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North Carolina

North Carolina State Parks

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North Carolina
Coastal - Eastern Region
Singletary Lake State Park
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6707 NC 53 Hwy. E
Kelly, North Carolina   28448

Phone: 910-669-2928
Email: park email button icon
Bring your group to Singletary Lake State Park and enjoy group camping in a land of mysterious origins. A portion of the unique Carolina bay ecosystem found nowhere else in the world, Singletary Lake lies within the 35,975-acre Bladen Lakes State Forest.

Developed primarily for organized group camping, the park is comprised of 649 acres of land and a 572-acre natural lake. In addition to group camping, Singletary Lake State Park offers ample opportunities for nature study and recreation.

Park hours:

8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Closed Christmas Day

Park office hours:

8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Open weekends on a limited basis

Closed state holidays
History of the Area
Singletary Lake was named for Richard Singletary, who received a grant of land in Bladen County in 1729. Since colonial times, the region surrounding Singletary Lake was settled and used for subsistence farming along its river lowlands and creek bottoms. Longleaf pines?primarily used for turpentine pitch and timber?were then prolific in the area. They were logged and used used for the production of naval stores.

State government interest in the bay lakes emerged in the early 1800s when legislation blocked further private claims on land covered by lake waters. Later, the General Assembly declared that any lake of 500 acres or more in Bladen, Columbus or Cumberland counties shall remain the property of the state.

By the early 1900s, due to the growth of the turpentine, lumber and cotton industries, the human population surrounding Singletary Lake increased beyond the soil's capacity to support it. With the fall of the cotton farmer and the exhaustion of the tar, pitch, turpentine and timber industry, a large segment of the population lived on submarginal land.

In 1936, through a federally financed work program, the National Park Service bought portions of the land surrounding Singletary Lake for a recreational demonstration project. One of two projects in North Carolina, the federal government purchased the land at an average cost of $4.51 per acre.

The land was managed by the Resettlement Administration until 1939, and during this period resettlement workers and local residents constructed Singletary Recreation Center, which included an office, maintenance building and recreation facilities. In addition, using local talents and materials, an infirmary building, ten cabins, a dining and recreation hall, and a workshop?a fully operational group camp?were also constructed.

The property was turned over to the state of North Carolina on July 1, 1939, for operation under a lease agreement. When Singletary Lake State Park opened that summer, it was used by Boy Scouts, 4-H clubs and similar organizations. These same groups and others continue to use the park today.

In October of 1954, Singletary Lake State Park officially became the property of the state. In addition to serving as a source of recreation, the park played other important roles in the area. During the 1945 flooding of the Cape Fear River, the state parks system cooperated with the Red Cross in disaster relief, and Singletary Lake was used as a refugee center. During world wars, the area was used by the Anti-Aircraft School from Camp Davis for special training programs.
Singletary Lake State Park has two organized group camps available to nonprofit organizations. The camps provide a unique camping experience, creating the perfect setting in which to interpret natural surroundings and to unite in work and play. At least 20 people must be in the group, and the group must also be part of a verifiable organization.

Camp Ipecac, built by the Resettlement Administration, houses 92 persons and is open April through October. The camp was named for Carolina ipecac, a herb common in the region's sandy soil. Extract taken from the herb's dried roots is used for medicinal purposes.

Camp Loblolly Bay houses 48 persons and is open year round. The camp was named for the loblolly, a medium-sized evergreen that produces white blooms in summer.

Both camps are accessible for persons with disabilities and include a mess hall, campers' cabins and restrooms. All amenities are provided for campers except for food, cleaning supplies and bed linens. A basketball goal, volleyball net, horseshoe pit, group-size charcoal grill and picnic tables are located near the cabins. A campfire circle in each camp offers the perfect setting for an evening of fellowship and marshmallow roasting.

Use of the group camps is by reservation only. Reservations are accepted after January 1 of each year for the spring, summer and fall. Reservations for Camp Loblolly Bay for use during the months of January and February may be made after September 1 of the previous year. For additional reservation and fee information, contact the park office.
The park offers a variety of boating options for visitors. Canoeing is popular, with canoes available to rent from the park office. The 572-acre lake also allows rowboats and kayaks but does not permit motorized boats or personal watercrafts in order to maintain its peaceful atmosphere. Fishing is allowed on the lake as well; however, guests must have an appropriate license.
Enjoy fishing from the pier or a boat on this 572-acre lake. The waters are home to largemouth bass, bluegill and pumpkinseed sunfish. A North Carolina fishing license is required for all anglers aged 16 and older.

Singletary Lake State Park is located near Elizabethtown, Fayetteville

Singletary Lake State Park offers picnic tables and grills for visitors. It's a perfect spot to enjoy meals amidst nature.
CCC-Carolina Bay Loop Trail is an easy one-mile trek that begins near the pier at the lakeshore. Journey through a forest of bay shrubs, cedar, cypress, gum and poplars. The return segment of the trail takes you through a forest of longleaf pine and bay vegetation.
Nature Programs
Special explorations of Singletary Lake State Park can be arranged for your group or class. Requests for these park programs must be made in writing at least four weeks in advance of the anticipated park visit. Contact the park office for program request forms.

Educational materials about Singletary Lake State Park have been developed for grades 6-8 and are correlated to North Carolina's competency-based curriculum in science, social studies, mathematics and English/language arts. The Singletary Lake program introduces students to the unique geology of Carolina bays. Accompanying the program is a teacher's booklet and workshop, free of charge to educators.
The park offers birdwatchers a variety of species, including waterfowl and songbirds. Birding is best in spring and fall migration seasons.
Area Attractions
Water sports:

While camping in the park, take advantage of the recreation opportunities offered by this unique bay lake. Relax along the lakeshore among beautiful cypress trees?some which sprouted more than 400 years ago.

A pier more than 500 feet long extends into the lake providing a perfect place for swimming and sunning. Swimming is permitted only for group campers and only in the designated area. Lifeguards are not provided; group leaders must provide swimming supervision.

Campers can bring their own watercraft (limit 10 horsepower).

Though fish populations are low due to the acidity of the water, the lake has a population of yellow perch ready to provide a challenge for fishermen. The public may fish in the lake when the group camps are not in use by obtaining permission from park staff.

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Singletary Lake State Park is located in Bladen County on NC 53, 10 miles southeast of Elizabethtown and six miles east of White Lake.

To reach the park from Wilmington, drive north on US 421. Turn left onto NC 53 and travel west toward Elizabethtown. The park entrance, indicated by a large sign, will be on the right.

To arrive at Singletary Lake from Fayetteville, drive east on NC 53 for approximately 40 miles, drive through the town of Elizabethtown and continue east. The park entrance, marked with a large sign, is on the left.

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North Carolina

North Carolina State Parks