Duke Energy to close Pee Dee access areas for upgrades


Staff report



Daily Journal file photo The east boat ramp at Blewett Falls Lake will close Aug. 7 and the entire site will close after Labor Day for improvements.


LILESVILLE — Folks who frequent two local Pee Dee River Access areas will soon have to make alternate plans.

Duke Energy announced Monday that, in collaboration with the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission, it will temporarily close the east boat ramp at the Pee Dee Access Area on Blewett Falls Lake “to facilitate work for site recreation enhancements.

The ramp will close beginning the week of Aug. 7. While visitors may still continue to launch boats from the north boat ramp, it too will close after Labor Day and the entire site will reopen by April 2018, company officials said in a press release.

Improvements to the site include:

• accessible picnic facilities;

•replacing the boat ramps;

• a designated canoe/kayak launch area;

• expanded and paved parking;

• two accessible restrooms;

• courtesy docks; and

• updated public information signs, including a new kiosk.

While Blewett Falls is closed, company officials say visitors may launch boats at the Grassy Island Access Area, located approximately 17 miles away at 2356 Grassy Island Road in Ellerbe, N.C.

“These improvements are part of ongoing efforts by Duke Energy to ensure quality access areas are available for recreational use on our lakes,” said John Crutchfield, director of Duke Energy’s public safety and recreation strategy planning services.

The company is also set to begin work this week on upgrades to the Lilly’s Bridge Access Area on Lake Tillery.

Improvements there will be similar and include:

• adding accessible picnic facilities;

replacement of the boat ramps;

• courtesy docks;

• expanded paved parking;

• an accessible restroom; and

• updated public information signs, including a new kiosk.

During this closure, visitors may launch boats at the Swift Island Access Area, located approximately six miles away at 4917 N.C. Highway 24/27 in Mount Gilead, or Norwood Access Area at 307-a Lakeshore Dr. in Norwood, approximately 11 miles away.

Work at the Lilly’s Bridge Access Area is scheduled to be complete by January 2018, depending on weather conditions.

In May, Duke Energy announced it had completed construction of the new Clarks Creek Access Area and improvements to the Tillery Tailrace Fishing Trail at the Tillery Hydroelectric Plant on the Pee Dee River In Montgomery County.

The Grassy Island Access area was closed last October and re-opened in late February. However, less than two weeks later, the site was vandalized with the words “F—- USA” in black spray paint.

Daily Journal file photo
The east boat ramp at Blewett Falls Lake will close Aug. 7 and the entire site will close after Labor Day for improvements.
http://www.yourdailyjournal.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/web1_Blewettfallslake.jpgDaily Journal file photo
The east boat ramp at Blewett Falls Lake will close Aug. 7 and the entire site will close after Labor Day for improvements.

Staff report

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