Help Open Bell Park!
We’re so close to opening a new county park in southern Henderson County! Named in honor of summer camp pioneers Frank and Calla Bell, the new park comprises approximately 70 acres with beautiful waterfalls and rock outcrops. Just as the Bells introduced generations of children to the wonders of nature, this new park creates a place for us all to connect with the natural world. The park will span from Highway 176 to the 14,000-acre Green River Game Lands. We’ve already done the hard part: we secured the land. We just need to raise the funds for trails and a parking area, so we can open Bell Park.
Honoring Summer Camp Pioneers
Frank “Chief” Bell, Sr. was the founder of Camp Mondamin in Tuexedo, NC, one of the very first summer camps in Western North Carolina. Still managed by the Bell family, the camp is entering its 100th anniversary year in 2021. Not only did Camp Mondamin help four generations of children find their place in the natural world, it opened the way for the numerous summer camps in our region that connect kids with nature, strengthen our local economies, and keep land in a natural state.
Frank Bell was an intrepid adventurer who is the first person known to have paddled the famous Green River Narrows. He is remembered to this day by whitewater paddlers who go over “Frank Bell’s Rapid” on the French Broad River. This is where Bell and some campers braved the raging water and, in the process, destroyed their canoe.
The Bells founded Camp Mondamin for boys in 1921 and Camp Green Cove for girls in 1945. Over the years, they also led campers on far-flung adventures, including a canoe trip from Western North Carolina to the Mississippi and trips to the 17,800-foot Mt. Popocatepetl in Mexico and the redwood forests of northern California.
Our goal is to open the new Bell Park in their honor in 2021, the 100th anniversary year of their Camp Mondamin.
High Bridge, Kayak Put-in, and Game Lands Access
Bell Park will extend from the historic High Bridge, dating from 1927, which stands parallel to the new bridge on Highway 176. It will stretch along the gorgeous Green River as far as the the Upper Green kayak put-in off of Pot Shoals Road. At that point, it connects with the Green River Game Lands.
The park provides an important access point to the Game Lands from the south. A proposed trail would run its full length from the High Bridge to kayak put-in, with loop trails on either end. The trail would go by two beautiful waterfalls and a scenic rock cliff.
In 2015, Conserving Carolina purchased the land from Yorke Pharr. Funding from the North Carolina Land and Water Fund and NC Parks and Recreation Trust Fund, as well as the generosity of the landowner, made this purchase possible. Conserving Carolina went on to transfer the land to Henderson County for a new local park. This new park is ready to go, as soon as we raise the funds needed for trail construction and parking. Can you help?
How to Donate to Bell Park
Conserving Carolina has set up a Bell Park Fund to raise the funding needed to open this new local park. Please make a donation today!
Online: You can go here to donate online.
By phone: Call us at 828-697-5777, ext. 200 to donate or pledge by phone.
By mail: Send your check to Conserving Carolina with “Bell Park Fund” in the memo line. Mail checks or pledges to:
847 Case Street
Hendersonville, NC 28792
How to Learn More
For additional information about how to donate or pledge call Lynn Killian, Development Director, at (828) 697-5777, Ext. 202 or email her at [email protected].
Donors at the following levels will be permanently acknowledged on an Appreciation Plaque at the park entrance: Above $1000, $5000, $10,000 and $20,000
Individual Gifts of $100 or more – and Corporate Gifts of $500 or more – will receive a Park Supporter Decal.