"Tired of studying? Tired of going to classes, of going to the dining hall, of going to Aycock? Tired of your roommate? Your counselor? Yourself? ... Pack up a pair of blue jeans and an old shirt, throw in a beat-up pair of sneakers, and take off to the Country Club of W.C., Piney Lake." This begins an October 1, 1956 Carolinian article announcing the purchase and opening of the Piney Lake property to the Woman's College students.
Piney Lake was purchased by WC on August 7, 1956 from Abe Blumenthal, a Greensboro business man who had used the property as a country estate for a number of years. For a purchase price of approximately $65,000, the college purchased the 40+ acre property situated six miles south of Greensboro. Acting Chancellor W. W. Pierson noted, "since WC trains scores of recreation directors and camp counselors, Piney Lake will be an ideal place for the more effective training of girls entering these fields of work."
|WC students at Piney Lake, 1956|
Marjorie Leonard, a professor in the Department of Physical Education, and her "cocker spaniel and watchdog" Liz were the first permanent residents at Piney Lake, living in the caretaker's house.She took on the role of "area supervisor." While carrying a full teaching load, Leonard organized use of the Piney Lake facilities, cared for the grounds, and managed supplies and other needed items.
|Map of Piney Lake, from the Junior PE Majors Camp scrapbook, 1960|
Piney Lake was managed by the Department of Health, Physical Education, and Recreation (HPER) from its opening until 1976. After nearly twenty years of management by part-time staff, in Spring 1975, the decision was made by head of HPER to hire a full-time director for Piney Lake at the salary of approximately $10,000 per year. Soon thereafter, management responsibilities transferred to the Department of Recreation, Parks, and Tourism in 1976, but programming and use of the facilities remained the same. In fact, in 1979, Piney Lake was one of only six sites in the nation to be designated a National Environmental Study Area (NESA) by the U.S. Park Service. This designation recognized UNCG's use of Piney Lake to provide "exemplary programs in environmental education."
|Students canoeing at Piney Lake, 1995|
On July 1, 2001, administration of the facility was transferred to Campus Recreation, and three years later, "informal recreation" was re-established at Piney Lake. Today, Piney Lake remains under the administration of Campus Recreation, and student organizations, departments, and other groups are able to reserve the facilities for their use.