State Park Ranger Keith Nealson
Thursday, August 17, 2023

Nealson Joins Stanley to Lead Kerr Lake State Recreation Area

Aug 17, 2023

The N.C. Division of Parks and Recreation announced that Keith Nealson, who has been with state parks for 25 years, has been named a superintendent at Kerr Lake State Recreation Area. Nealson joins Bill Stanley, the lead superintendent, who moved into that role last year after longtime superintendent Bryce Fleming retired.

A park superintendent leads operations and administration at a park with wide-ranging responsibilities, including staffing, training, law enforcement, planning, natural resources management, environmental education and visitor services. At state recreation areas, one superintendent focuses on managing the numerous staff, and that is the role Nealson will fill. It is a particularly challenging one at Kerr Lake due to its eight access areas around a 50,000-acre reservoir.

Nealson graduated from Northern Arizona University with a bachelor’s degree in biology education. He first joined the division as a maintenance mechanic at William B. Umstead State Park in 1998 before becoming a ranger there. In 2009, he was promoted to park superintendent at Eno River State Park. His most recent position was Chief Ranger for DPR, leading the division’s law enforcement program and training process.

“Keith has been outstanding as Chief Ranger these last four years, and we will miss him at the Raleigh administrative office,” said Deputy Director of Operations Kathy Capps. “But we are also excited for him to return to his true passion of being in the field and enjoying the outdoors every day. Kerr Lake is lucky to have his skills and experience, and we look forward to what he and Bill accomplish together.”

Nealson has an advanced law enforcement certificate and is a certified general instructor for DPR. He is also a certified environmental educator by the North Carolina Office of Environmental Education and Public Affairs.

About Kerr Lake State Recreation Area
Located in Vance and Warren counties, Kerr Lake State Recreation Area spans the southern part of the immense reservoir that straddles the Virginia-North Carolina border. The park offers seven campgrounds and hundreds of campsites to enjoy a serene night by the lake. The access areas provide boat ramps into one of the best fishing lakes in the eastern United States. Picnic shelters and community buildings provide popular venues for local gatherings.

About North Carolina State Parks
North Carolina State Parks manages more than 250,000 acres of iconic landscape within North Carolina’s state parks, state recreation areas and state natural areas. It administers the N.C Parks and Recreation Trust Fund, including its local grants program, as well as a state trails program, North Carolina Natural and Scenic Rivers and more, all with a mission dedicated to conservation, recreation and education. The state parks system welcomes more than 19.8 million visitors annually.

About the North Carolina Department of Natural and Cultural Resources
The N.C. Department of Natural and Cultural Resources (DNCR) manages, promotes, and enhances the things that people love about North Carolina – its diverse arts and culture, rich history, and spectacular natural areas. Through its programs, the department enhances education, stimulates economic development, improves public health, expands accessibility, and strengthens community resiliency.
The department manages over 100 locations across the state, including 27 historic sites, seven history museums, two art museums, five science museums, four aquariums, 35 state parks, four recreation areas, dozens of state trails and natural areas, the N.C. Zoo, the N.C Symphony, the State Library, the State Archives, the N.C. Arts Council, the African American Heritage Commission, the American Indian Heritage Commission, the State Historic Preservation Office, the Office of State Archaeology, the Highway Historical Markers program, the N.C. Land and Water Fund, and the Natural Heritage Program. For more information, please visit

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