Park Superintendent Angelia Allcox said four of the site's employees have received termination notices telling them their positions will no longer be funded.
After August 20, Allcox said, employees will work from day to day until told to go home.
"The news hit hard," Allcox said, "even though we were kind of expecting it."
Singletary Lake Group Camp is located on N.C. 53, between White Lake and Kelly. The centerpiece of the park is the lake itself, one of the last remaining undeveloped bay lakes.
Allcox said she was told four months ago the site was on a list of facilities facing possible closure due to the state budget crisis. Employees kept their fingers crossed that the park would stay open.
The site's revenues generally paid for operations costs, Allcox said, but employee salaries come out of the state budget. Singletary and two other lakes are scheduled to close under Gov. Mike Easley's new budget plan, and 29 positions will be lost statewide in the park system.
The terminated employees-Ranger II Beth Creech, office manager Patsy Hairr, mechanic Richard Smith, and utility worker Shenandoah Lassiter-will be transferred to other facilities if positions are available.
The workers' experience ranges from Lassiter's four months with the park service to Smith's 18 years.
But with the budget cutters eliminating over 1,300 jobs statewide, the chances of open positions in the park service aren't likely.
"You plan for the worst and hope for the best," Allcox said.
"We're waiting to see if the other state employees go home, or stay on some kind of special basis," she said. "We just don't know what's happening yet. We just know for sure that the employees will work til August 20."
Allcox will stay on as caretaker for the site, and she'll assume most of the regulatory and enforcement duties handled by the staff.
Rangers from Singletary Lake are responsible for inspecting piers, docks and other structures on Bay Tree and White Lake. They also issue permits for almost any activity on the lakes, including watersports events and the annual fireworks display at White Lake.
While land around some bay lakes is privately owned, all areas covered by waters are owned by the state, and under the jurisdiction of state agencies. White Lake, Bay Tree and Singletary are regularly patrolled by N.C. Forest Rangers.
More than 15,000 people visit Singletary Lake State Park and Group Camp every year. The group camp-where campers boat, fish, swim and attend classes on the environment-is one of the oldest such parks in the state, having been open since 1939.
The park was built by participants in Depression-era work programs, such as the Civilian Conservation Corps. Trails and paths in the park are named in honor of the groups.
No one seems to know the procedure for closing a park, Allcox said.
All that is certain is that the group camp will close, Allcox said.
"We have no guidelines for closing a state park," she said. "We don't know exactly how, and we don't know exactly when."
Allcox said campers-some of whom reserve the site months in advance-should receive a full refund of their deposit monies. She doesn't know when.
"I haven't been given permission to refund anything yet," she said.
Among the challenges Allcox will face is securing the lake and state-owned forest areas around the site.
"It's going to be quite a job," Allcox said. "We're keeping our fingers crossed for a miracle."
State park officials have made no official announcement specifically regarding the closure of the site. No plans for the facility have been released.