-August, and will cover a wide range of environmental topics. Environmental education events will be posted on the park’s online calendar at www.vallecrucispark.org/calendar and on the park’s Facebook page.

In addition to the snorkels, park visitors can check out wildlife exploration backpacks, which include binoculars, field guides, and activities. Adventure and learning awaits at Valle Crucis Community Park!

About the Valle Crucis Community Park

The Valle Crucis Community Park is a 28-acre recreation destination for High Country residents and visitors to the area. The park is open year-round and provides space for a variety of outdoor activities, including picnicking, walking, running, fishing, and birding. The park’s mission is to provide a safe and peaceful recreation resource and gathering space for our community, preserve open space, and educate our visitors about natural resources and the importance of protecting them for future generations. Valle Crucis Community Park is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization and a certified North Carolina Environmental Education Center.

If you would like more information about this topic, please contact Caroline Gandy at 828-963-9239 or email at caroline@vallecrucispark.org.