River Cleanup by Boat -2020

Three local organizations committed to protecting our natural resources joined forces to clean the Catawba River – by boat.

Volunteers with Catawba River Wildlife Coalition, Friends of the Valdese Rec (FVR) and Foothills Conservancy of North Carolina put in their boats, kayaks and canoes at the Valdese Water Plant. Armed with trash bags and grabbers, they set off to clean the shores of both the Burke County side and Caldwell County side of the river. By the time they reached Castle Bridge, the 15 volunteers had collected 15 bags of trash, a seat from a boat, car parts, and buckets. Three high school students from the new FVR Trail Blazers Club pitched in to learn the importance of keeping our water supply clean.

Participants: Amy Alexander, Jim Clark, Asa Clark, Kat Dial, Rachael Dial, Ted Carothers, Tom Troy, Alex Church, Zakk Heile, Brittany Watkins, Beth Heile, Eric Heile, Addison Poteat, Dave Mursch, Amy Voss

Porta John at VLP

Every feel like you need more time at Valdese Lakeside Park? But you need to use the restroom – so you leave.

Well, that is not a problem anymore! Farris Insurance has paid for a Porta John to be at the park through October. It is being cleaned every Wednesday.

Trail Blazers Club

Zakk Heile, Charter Member of the trail club for high school students overlooks property for Burke River Trail

In January, Friends of the Valdese Rec started building a sustainable trail at Valdese Lakeside Park. Volunteers learned there was a big difference between existing deer trails and the techniques used to build a lasting trail. A sustainable trail has minimal impact to the natural area, does not adversely affect wildlife, manages water flow and requires little long-term maintenance.

With Draughn High School students joining the trail building workdays, Beth Heile, FVR president, started exploring ways to get trail building classes into Burke County Schools. Continue reading

Burke River Trail – Foundation Laid

Burke River Trail Meeting Attendees: Doug Setzer – BCPS Director of Auxiliary Services, Wendi Craven – BCPS Board of Education, Averi Ritchie – WPCOG Planner, Larry Bragg – Natural Land Alliance, Representative Hugh Blackwell, Scott Carpenter – Deputy Burke County Manager, Doug Knight – Valdese Parks and Recreation Director, Shane Gardner – Principal DHS, Doug Hallyburton – Assistant Principal/Athletic Director. Not pictured: Beth Heile – President, Friends of the Valdese Rec

The foundation was laid today for the first section of the Burke River Trail – 4 miles from McGalliard Falls to Valdese Lakeside Park to Draughn High School to a private development. Continue reading

Stream Restoration

On May 6, Resource Institute visited McGalliard Falls Park and Valdese Lakeside Park. They are a stream/river restoration firm (spoke at a Catawba River Wildlife Coalition meeting) and want to help restore McGalliard Creek and the VLP kayak launch area. They are knowledgeable about various grant monies and will be able to match those with current grants and community donations. Getting them involved may slow down park construction – but it will make it better. Continue reading

Stock Donations

Friends of the Valdese Rec now accepts gifts of stock.

We have a brokerage account with First Citizens Investor Services. Contact us for more information.

McGalliard Falls History

In the early days, the Waldenses, who settled Valdese in 1893, enjoyed walking to the Falls on Sunday afternoon – in their church clothes – for a picnic of bread, cheese and fruit. Children would also swim in the area below the Falls.

In 1906, Fred Meytre built a watermill local farmers. Unfortunately, it was destroyed by a flood in 1916. The mill was rebuilt using a turbine and continued operating until 1941. Mr. Meytre was getting older and many workers were being called to serve in WWII. The mill was once again rebuilt in 1982 to get the water wheel turning. The wheel you see today was manufactured onsite to replace the one that was crushed by a tree that fell on the previous wheel in 2016. Continue reading

Trail Camera

Thanks to Ruth Fletcher Gage and Zakk Heile, we are getting a closer look at the wildlife at Valdese Lakeside Park. After Beth Heile commented that she could not get a picture of the otters at the park, Ruth suggested a wildlife camera and that she would fund it. Zakk is in charge of camera operations – camera use, set up, pulling video and pictures.

Several pictures of deer (even 5 at once) have been captured. The picture on the left of the deer is from a video of the deer seemingly checking out the camera.

The video of the Great Blue Heron eating a fish in the cove is incredible. Continue reading