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Mountain Island Lake: The Chosen Place

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Mountain Island Lake is one of the eleven lakes of the Catawba River.

It could become part of Mecklenburg County’s first canoe trail, according to Bruce Henderson. Mr. Henderson is a reporter for the Charlotte Observer in North Carolina.

He writes that, “A former park on the shores of Mountain Island Lake could become part of Mecklenburg County’s first canoe trail.

There are many reasons why Mountain Island Lake is the perfect choice for a canoe trail. The majority of them have to do with its size, location, relative seclusion and breathtaking beauty in a seemingly undisturbed natural environment.

According to author Diana Milks, it is about one tenth of its closes neighbor Lake Norman. The shores of Mountain Island Lake are mostly home to wildlife refuges and nature preserves.

Two public access points offer boating and water sports to residents and visitors

It is in close proximity to Charlotte, Mecklenburg County, Mount Holly, Gastonia and Gaston County. In fact, over 800,000 North Carolina residents from these surrounding areas get their water from Mountain Island.

Mountain Island Lake also has public access for biking, paddling, fishing and lakeside camping. Other attractions include the Latta Plantation Nature Preserve and the Daniel Stowe Botanical Gardens.

Chris Matthews of the county parks departments informed the Charlotte Observer that everything is still in the planning stages. However, a canoe and kayak trail, sometimes called a blueway, is a definite consideration.

Mr. Matthews is charge of the nature preserves for the parks department. One idea under consideration is a 16-mile trail from the Cowans Ford dam to the Mountain Island Lake dam.

A second idea involves a 40-mile stretch that flows along the Catawba River below the Mountain Island Lake dam. This option would create a scenic route that connected popular landmarks like the U.S. National Whitewater Center and the Daniel Stowe Botanical Gardens.

This would benefit residents in both Mecklenburg and Gaston Counties. It would also help establish a sense of cooperation and involvement between the two counties. The general idea from the beginning was for the two counties to work together on the project according to Mr. Matthews.

The next step in the process is to ask for public input and support. Especially from residents that live in waterfront communities. The county will also request assistance from residents in mapping routes along the water trails and creating access points.

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