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Fun at the water: The Bull again open to the public

By KC Smith

Cooleemee Correspondent

COOLEEMEE – The summer heat has arrived while excitement is filling the air at RiverPark at Cooleemee Falls – The Bullhole.

Located at 645 Erwin Temple Church Road, Woodleaf, the natural park opened Memorial Day weekend. The hours are: April-October, 10 a.m.-6 p.m., Tuesday-Sunday.

The park is open Mondays for Memorial Day, 4th of July and Labor Day.

In the fall, hours change:  November-March, 10 a.m.-4 p.m., Friday and Saturday.

The park is closed Christmas Day and New Year’s Day.

Chelsea Byrne is the new park manager. The focus of this year is rules awareness.  Alcohol or open grilling is not allowed. If alcohol is found visitors will be asked to leave. Permanently installed grills are available at the Woodson shelter at parking lot.

Entrance fees are $5 a car and $1 for walk-ins, cash only.

Stacy Evans and Johnthon Vizard are the park’s technicians for collection at the gate.    

RiverPark urges patrons to wear an old pair of tennis shoes in the river to prevent accidents on the granite bedrock bottom, known for its slippery moss. Swimming and water activities are at your own risk—there is no lifeguard on duty.

• No grills or open fires are allowed, but filled picnic baskets are.  Contained grilling is allowed only on permanently installed, park-provided grills at the main shelter.

• No alcohol or drugs are allowed.

• Keep your pet on a leash

• No glass containers.

• Keep it clean and be thoughtful of others. Good manners are free.

Rates for reservations of the large picnic shelter are $45 for half day, $85 for a full day, and $175 for a wedding.

To make reservations, call Aaron Thies a town hall at (336) 284-2141 or email athies@cooleemee.org.

The park was closed last June because an unprecedented number of visitors made it unsafe, including the inability for emergency vehicles to access the scene.

“Grants have been approved for updating the restrooms and entrance signs,” said Addison Davis, park president. “We are really looking forward to getting the work done.”

The park features a stone dam, a sandy beach deposited by floods, and good fishing in the spring and fall.  Many bring their bathing suits to swim and ride the little rapids. There are scattered picnic tables and benches along wooded trails and the big shelter can be rented for larger gatherings. The restrooms are located near the main parking area. Portages are available for canoeing and kayaking.