North Carolina State Parks Collection Unveiled at NC Digital Collections

In celebration of the 100th anniversary of North Carolina’s state parks system, the State Library and State Archives have partnered with the Division of Parks and Recreation to create the North Carolina State Parks Collection. The end result of this collaborative project will feature materials from all three participating institutions that have been digitized and made available at North Carolina Digital Collections.

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Children viewing scenery at Hanging Rock State Park, circa 1956. North Carolina State Parks Collection, NC Digital Collections.

To date, the N.C. Division of Parks and Recreation has contributed well over 400 digital images to the collection ranging from sepia-toned photographic prints of early surveys on Mount Mitchell in 1915, to vibrantly-colored digital photos taken by park rangers and visitors within the last few years. The subjects of the images are also widely varied: from the natural beauty of mountains, rivers, lakes, sand dunes, plants, and animals, to nostalgic scenes of camp sites, trails, picnics, monuments, swimming beaches, and the construction of park roads and buildings. These images, selected by state parks personnel, represent only a fraction of their extensive archive of historical and informational photographs. Additional images will be added periodically over the next few months.

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Visitors at Sand Dunes, Jockey’s Ridge State Park. North Carolina State Parks Collection, NC Digital Collections.

As their contribution, the State Library has digitized selections from the North Carolina State Documents Collection that were published by, or pertain to, the N.C. Division of Parks and Recreation and North Carolina’s state parks. This selection of material was produced from the 1950s to the early 2000s, and includes promotional and informational booklets, management and development plans, and park histories.

At the State Archives, we have been indexing seven decades (1920s through early 1980s) of records from the N.C. Division of Parks and Recreation that have been permanently transferred into our custody (search our online MARS catalog for more information on this record group). During this process, we have been selecting a broad range of materials to digitize and add to the North Carolina State Parks Collection at NC Digital Collections. We hope that our additions will help to provide greater context to the images and publications that are currently available by highlighting the “behind-the-scenes” work that goes into planning, maintaining, and improving the state parks system. This material will include correspondence, reports, studies, photographs, surveys, and projects, with particular focuses on public and community input and environmental preservation.

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Family picnicking at Jones Lake State Park, circa 1950. North Carolina State Parks Collection, NC Digital Collections.

For more historical information about the first 100 years of the N.C. State Parks System please visit these amazing and new NCpedia pages developed by the State Library, in conjunction with the Division of Parks and Recreation, to coincide with the state parks centennial celebration:

Additionally, the North Carolina State Parks System is highlighting all of these collaborative projects on their centennial webpage: http://www.ncparks.gov/100/explore-century-of-park-history

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