But this past weekend, it opened again for weekend recreation for students, Kaplan Center members and up to four of their guests, with weekend passes available to the public. More than 450 UNCG students, faculty, staff and their guests came to the opening celebration and enjoyed kayaking, canoeing, stand up paddleboarding, paddleboating, hiking, disc golf and relaxing by the waterside.
“It’s a unique space where you can get outside, have the chance to relax in a hammock, play games and connect with nature,” says Associate Director of Recreation & Wellness Mike Ackerman, who manages the property, including building the hiking trails.
“It’s a sanctuary,” adds grounds supervisor Clifton McDaniel, who attended a Piney Lake summer camp from 1964 to 1968.
The lake offers swimming, boating activities and catch-and-release fishing. Visitors to the 40+ acre property can also enjoy an 18-hole disc golf course, walking trails, volleyball and more. Picnic areas with charcoal grills and grilling tools are available. Children and leashed pets are welcomed to Piney Lake.
The lodge and waterfront are available for retreats, trainings or meetings at low rates to UNCG employees and affiliates. Team QUEST, the experiential education program housed at Piney Lake, continues to offer custom team-developing programs to groups and organizations.
The property was acquired in 1956 as a recreation center where students could pass warm afternoons and, in the summer, work as counselors and teachers. In 1979, it was one of only six sites in the nation designated a National Environmental Study Area (NESA) by the U.S. Park Service.
Ackerman looks forward to seeing how Piney Lake benefits today’s UNCG students and community by offering greater opportunity to interact with nature.
“Most often, what we do in Recreation and Wellness is mainly about physical health, but Piney Lake opens the environmental wellness piece to our students and the UNCG community – it gets people connected and outside,” he says.
Students, Kaplan Center members and up to four guests may enjoy Piney Lake free of charge on any Saturday and Sunday, and Recreation & Wellness will operate a shuttle every hour.
Non-members may purchase weekend passes; learn more here.
Piney Lake is located at 4016 Blumenthal Rd and is open for recreation Saturdays and Sundays, 11:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. through the last weekend of October. For more details about Piney Lake or reservations, visit: recwell.uncg.edu/piney.
By Susan Kirby-Smith
Photograph by Paul Papazis, UNCG Recreation & Wellness