Tags: n.c. division of parks and recreation
Fort Macon State Park, home to the Civil War fortress located near Atlantic Beach, installed two new replica cannons this week, bringing to three the number of guns built for the park in a partnership between the N.C. Division of Parks and Recreation and Wayne County Community College.
"The cannons will be star attractions later this month when the fort holds several events commemorating the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Fort Macon, when Union forces took the fort," the Carteret County News-Times said Wednesday.
The cannons, known as "32-pounders" because of the size of the shell they fire, are 20-foot-long, 4,200-pound replica weapons made with aluminum carriages instead of wooden bases, which quickly rot in the salted sea air. The first of three made was acquired in December 2010, and the park demonstrated its first working cannon the following month.
Commemorative events on April 21 and 22 will include a night cannonade at 8 p.m. Saturday re-enacting the continuous artillery fire that dispersed Federal soldiers who had been spotted on the beach, the News-Times said.
The cannons will be fired again at 10 a.m. on April 23 and 24, then at 4 p.m. on April 25, which is the actual anniversary of the Battle of Fort Macon.
Weekend events will also include flag talks, Civil War music, Civil War uniform talks, musket firing demonstrations, drills and children's activities put on by reenactors portraying soldiers of the North and South, according to the parks Web page (search with "April 2012" here for an event schedule).
Total visits came to 14 million, slightly less that the all-time record of 14.2 million visits in 2009, a news release says. Twenty-one state parks or recreation areas out of 39 in the system reported an increase in visits in 2010.
Jockey’s Ridge State Park in Dare County reported the highest attendance at 1.47 million visits, an increase of 3 percent over last year.
Mayo River State Park in Rockingham County opened to the public in April, and attracted 36,772 visitors during the year.
Parks with significant increases in visitation included Hanging Rock State Park in Stokes County (38 percent), New River State Park in Ashe and Alleghany counties (31 percent), Goose Creek State Park in Beaufort County (29) percent and Pettigrew State Park in Washington and Tyrell counties (26 percent).
More than a half million people were registered to camp in state parks during the year.