Friends of Lower Haw River State Natural Area is an all-volunteer group dedicated to supporting the Lower Haw River State Natural Area in Chatham County, NC. We are a local chapter of the statewide nonprofit North Carolina Friends of State Parks, Inc.
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About the Lower Haw River State Natural Area
NC State Parks owns about 1,025 acres along both sides of the Haw River in Chatham County, known as the Lower Haw River State Natural Area. It stretches from above US 15-501 near Bynum to below US 64 where it adjoins the Jordan Lake State Recreation Area. The NC Natural Heritage Program rates this natural area as Exceptional for aquatic habitat, and Very High for habitats and riverbank lands. It includes habitat for endangered species and beautiful rugged scenery. The Lower Haw River State Natural Area was added to the NC State Parks System in June 2004 as part of the "New Parks for a New Century" initiative. The property was formerly part of Duke University's Duke Forest Program. In 2006, State Parks added two acquisitions above the Bynum Dam at US 15-501, including the 82-acre Pegg Tract on the east side of the Haw River and the 40-acre Stevens Tract on the west side of the Haw River. An additional acquisition of the 7-acre Bynum Mill Tract was added in 2007.
NC State Parks established State Natural Areas (SNA) as a different type of unit within the state park system. State Natural Areas focus on conservation and preservation of special places. Unlike state parks, facilities are limited in state natural areas, making them ideal places for low impact activities such as birding, nature photography, fishing, hiking, and paddling.