Rhododendron Lake Nature Park
Conserving Carolina partnered with the Town of Laurel Park to place a conservation easement on 2.8 acres to buffer a tributary of Wash Creek that once fed historic Rhododendron Lake. Since the early 20th century, Rhododendron Lake drew large crowds of visitors as a local swimming hole and social gathering spot until its dam failed in the 1980s.
The lake and creek had since fallen into disrepair. Badly eroded, filled with silt, and undercutting an adjacent road, Conserving Carolina worked with the Town, the Army Corps of Engineers, French Broad Mitigation Partners, and the NC Department of Natural Resources to restore the stream as part of a stream mitigation project in 2013. The streambed was graded and rerouted to restore natural flows and riparian habitats and safeguard water quality downstream. New trees were planted and invasive plant species were removed. Now conserved, the Town has constructed a walking path around Rhododendron Lake Park to restore it to its glory days, and continues to strive to enhance the Park in coming years.