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Eno River State Park

By North Carolina Division of Parks and Recreation, 2015; Kelly Agan, N.C. Government & Heritage Library, 2015

Photograph, Eno River scene. It is a dark print, with trees and bushes in the foreground. Sun is shining through the canopy in the background.

Established: 1973
GPS Coordinates: 36.078300,-79.005000
Size: 4,197 Acres

See also: Exploring North Carolina: North Carolina State Parks, Trails, Lakes, Rivers & Natural Areas

Archaeology tells us that men first walked trails along the Eno long before recorded history. Indians of the Eno, Shakori, and Occoneechee tribes lived along the river when the first European explorers passed through. Some of the tribes merged in the late 17th century and established a village near present day Durham. Settlers moved in during the mid 1700's to set up farms and gristmills. More than 30 mills were located along the length of the Eno.

Efforts to establish Eno River State Park started in 1965, when the city of Durham proposed building a reservoir in the river valley. A group of concerned citizens led a campaign to save the Eno and formed the Association for the Preservation of the Eno River Valley. Under the leadership of Durham teacher, social worker and environmentalist Margaret Nygard, the Association worked with The Nature Conservancy to develop a partnership with the City of Durham, Orange County and the State that culminated in the creation of the state park in 1973. The Association partnered with The Nature Conservancy in 1972 and the organization received its first donation of land that year -- 90 acres -- from Mary and Frederick Bernheim. 

The association proposed a state park be established and, in May of 1972, the state of North Carolina approved the idea. The city of Durham withdrew its efforts to construct the reservoir and in 1975 the state opened the park with more than 1,000 acres of land.
Eno Park Footbridge. It crosses a river and connects two wooded walking trails.

Following the establishment of the park, the Eno River Association continued fundraising and conservation campaigns, including the annual Festival for the Eno, that have led to sustained awareness of protecting the river corridor as well as purchase of additional lands for the state park. Today the park encompasses more than 4,000 acres along 35 miles of its course through Orange and Durham Counties.










North Carolina State Parks. Eno River State Park.

North Carolina Division of Parks and Recreation.  Annual Report of the North Carolina Division of Parks and Recreation, Issues 2006 to 2015.

Additional Resources:

North Carolina Division of Parks and Recreation. Eno River State Park Master Plan. 1979. (accessed September 19, 2015).

Image Credits:

North Carolina Division of Parks and Recreation. [Eno River scene.] Photograph. ca. 1979.  From Eno River State Park Master Plan. (accessed September 19, 2015).

Zanter. "Eno Park Footbridge." 2006.  Wikimedia Commons. (accessed September 19, 2015).

Origin - location: