Forsyth County is considering the purchase, preservation and development of about 215 acres of Duke Energy land to establish a new public park with roughly two miles of lakefront along Belews Lake – an area that’s very popular with Guilford County residents.

Forsyth County Parks and Recreation Director Mike Anderson said Forsyth County has entered into an agreement with Duke Energy that gives the county the right to purchase the land after a yearlong process of study and input from citizens.

Anderson said there’s been a strong feeling among county officials that Forsyth County needed a public park in that area and they began talks with Duke Energy since that company was a major property owner of land around the lake.   Anderson said that, if the county does decide at the end of the process to give final approval, no entrance fees are planned and he anticipates that a lot of Guilford residents will use the park.

“It’s close enough to the line that we expect to see people from Guilford County – and they are already familiar with the area,” he said of Belews Lake.

The final decision will be made by the Forsyth County commissioners once the study is complete.

For years, the Belews Lake area has been a popular spot among Guilford County residents for high school camping (read: drinking) parties and July 4 weekend boating activities, so a large free county park nearby would also likely be a big draw.

Anderson said his county currently anticipates that any future development to be “passive park” development, with a focus on low impact activities like hiking trails, picnicking and bank fishing.

Guilford County and Forsyth County currently jointly own and operate Triad Park– a park that straddles the county line of the two – though Guilford County isn’t expected to play any role in the new Belews Creek park project.

In order to gauge public interest and evaluate input, Forsyth County staff is holding two drop-in sessions at the Belews Creek Fire Department at 7675 Belews Creek Road in Belews Creek on Monday, Dec. 10, as well as another meeting next year on Monday, Jan. 14. Both of those meetings run will be from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Forsyth County also plans to post an online survey later this month at to collect input.