Return to Nature at North Raleigh's Shelley Lake Park

Picture this: On a warm, summer afternoon a twelve-year old, along with his older brother, loads his tackle box, straps his fishin' pole to his bike, and peddles his visiting, out-of-town friend down to the lake to catch a big one.

Parents living in North Raleigh needn't be jealous of country dwellers when envisioning such an afternoon. They can visit Shelley Lake Park, just off of Millbrook on Shelley Road, where fishing, boating, biking and feeding the ducks will transport visitors into nature, without leaving the city limits.

Shelley Lake is a flood control facility, owned by Wake County and managed by Raleigh Parks and Recreation Department.  The 243 acre park includes a two-mile paved track around the lake for jogging, biking, roller skating, or just a relaxing stroll.

The Shelley Lake Boathouse rents pedalboats, canoes, rowboats, sailboats and bicycles from April through September, and hosts Red Cross Adult Basic Sailing Classes.

Visitors may purchase duck food at the boat house and fish bait, and can borrow a free rod and reel from the Shelley Lake Fishing Tackle Loaner Program.

The facilities are available for spur-of-the-moment picnics beneath majestic pine trees, strolls along the nature trail dotted with butterflies and wildflowers or a pick-up game of basketball to wind up a day's exercise routine.

The path around the lake is marked at quarter-mile intervals, and signs with stretching and other exercise instructions are posted along the Shelley Lake Parcourse Fitness Circuit, a self-guided exercise trail sponsored by Raleigh Community Hospital.

As if natural surroundings and water sports were not enough, Raleigh Parks and Recreation Department also boasts the Sertoma Arts Center at the park.  Art shows, workshops, theater, free concerts, dance, photography  and more make up extensive programs for both children and adults.

The lush, wooded landscape with a pine-needle carpet surround the quite waters of Shelley Lake to create a peaceful, country setting within North Raleigh's city limits.

Thirty-One of Thirty (Ha-Ha - Thanks, Darkside!)

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