ORRUM — Each summer, thousands of adventure seekers and nature admirers flock to the Lumber River State Park in Orrum.
The park, which comprises 11,064 acres of land surrounding a 115-mile stretch of black water river, was declared a state landmark in 1989 by the General Assembly.
According to Superintendent Neill Lee, the park has since become an annual destination for families looking to embark on a tranquil hike through its scenic expanse, or to get an adrenaline rush kayaking through its deceptively tough waters.
“The park provides a way to see a part of our area that you wouldn’t otherwise see,” Lee said. “But you can enjoy it on your own terms. It’s a great place to get away and unwind and let your batteries recharge before heading back to work Monday morning.”
Park officials have a number of outdoor activities lined up throughout June, including guided hikes, film screenings and the anticipated return of ranger-led kayak and canoe trips.
“The kayak and canoe trips are real popular,” Lee said. “We had to cancel almost all of them last summer because of the unusually high water levels. A lot of people were disappointed about that.”
Less intrepid guests, meanwhile, are invited to attend a pair of screenings of the 2006 documentary “Planet Earth” inside the picnic shelter at Princess Anne bluff — an experience that rivals IMAX, according to Lee.
“It’s neat watching a movie about nature and being surrounded by it at the same time,” he said. “You see the squirrels beside you and the birds flying through. You see nature up close while you’re watching the film.”
Lee said that giving children first-hand exposure to national parks can help them grasp the importance of natural conservation.
“It teaches youngsters to respect nature,” he said. “You really can’t appreciate the incredible natural beauty that’s in our backyard until you see it. I can go to a class and talk to kids all day long until I’m blue in the face about not littering, but being there makes the point much better than anything I could say.”
In addition to being an educational experience for children, Lee said that visiting the park gives little ones a chance to cut loose.
“Kids don’t get to run around and jump and play like they did when we were growing up,” he said. “There are many health benefits of getting out in parks. Our trails might not be the toughest in the world, but they give you a real good dose of exercise.”
Lee said that many critters call the Lumber River home and that summer provides the best opportunity to observe the park’s wildlife.
“We have several ecosystems that offer a variety of animals to observe,” he said. “With more and more development going on, state parks are like islands of nature, the way it should be.”
The following events will be held at the Lumber River State Park in June:
— Guided canoe trips will be held at 1 p.m. on June 1; 9 a.m. on June 5; 9 a.m. on June 9; 10:30 a.m. on June 21; 2 p.m. on June 22; and 9 a.m. on June 24.
— Kayak trips will be held at 9 a.m. on June 9; 10 a.m. on June 21; and at 9 a.m. and 6 p.m. on June 24.
— Nature hikes will be held at 9 a.m. on June 7, June 14 and June 28; and at 8:30 a.m. on June 29.
— Movie nights will be held at 7 p.m. on June 13 and June 21.
A detailed list of events can be found at www.ncparks.gov/Visit/parks/luri/events.php.
The Lumber River State Park is located at 2819 Princess Ann Road in Orrum. For information, call 910-628-4564.