Fencing around parking lot is latest project

Members of the Back Country Horsemen of the Croatan joined with the Cherry Point Single Marine Program to erect fencing around a parking lot at the Pine Cliff Recreation Area in the Croatan National Forest.

According to Edward Lloyd, president of the organization, the work took place around the four-acre gravel parking lot that is the starting point for three trails totaling 14 miles that cut through the forest.

Ten members of the horsemen group joined six Marines from the Cherry Point Single Marine Program to construct the fence around the perimeter of the parking lot that is used for equestrian trailers.

“We have drainage ditches around the parking lot now,” Lloyd said. “The parking lot itself is finished, but we’re doing all the other perimeter stuff in preparation for opening up the parking lot later this year.”

The posts are 6-by-6 inch timbers, and the cross rails are 4-by-6 inches.

“It is going to be a very heavy-duty fence so we don’t have to worry about it being blown down or horses being tied to it and pulling it over,” said Lloyd.

The parking lot construction is being done in cooperation with the U.S. Forest Service

“The Back Country Horsemen has done a tremendous amount of work in building this parking lot,” said Lloyd.

Money for the project is from a Recreational Trails Program grant as well as an N.C. Horse Council grant that the Back Country Horsemen acquired. Friends of the group also donated money to purchase the materials.

Lloyd said the Marines helped with their brawn moving the timbers around, digging the holes and getting the dirt compacted around the posts.

“It took some physical labor. There was some sweat involved,” said Lloyd. “They provide us some young, strong backs that are required for the heavy lifting that is needed to keep all this maintained.”

The horsemen group maintains the trails that the forest service developed in the Pine Cliff Recreation Area by keeping fallen timber off the trails and keeping them mowed. They repair mudding spots, installing culverts and sometimes mowing the roadside leading to the parking lot.

“Now with this construction of the parking lot, we will be the primary source in maintaining that and keeping that well-manicured,” said Lloyd.

Some of the women in the group painted the bathroom at the site, and the group has also installed a kiosk and painted that.

“We’re making great improvements to the parking lot for the equestrians in eastern North Carolina to come and enjoy,” said Lloyd. “We all want to see this done, finished and start using it.”