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Parks & Recreation

The Town of Spencer enjoys a variety of diverse parks and sports facilities.

Stanback Educational Forest

The Fred and Alice Stanback Educational Forest, or Spencer Woods, is located at the end of 11th Street in Spencer. The passive park exceeds 90 acres and is protected through a partnership with Three Rivers Land Trust and the Town of Spencer. The park, which opened in 2017, contains 2.5 miles of hiking trails, two educational pavilions and a small pond with floating dock. The recent 50-acre expansion of the park was possible with grants received by the N.C. Land and Water Fund, the Duke Energy Foundation, and private donations. The expanded area provides the opportunity for additional trails, facilities, and other connections.

The Preserve is wheelchair accessible at 11th Street Main Entrance.

Helpful Links

Spencer Woods
Stanback Educational Forest

Yadkin River Park

The long-awaited Yadkin River Park Trailhead opened to the public with a ribbon cutting ceremony on September 8, 2023. his location has much historical significance as a settlement and trading ford for the Native American Sapona Tribe, 16th-century Spanish exploration and travel, the Revolutionary War engagement and escape by Lieutenant General Charles Cornwallis and his troops, the railroad bridge and the Battle of York Hill during the Civil War, and the NC Finishing Plant and Village of Yadkin during the Great Depression and World War II. The Trailhead will continue to be a pivotal spot for recreation as the future connection to Downtown Spencer and the Carolina Thread Trail.

The Yadkin River Park Trailhead won the Centralina Improving Quality of Life Small Community Award for utilizing cooperative volunteerism to expand community, recreational, and transportation opportunities. The new trailhead offers seamless connectivity between Rowan County and amenities on the Davidson County side of Yadkin River Park. The park enhances nearby properties by leveraging scenic views of the river, expands recreational opportunities for families, and offers carbon-free transportation alternatives for commuters.

Spencer’s trailhead connects with Davidson County’s facility across the river, including the historic Wil-Cox Bridge, now a pedestrian and bicyclist crossing. The 1,300-foot bridge connects Rowan and Davidson counties. The Davidson side of the park has picnic shelters, 1.25 miles of hiking and biking trails, boat access, and bank fishing opportunities. The trails wind along wooded entrenchment and rifle pits of Fort York, a Confederate fort built in anticipation of Union General George Stoneman’s Raid into Piedmont North Carolina and to protect the North Carolina Railroad Bridge.

Spencer Historic District Walking Tour

The one-mile tour starts at the town library and includes churches, restaurants, public buildings, and private homes. Visitors will be diverse features — diamond-pane recessed windows, varied architectural styles combined to create attractive dwellings, Gothic architecture, classical architecture, stained glass, and more.

A brochure is available at Spencer Town Hall, or call 704.633.2231.

Spencer’s Historic District reflects the wealth of the railroad and is a unique example of a railroad town from the latter part of the Gilded Age. Great time and detail were put into building each house and these dwellings represent a historic era when the railroad industry was America’s money making powerhouse.

Other Spencer parks include:

8th Street Ball Field
2nd Street Park (aka Rowan Park)
Library Park

The park is used for community events and weddings.

Proposed Parks

Amended 2022 Parks and Recreation Comprehensive Plan

Town Park

The Town is now turning its attention to the vision of creating a Downtown Civic Park, returning a portion of the large, paved parking lot to what it once was, public green space. The need to provide a Downtown Civic Park was a favored recommendation of community stakeholders in the 2014 and updated 2022 Parks and Recreation Comprehensive Plan. The project will return a corner of the large parking area into a Civic Park which in turn supports Downtown revitalization and the many visitors to the NC Transportation Museum located across S. Salisbury Avenue, the NC Museum of Dolls, Toys, and Miniatures, and other destinations.

The proposed features in the development of Spencer Town Park include a multi-purpose greenspace/lawn encircled with a paved walking loop, and multi-purpose open-air pavilion with a stage and restrooms. The pavilion will be used for picnicking as well as community events. Additional features include picnic nodes with café tables and chairs and a fountain with an interactive water component.

Town Park Master Plan

Northern Rowan Connector

The Town is seeking matching funds to facilitate entering into an agreement with NCDOT to begin the proposed urban greenway as defined in NCDOT’s STIP as EB-5861 and if possible, expand the scope with additional funding to complete all of the proposed $15.1 million sidewalk and greenway connectors. The result would establish a connection from Yadkin River Park into downtown Spencer via Salisbury Ave./NC HWY 29; via Charles St/Oakwood Dr./Whitehead St past three schools; connecting to the Stanback Educational Forest trail system at the 7th St Trailhead; and via the Grants Creek Greenway, eventually connecting to Salisbury’s Greenway System west of Old Mocksville Road.