SESSION LAW 2017-177




AN ACT to authorize the addition of BOB'S CREEK STATE NATURAL AREA, WARWICK MILL BAY STATE NATURAL AREA, AND SALMON CREEK STATE NATURAL AREA to the state parks system, as recommended by the Department of Natural and Cultural resources, and to direct the department to study the establishment of a state park on the black river.


Whereas, Section 5 of Article XIV of the North Carolina Constitution states that it shall be a proper function of the State of North Carolina to acquire and preserve park, recreational, and scenic areas and, in every other appropriate way, to preserve as a part of the common heritage of this State its open lands and places of beauty; and

Whereas, the General Assembly enacted the State Parks Act in 1987, declaring that the State of North Carolina offers unique archaeological, geological, biological, scenic, and recreational resources, and that such resources are part of the heritage of the people of the State to be preserved and managed by those people for their use and for the use of their visitors and descendants; and

Whereas, the Bob's Creek area in McDowell County is significant for its scenic beauty, high‑quality natural communities, rare and unusual natural features, and opportunities for natural resource preservation, outdoor recreation, and regional trail connections; and

Whereas, Warwick Mill Bay in Robeson County is a large Carolina Bay with one of the State's largest inland heronries, providing habitat for herons, egrets, moorhens, anhingas, ibises, wood storks, alligators, and many other species of wildlife and plants, and preservation of Warwick Mill Bay would protect an important ecological and scientific resource for future North Carolinians; and

Whereas, the Salmon Creek area in Bertie County is ecologically significant for its high‑quality natural communities and also contains important prehistoric and historic archaeological sites offering opportunities for important archaeological discoveries, including an Indian occupation site containing evidence of late 16th or early 17th century English presence; Now, therefore,


The General Assembly of North Carolina enacts:


SECTION 1.  The General Assembly authorizes the Department of Natural and Cultural Resources to add Bob's Creek State Natural Area, Warwick Mill Bay State Natural Area, and Salmon Creek State Natural Area to the State Parks System as provided in G.S. 143B‑135.54(b).

SECTION 2.  The State may receive donations of appropriate land and may purchase other needed lands for Bob's Creek State Natural Area, Warwick Mill Bay State Natural Area, and Salmon Creek State Natural Area with existing funds in the Clean Water Management Trust Fund, the Parks and Recreation Trust Fund, the federal Land and Water Trust Fund, and other available sources of funding.

SECTION 3.  The Division of Parks and Recreation of the Department of Natural and Cultural Resources shall study the feasibility and the desirability of acquiring land and establishing a State Park on the Black River. The study shall include public input and shall estimate the cost of developing the proposed park. In addition, the study shall include an assessment of actions the State can take to improve the navigability of the Black River. The Division shall report its findings and recommendations, including any legislative proposals, to the Joint Legislative Oversight Committee on Agriculture and Natural and Economic Resources on or before March 1, 2018.

SECTION 4.  This act is effective when it becomes law.

In the General Assembly read three times and ratified this the 29th day of June, 2017.



                                                                    s/  Daniel J. Forest

                                                                         President of the Senate



                                                                    s/  Tim Moore

                                                                         Speaker of the House of Representatives



                                                                    s/  Roy Cooper




Approved 10:30 a.m. this 25th day of July, 2017