Friends of Smith Mountain Lake State Park

The Friends of Smith Mountain Lake State Park recently celebrated their 25th anniversary at the State Park Discovery Center after incorporation as a 501(c)3 organization in July 1996.

The Smith Mountain Lake State Park normally brings in more than 400,000 visitors a year and saw close to half a million this past year. With all that the state park offers, it’s not hard to understand why it brings out so many people.

The park is supported by the Friends of Smith Mountain Lake State Park group, which recently celebrated its 25th anniversary, having started as a nonprofit in July 1996. The celebration was held at the Discovery Center and included a potluck dinner and presentation going over the history of the park.

Brian Heft, who is the park’s lead ranger and has been there since 1992, has seen facilities added and upgraded infrastructure that have made the park into a popular destination around SML.

There’s more to this story in the current issue of the Smith Mountain Eagle newspaper. If subscribed, view the rest of the story in the e-edition version at If not subscribed, pick up a print edition or subscribe at

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