Local, State, and Federal Leader Meet with Community Members to Discuss Overcrowding on Wilson Creek 

LENOIR, NC (May 28, 2024) ⇒ Today, Congresswoman Virginia Foxx joined with local, state and federal leaders as well as community members to discuss the impacts of overcrowding on Wilson Creek.

“Wilson Creek remains a prominent destination within the 5th District, and it offers countless North Carolinians the opportunity to experience the best that our state has to offer. It’s important that this area’s longevity is preserved for many years to come, and continued collaboration coupled with good governance will yield that precise outcome,” said Foxx.

On weekends during the summer, crowds pack the recreation area, often blocking the flow of traffic and leaving behind trash and human waste.

(Mark Jackson – Caldwell Journal)

Managing this area is a big responsibility. One we could not do without the help of volunteers. During the summer months, volunteers from A Clean Wilson Creek and the US Forest Service clean up trash left by visitors,” said Caldwell County Board of Commissioners Chair Randy Church.

Caldwell County hauled away 35,000 pounds of trash in 2023, and the volunteer group, A Clean Wilson Creek, volunteers removed another 11,000 pounds of trash last year.

“By the end of a peak-season day, dumpsters are heaped with bags of trash, piles of spent charcoal, scraps of food, and empty cans of soda and beer, and far more is left behind where it falls, creating issues for wildlife and other visitors,” said Caldwell County Commissioner Donnie Potter.

(Wilson Creek Litter Nicole Coffey August 2020)

Trash is only one issue facing Wilson Creek.  The excessive number of people creates demand for an increased law enforcement presence. With overcrowding and related issues, the county estimates it will spend at least $110,000 this year on law enforcement for Wilson Creek.

Overcrowding leads to parking issues. On good weather weekends, the 141 legal parking spaces fill quickly, leaving as many as 400 cars parked in the roadway blocking traffic making it difficult for first responders to answer calls.

(Mark Jackson – Caldwell Journal)

“Too often first responders are called on to find a missing hiker or rescue a swimmer caught in the rapids,” said Potter. “Visitors not familiar with the river and surrounding terrain can find themselves in unexpected dangers.”

Caldwell County officials are looking to their state and federal partners to help find solutions to address the issues facing Wilson Creek.  Proposed solutions include regulations revised to ban all fires and require personal flotation devices for all river users, have a federal law enforcement presence, and limit use.

“Our goal is to preserve this wild and scenic river, so it can be enjoyed for future generations,” concluded Potter.

Wilson Creek Briefing Sheet PDF

(Mark Jackson – Caldwell Journal)