Animal Habitat And Ancient Treasures In Jeopardy At ENC Lake

By: Natalie Kaplan Email
By: Natalie Kaplan Email

Eastern Carolina is home to one of the largest natural lakes in the state.

Now, some of the ancient treasures and animal habitats at Lake Phelps are in danger.

The treasures are canoes. Some of them in Lake Phelps are thousands of years old. They were originally built by Algonquian Indians.

"When the canoes are submerged in the water they preserve just fine," said Park Superintendent Doug Lequire. "The oldest canoe was 4,400 years old."

Lequire said when the lake water gets low, there is a potential they could be exposed to oxygen and deteriorate.

During the Evans Road Blaze in 2008, park officials say firefighters used about six inches of lake water to put out the flames. That, plus a prolonged drought in the area last year, are to blame for low levels.

Lake Phelps is solely reliant on rain water.

The other problem from the low water involves animal habitats. When the level shrinks, the shorelines do too, and habitats disappear.

For now, Lequire is doing what he can. A few canoes have been placed in a safe house for preservation, but he's looking to someone a bit higher up in rank for another solution.

"Really we just have to wait for Mother Nature to change her mind about things," Lequire said. "I hate to say this -- but a hurricane is the only thing that can turn the situation of Lake Phelps."

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Comments are posted from viewers like you and do not always reflect the views of this station.
  • by Josh Location: Roper on Jun 25, 2009 at 07:36 PM
    I'm sure the folks that live, work, and farm in the areas that were threatened by that wildfire have ZERO problems with the fact that the lake is a little lower. It may interest you to know, that if the red-tape had been removed and the Forestry Service had not had to jump through the Park Service and NC State Government/Water Quality hoops, they could have had access to the water 2 days earlier and could have possibly kept the fire from getting as large as it did....God SAVE the CANOE...which, some scientists aren't quite so sure isn't just a burned out log from a....guess what....WILDFIRE.... This is why our state is in the shape it is in....Park Rangers need to run the park, not make policy or conjure up stories to get ink.
  • by Wash Co Native Location: Dare County on Jun 25, 2009 at 07:32 PM
    To OSOC: Yea, it's obviously really a story if they found it necessary to put it on here. Why must you always be so negative about any and everything that is a news story? You're either ranting about Obama or Perdue or you're ranting some conspiracy about taxes or God knows what.....for once, read, and maybe, just maybe... DONT COMMENT. Jeez, enough of you already.
  • by Good Greef Location: NC on Jun 25, 2009 at 07:18 PM
    All it is is some old wooden canoes, no need to cry about them, wood rotts things die its nature. Why we gone waste the money trying to preserve this type of thing if it is not gone put money in the pocket.
  • by WC Location: Roper on Jun 25, 2009 at 06:17 PM
    Welcome to Washington County!
  • by Anonymous on Jun 25, 2009 at 04:01 PM
    Well, let's just pray for a hurricane. In the name of jesus, we need a storm.
  • by Obama Snake Oil Co Location: Washington on Jun 25, 2009 at 01:36 PM
    What did did we do before we inhabited this land. There have been droughts before any of us were born and will be long after we are gone. You are sitting on a treasure of ancient canoes and letting them stay on the bottom. Would it make better sense to preserve them if you think they are in jeopardy? I am just saying, a good thing NC found out about this but is it really a story?
  • by Ted Location: Greenville on Jun 25, 2009 at 01:01 PM
    Do they honestly expect us to believe that this is the first time in 4,400 years the water level has been this low?

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