Virginia State Parks have opened for the season, and although Fairy Stone State Park in Patrick County is among them, there will be some limitations for visitors.

Fairy Stone Lake is currently lowered to perform maintenance at the swim beach, and levels may be unsafe for boats and kayaks to launch. In addition, half of the park’s cabins are not able to be used due to a renovation project that is not expected to be complete until July 31, 2023, according to the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR).

“Fairy Stone Lake has recently been lowered for beach maintenance,” Adam Layman, park manager at Fairy Stone told the Bulletin on Monday. “We typically do this in late winter annually to regrade the beach and remove any logs or other debris that have washed into the swim area over the course of last year.

“This is an ongoing effort to make sure that we provide a safe, enjoyable swimming experience.”

Layman said that most of this seasonal work is finished and the lake is refilling and “hopefully within the next week will be back to its normal level.”

Although cabin renovations are ongoing, Layman said, the results will be worth the wait.

“We are currently in the first couple months of a multi-year cabin renovation project,” Layman said. “Throughout this year, 14 of our 25 cabins are being lovingly restored, and the renovations to the remaining 11 cabins will take place in 2023.

“We are extremely excited about this project. The restored cabins will maintain their historic charm, but will include upgraded modern conveniences.”

Among them will be new kitchens, bathrooms and electrical that “will greatly enhance the guest experience,” Layman said.

Fairy Stone is just across the northwestern corner of the Henry County line in Patrick County and is the largest of the original six state parks that opened in 1936. There are now 41 state parks offering more than 1,800 campsites, the DCR says.

Now that the season is officially underway, Fairy Stone is open daily from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m., and the park office and gift shop are open from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

The cabins not under renovation and the Fayerdale building are available for rent. The campgrounds, yurts and their bathhouses are also available for rent.

“Our campgrounds are what just opened for the season, and our other facilities like cabins, conference center, and day-use facilities like trails, boat ramp and picnic shelters are open year-round,” said Layman. “Our beach, concession stand and boat rentals are available Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day. The campgrounds are open the first Friday in March through the first Monday in December.”

New this year, all state parks with campgrounds now offer site-specific reservations for campsites. This reservation system allows a camper to view an interactive map and choose an available site to reserve and replaces the first-come, first-served policy that previously existed for most campgrounds.

Fairy Stone expecting busy season

Fairy Stone is also actively hiring for summer positions, including maintenance rangers, contact rangers, lifeguards and concession rangers who operate the snack bar.

“We’re looking forward to a busy summer season, as we will be reopening the snack bar at the beach this summer,” Layman said. “While we have rented jon boats, kayaks, canoes, paddleboats and stand-up paddleboards at the beach during the main summer season for years, a new addition to our rental fleet for 2022 will be brand new hydro-bikes.”

A hydro-bike is a watercraft that cruises at five miles per hour, can be ridden in winds and waves and is virtually impossible to tip over, according to California Windsurfing, a watercraft instructional and rental company.

And Layman said that Fairy Stone will again be hosting the Monday Market, where local farmers gather with local produce for sale at Shelter 4 every Monday from 5-7 June 13 through Labor Day.

Belews Park Project

For residents who live in the Ridgeway area of Henry County, Belews Lake in neighboring Rockingham County is about the same distance as Fairy Stone Park, about 20 to 25 miles away.

The Dan River Basin Association (DRBA) is working in partnership with Rockingham County to develop a new park near Belews Lake, and Phase 1 of the project is slated to begin this month.

A virtual outreach meeting was held Monday night to give anyone interested an opportunity to learn more about the project and to share their ideas.

The Belews Park Project, which covers 110 acres at the corner of Ellisboro and Stanley roads, was donated to Rockingham County by Duke Energy for the development of the Belews Park. A master plan was approved by the county commissioners in April, 2018, a DRBA newsletter said.

The park is owned and will be operated by Rockingham County with Phase 1 expected to start this month and be complete by September, the newsletter said.

Phase 1 includes an improved parking lot, restroom, short trail, and signage and development is being done in partnership with DRBA.

Bill Wyatt is a reporter for the Martinsville Bulletin. He can be reached at 276-638-8801, Ext. 2360. Follow him @billdwyatt.


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Bill Wyatt is a reporter for the Martinsville Bulletin. He can be reached at 276-638-8801, Ext. 2360. Follow him @billdwyatt.

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