Last week, Riverbend Trail was closed permanently and a new spur trail was opened to allow access to the base of High Falls. The old trail was often flooded and caused sedimentation problems due to the proximity to the river. 

The new High Falls Loop is approximately 2 miles (from the High Falls parking lot and back). New directional signs have also been placed along the trail to help guide visitors. The spur trail will more effectively shed water than the old Riverbend Trail and allow quicker access to the base of High Falls for visitors and emergency responders. The trail is open to hikers, cyclists, and equestrians. 

A new Forest Trail Map can be found here – www.dupontforest.com/visit/maps/.

 

The DuPont Forest Festival Committee is pleased to announce the schedule of events for the first ever DuPont
Forest Festival, September 22, 2018.

Thank you to everyone who volunteered to lead an activity. We have an impressive line up of events including:

  • Kayak Tour
  • Bumble Bee Hike
  • Muddy Sneakers Nature Hike
  • N.C. Forest Service Demonstration
  • Fly Fishing
  • History Tour
  • And so many more!

Check out the full lineup. Exact locations, dates, and descriptions will be announced in May. Stay tuned!

 

 

Big thanks to our Forest Festival Sponsors! Learn more about becoming a sponsor here.

 

Who knew that a new bathroom could be so exciting? But we are excited! Construction on the brand new Hooker Falls Access Area bathroom started on Monday, April 16th and is expected to be completed by mid-August. (see press release from NC Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services here).

Back in 2016 Friends of DuPont Forest pledged $50,000 for the sorely needed bathrooms and we are thrilled to have honored that pledge this week.

PLEASE BE ADVISED
During the construction, the upper lot at Hooker Falls will be closed. As we move into the busy season, here are some things to keep in mind.

  • Do not park on the pavement or near “No Parking” signs.
  • Large vehicles will not be allowed to park in the Hooker Falls Access Area.
  • Avoid peak times to visit DuPont and note that other access areas are also likely to have limited parking spaces.
  • Do not park over the white lines of public highways.
  • Tell your friends and visitors.

Keep up with the status of the Hooker Falls project visit ncforestservice.gov.

 

We had a record number of volunteers come out on March 10th for our Trail Crew Work Day. Twenty-seven volunteers cleared more than 20 drains including some that required major rebuilds. Thank you to all who came out including several folks from Pisgah Area SORBA. We appreciate all the hard work you do to keep our trails pristine.

To volunteer with the DuPont Trail Crew, join Friends of DuPont and sign up.

 

 

 

On National Public Lands Day, Saturday September 22, 2018 Friends of DuPont Forest will launch the first ever DuPont Forest Festival, an event celebrating the adventure, wildness, and beauty of DuPont State Recreational Forest.

“We envision a schedule of events that weave in guided tours – hiking, mountain biking, and horseback riding, educational lectures, and hands-on demonstrations. I think of it as an outdoor conference that shows off DuPont Forest and teaches our communities about the importance of our public lands and their role in protecting them,” says Sara Landry, executive director of Friends of DuPont Forest.

Friends of DuPont Forest is now accepting proposals for Forest Festival activities. The organization invites members of the community to share their outdoor knowledge and lead a demonstration, tour, or lecture. To put your name in the hat, submit your Forest Festival Activity proposal. The deadline to submit your proposal is March 16th, 2018.

Possible activities include:
Science Experiments
Wildlife Hike
Tree Identification Hike
Forestry Demonstration
Fly Fishing Demonstration
Horseback Riding Tour / Demonstration
Map / Compass Demonstration
Outdoor Gear Demonstration
Optimizing Avenza Map App
Mountain Bike Demonstration
Mountain Bike Tour
Demo Day at Lake Julia
Yoga at Big Rock
History Tour
Movie Tour

For questions about the proposal process and / or sponsorship opportunities, please contact Sara Landry at 828.713.2368 or saralandry@dupontforest.com.

Alan Cameron, volunteer with the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission and current Board Member of Friends of DuPont Forest, presents a six week wildlife series.

While November marks the time we prepare our tables for season of Thanksgiving, the NC Wildlife Resource Commission has prepared food plots for wildlife in Western North Carolina.

Friends of DuPont Forest is pleased to present A Bounty for Wildlife, a presentation on the benefits of wildlife food plots. David Stewart, Land Management Biologist with the NC Wildlife Resources Commission will discuss wildlife food plots and other habitat management activities in DuPont State Forest and elsewhere in the NC Mountain region.

Please join us on November 14th to learn more about how these important food plots help protect wildlife such as bears, turkeys, deer, rabbits, doves, grouse, and various songbirds.

November 14th @ 1:00PM
Cedar Mountain Community Center
This event is free and open to the public and made possible by the Friends of DuPont Forest. To join Friends of DuPont Forest or to make a donation, please visit dupontforest.com or call 828.713.2368.

 

As President of Friends of DuPont Forest, I would like to explain the reasons why our Board of Directors made the decision to cancel the Fall 2017 Tour de Falls.

The Tour has been our signature event for over ten years, and has served thousands of residents who are not able to walk or ride to the waterfalls.   We appreciate our hundreds of dedicated volunteers who have generously given their time over the years to make this happen.  Clearly, this is not a decision that could be taken lightly.

The Friends of DuPont Board is fully committed to our public service goal that people unable to walk to the falls are given an opportunity to visit them.  However, we decided that we needed to stop and re-examine the most efficient way to make this happen.

The first Tour was held in 2003 during my first term on the Board, at a time when Friends of DuPont was trying to promote visitation at the Forest.  Within a few years, demand surged to see the “new” waterfalls.  But there were still few people on the trails to compete with the buses.

Today, demand has dropped significantly, the trails are teeming with weekend visitors, and the event stretches our volunteer capacity a bit tighter each year.  The Spring Tour consumed 400 volunteer hours, and consumed approximately two months of our Executive Director’s time in planning and preparation.

Friends of DuPont leadership is working on a large number of new projects that will provide outreach to new audiences, collaborate with the newly hired staff at the Forest, and establish new forms of fundraising. As President, I realized that we needed our Executive Director focused on these important goals over the next three months.

In July, the Board of Directors made the decision this summer to defer the tour to make time for all these important projects.  We are forming a sub-group to discuss ways to rework the Tour and meet our service objectives in the most efficient way possible.

If you have questions or comments about this issue, you can contact me at president@dupontforest.com.

Sincerely,

Jeff Jennings
President, Board of Directors
Friends of DuPont Forest

 

 

Speaking as past president of Friends of DuPont here is my two cents on canceling the fall Tour de Falls.

There are many exciting changes in the Forest this year. New staff hires, managing the newly-acquired “donut hole”, and Friends of DuPont’s hiring its first Executive Director (ED) are among the changes. Declining attendance at the last few Tours has forced the Board of Directors to take a hard look at the tour. Perhaps it is time for something new or different? Sara Landry, our ED, is working on some new projects.

The Tour was begun as an event to offer access to DuPont for those unable to  hike, bike, or ride a horse. FRIENDS OF DUPONT WILL CONTINUE TO OFFER SUCH EVENTS.  A version of our popular “Bring Your Own Bus” (BYOB) is in the works. So, faithful, hard-working volunteers, enjoy your break this fall. Much thanks for your continued support of Friends of DuPont and DuPont State Recreational Forest.

Bev Parlier
Former President, Board of Directors
Friends of DuPont Forest