An Ultimate Ribbon Cutting

Message From The Director

“The 15-acre lake, you know, the one at Keowee-Toxaway.”  As a field employee for over 20 years, I had heard of the 15-acre lake at Keowee-Toxaway State Park several times.  Through the years my family had stayed at the cabin on the park twice and although I even got vague directions there once, I had never seen the lake.  It was not in the developed part of the park but down a dirt road and only accessed by a few regulars who would go there to fish.  Several years ago as a regional chief, I started to hear about development plans for this area and kept hearing it come up in larger leadership meetings.  I was always intrigued, but never had the chance to see the site or get very involved.  Until a little over a year ago, it was a complete mystery to me.  

This past year I have had the opportunity to graduate from intrigue to involvement, and after years of work from many dedicated people, I had the honor of participating in a ribbon cutting at the newest addition to Keowee-Toxaway State Park.  It was a beautiful Saturday morning when we gathered with officials from Duke Energy, honored guests, partners and the ultimate group of park supporters, as we officially opened Camp Cedar Creek at Keowee-Toxaway State Park.  The new group camp is set next to the once mysterious 15-acre lake at Keowee-Toxaway. Through a continuing partnership with Duke Energy, as part of their FERC re-licensing agreement, the lake was leased to the park long-term and the group camp was developed.  With a fishing pier, picnic shelters, outdoor fire pits, a lakeside conference building, campsites, restrooms, a bathhouse and 3 barracks-style log cabins, the camp can accommodate many large groups overnight and give them the space they need to enjoy the many things the park and the area have to offer.  From clinics on outdoor skills to a large group weekend getaway, we look forward to seeing how people find ways to make this new amenity their own.

As we began to plan for the unveiling of this new facility, we thought what better way to celebrate this accomplishment than to invite our Ultimate Outsiders to experience it first. We invited all of our current Outsiders to answer the call and come play, and in some cases even stay, with us as we celebrated the grand opening.  These experienced park visitors had the opportunity to fish, paddle all sorts of boats around the lake, play games and enjoy some hot dogs and s’mores over the fire.  It was incredible to have these park experts be our first guests, and give us ideas to make experiences here and elsewhere better for all.  Each of these ultimate park visitors has completed at least one tour of all 47 parks, collecting stamps and memories along the way.  As we shared the day with them we got to hear about their adventures around parks, their favorite sites, favorite staff and funny travel experiences. As they shared with us and each other it was fun to see the different park t-shirts, hats and bags as well as all the Ultimate Outsider gear all over the place. It was truly a gathering of family. 

Thanks to all that helped make this vision a reality and to all who will now take this reality and create a unique and wonderful experience for visitors to enjoy.  Whether you are an Ultimate Outsider or just beginning to explore parks, I hope you have the opportunity to participate in a program or event at our newest addition.