Merchants Millpond State Park
|Merchants Millpond State Park|
|North Carolina State Park|
|Natural Monument (IUCN III)|
Cypress trees at Merchants Millpond State Park
|- elevation||36 ft (11 m)|
|Area||3,250 acres (1,315.2 ha)|
|Managed by||North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources|
|Website : Merchants Millpond State Park|
Merchants Millpond State Park is a North Carolina state park in Gates County, North Carolina in the United States. Located near Gatesville, North Carolina, it covers 3,250 acres (13 km²) around a 200 year old, 700 acre (2.8 km²) millpond and Lassiter Swamp. The park also contains a large cypress swamp. Canoeing is one of the park's major attractions. Alligators live in Merchants Millpond State Park (Merchant's Millpond is the northernmost extent of the American Alligator's habitat.) Merchants Millpond State Park is located in North Carolina's Coastal Plain.
Settlement in the Gates County area began in 1660. Residents of early rural communities made a living by farming and lumbering. In the early 18th century, Hunters Millpond was built at the head of Bennetts Creek to provide a means of processing and marketing regional produce. Highway construction destroyed this millpond in 1922. But further downstream, Norfleets Millpond, which was built in 1811, thrived. Gristmills, a sawmill, a farm supply store and other enterprises made the area the center of trade in Gates County. Thus, the pond became known as Merchants Millpond.
Shortly before World War II operations around the millpond came to a halt and millers sold the land to developers. In the 1960s, A.B. Coleman of Moyock purchased the property and later donated 919 acres (3.72 km2), including the millpond, to the state. His generous donation led to the establishment of Merchants Millpond State Park in 1973. In the same year, the Nature Conservancy contributed an additional 925 acres (3.74 km2) of woodlands to the park that now encompasses more than 3,250 acres (13.2 km2).