In an exciting development built on years of work, the DuPont Company has gifted the 476-acre tract of land in the very center of the forest to the state of North Carolina.  The tract is the site of the former DuPont film plant owned that at one time employed more than 1000 local people and operated for more than 40 years.

The property is important because it allows DuPont State Recreational Forest to control development and activities in close proximity to Bridal Veil Falls, High Falls, and the Visitors Center. It also has the potential to provide excellent trail connections, such as a much faster way to get to Bridal Veil Falls. Local lawmakers are also discussing other benefits, such as additional parking and swimming at Lake DERA, the lake once used by DuPont employees.

This development was possible thanks to cooperation and steady work by DuPont management, local lawmakers, including Chuck McGrady and Chris Whitmire, and Agricultural Commissioner Steve Troxler.  The agreement will allow the NC National Guard to use the former industrial site for training and other logistics.  The site has been undergoing environmental study and remediation since the closing in 2002.

See important information published in links below.

 

More Information

DuPont Corp. gifts ‘Donut Hole’ to state
Hendersonville Lightning 9/14/2016

State Dept of Environmental Quality page about site remediation

Notice about property environmental remediation

FAQ from NC Forest Service about plans for property

Friends of DuPont Forest supports Remediation Plan for Forest

Crowds converge on Hooker Falls. Photo by David Brown
Crowds converge on Hooker Falls. Photo by David Brown

Crowds converge on Hooker Falls. Photo by David Brown

by Nancy Kay

The NC state budget has been finalized and it’s all fantastic news for DuPont State Recreational Forest. The initial House budget called for substantial financial support for the Forest, but the Senate version allocated no funding whatsoever. Special thanks to Representative Chuck McGrady and Senator Tom Apodaca for doing the nudging needed to help Senate members come to their senses.

In a recent general assembly bulletin, NC Representative Chuck McGrady reported:

After many long days and nights, the budget is finally done. The Conference Committee reconciled the differences between the House and Senate versions of the budget, and it was publicly released. This conferenced version of the budget cannot be amended.

Now, here’s the wonderful news. The budget provides $629,335 in recurring funds to support nine positions and associated operating expenses at DuPont State Recreational Forest. Additionally, the budget earmarks $3,000,000 (yep, you read all those zeros correctly!) for the construction and improvement of additional bathrooms, utilities, and parking lots.

These funds will allow development of infrastructure within the Forest to help support its massive and ever growing visitation. The major bathroom project will be at Hooker Falls. This should alleviate the need for visitors to relieve themselves amongst the trees and shrubs along the trail.

Now, let the construction begin!

NOTICE OF INTENT TO REMEDIATE

Risk-Based RemediationPursuant to Part 8 of Article 9 of Chapter 130A of the General Statutes

Former DuPont Brevard Site

1300 Staton Road

Cedar Mountain, Transylvania County, North Carolina

EPA ID No. NCD 003 152 329

This is a notice to the public of a request by E.I. du Pont de Nemours and Company (DuPont) to pursue remediation of the contamination at the Former DuPont Brevard Facility (site) using site-specific remediation standards as opposed to unrestricted use standards. Contaminated site media include groundwater, soil, sediment and surface water. Information about the nature and extent of the contamination at the site is presented in the Remedial Investigation Report which is available electronically for review at: https://deq.nc.gov/about/divisions/waste-management/hazardous-waste-section/dupont-facility-brevard-nc.

DuPont has been performing investigation and remediation activities at the site since the 1990s. The site was used to produce high purity silicon from 1957 to 1962 and medical imaging (X-ray films) from 1962 to 2002. Approx-imately 1,100 samples were collected at the site during four comprehensive investigations and numerous remedial actions have been completed. Key remedial actions include demolition and removal activities of the former plant, removal and recycling/relocation of X-ray film waste, installation of cap/covers over former landfill/disposal areas, and installation of a groundwater treatment system for the DuPont State Recreational Forest (DSRF) Visitor Center water supply well. To satisfy additional remedial action objectives for the site, active remediation is proposed at two evaluation units (Solid Waste Management Unit [SWMU] 11 and SWMU 17. A vegetative cap will be designed and installed for final closure of SWMU 11 and in-situ solidification/stabilization for soil and waste will be designed and installed within SWMU 17. Institutional controls and engineering controls (e.g., fencing) will also be implemented throughout the site. Site investigations and proposed additional remedial actions are documented in reports that are available for review at the Transyl-vania County Library in Brevard, North Carolina and online at: http://www.uspioneer.com/projects/FormerDupontBrevardFacility/download.htm.

DuPont is preparing a remedial action plan in accordance with N.C.G.S. 130A-310.65 through 310.77 which allows use of site-specific remediation standards that are expected to pose no unacceptable risk to human health and the environment. Once the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality (NC DEQ) approves the proposed remedial action plan, a second Public Notice will be issued providing for a 45-day public comment period.

In addition, a public meeting will be held on Thursday June 23rd from 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm in the Rogow Room at the Transylvania Public Library. Information about the proposed remediation action plan will be presented during the meeting. DuPont representatives will be available to answer questions and receive comments from the public. Comments received on or before July 25, 2016 will be incorporated, as appropriate, in the remedial action plan.

For more information or if you would like to submit a comment, please contact:

Mr. Jamie VanBuskirk

DuPont Corporate Remediation Group

6324 Fairview Road

Charlotte, NC 28210

704.362.6626

Jamie.A.Vanbuskirk@dupont.com

T/5/26/1TP-62332

Our previous post included the public notice for a public hearing on the proposed remediation plan for the 420 acre “donut hole” inside DuPont State Recreational Forest.  This tract was originally an industrial site (DuPont) and has been in environmental study and remediation for the past 14 years.

The proposed plan has been presented to both Friends of DuPont Forest and the DuPont State Forest Advisory Committee for review.  Neither organization has expressed concerns about the plan, and FODF president Bev Parlier stated that her organization supports the proposal.    The remediation plan is focused toward the proposed transfer of the property to the Division of Forest Resources, and is predicated on certain restrictions on the future use of the tract (such as non-residential use).

The Division of Environmental Quality has posted detailed technical information about the proposed remediation plan, which is the subject of the Public Hearing on June 23rd.

Additionally, the following Frequently Asked Questions has been posted on the NC Forest Service website about the future of the 420 acre tract inside DuPont State Recreational Forest.

At the April 19th Annual Meeting for FODF, Forest Supervisor Jason Guidry outlined a user fee proposal to help manage surging growth, pay for needed facility upgrades and protect delicate habitats.

This proposal has been made after consultation with the DuPont State Recreational Forest Advisory Committee and the Friends of DuPont Forest, both of which are supportive of the need for a fee structure. Both Guidry and FODF President Bev Parlier highlighted the critical need for bathroom facilities at the popular Hooker Falls Access, which is often overrun with people at peak times. After a question and answer session, which clarified that funds would be used locally to address the needs of surging visitation, those attending the meeting were generally supportive.

Learn more about the fee proposal at Blue Ridge Now article dated April 20th.

RALEIGH – DuPont State Recreational Forest will be closing several trails at the High Falls Access Area to prevent further impacts to blue ghost firefly populations. The closures will take place at night from mid-May through early June.

The temporary trail closures are in response to an overwhelming number of visitors during the 2015 blue ghost season, typically a three-week period in late spring. Forest officials observed a high level of habitat disturbance and disruption by the large nighttime crowds, which could have long-term impacts on local populations of fireflies. Forest officials ask that the public observe trail closure signs and stay out of closed areas.

“Our mission is to protect all forest resources, including the blue ghost habitat, so that everyone can continue to enjoy and benefit from these unique insects,” said Jason Guidry, forest supervisor. “The blue ghost fireflies are known to exist across the southern Appalachians. However, DuPont State Recreational Forest has become synonymous with the firefly through social media and news articles in recent years.”

Other public lands in neighboring counties are likely to offer nighttime viewing opportunities for the blue ghost firefly without the crowding, Guidry said.

The Friends of DuPont Forest supports the trail closures and has suspended its annual guided tours of the insects.

“The FODF’s mission is to enhance the enjoyment of all that the forest has to offer while protecting its natural resources,” said Bev Parlier, the group’s president. “To support the N.C. Forest Service, the FODF has decided to temporarily suspend our guided tours of the blue ghost fireflies.”

Information about the trail closures can be found at forest kiosks, at the DuPont State Recreational Forest Visitor Center and on the forest’s website, http://ncforestservice.gov/Contacts/dsf.htm.

The popular waterfalls tour of DuPont waterfalls has been scheduled for Mother’s Day Weekend, May 7 & 8th.

DuPont State Recreational Forest
Mother’s Day Tour: May 7 & 8, 2016
Fall Tour: October 8 & 9, 2016
9:00 am – 2:30 pm

More Information:

The Friends of DuPont will celebrate the 15th anni-versary of the state’s acquisition of “The Heart of the Forest” Saturday, Dec. 19, from 1-3 p.m. at the Aleen Steinberg Visitor Center. There will be a special DuPont cake and hot cider, as well as recollections of what occurred 15 years ago.


Take a look back at the highly controversial “fight for the waterfalls” in our Friends of the Falls history page.

Friends of DuPont Forest has partnered with National Geographic to create a Trails Illustrated Topographic Map of DuPont State Recreational Forest. This map includes suggested routes highlighted with descriptions and elevation profiles. Routes were designed by FODF members and can be used by all users of the forest.

Learn more about new map!

October 2, 2015

Dear Friends of DuPont Forest,

I understand that the news story from WLOS that came out earlier this week has raised some questions and concerns about the NC National Guard using the DuPont plant site for a variety of uses.  I wanted to give you my perspective in hopes that it would clear up some questions.

For the last fifteen years there has been continual interest from multiple parties (the State, DuPont Corporation, the FODF) in having the ‘doughnut hole’ become part of DuPont State Recreational Forest.  Most people are in support of this but support alone is not enough. From my limited understanding of the process and discussions to date, there are numerous obstacles to address in terms of environmental regulations and assessing public risk before anything happens that will affect DSRF and its users.

As far as the NC National Guard is concerned, they do have an interest in being a partner with the NC Forest Service in planning for uses of the DuPont plant site if it does come under the control of the State.  To my knowledge, everything is preliminary and nothing is decided on the plans for the property. The NC National Guard has expressed that their intent is to expand training capabilities in public safety and emergency missions, as well as civil engineering projects that benefit the citizens of the State.

The WLOS story appears to have been generated from interest in the State’s new budget, which became law just over two weeks ago.  There is funding in the current State budget to begin the planning of a joint facility for the Department of Agriculture and the NC National Guard but not for any construction.

I agree with most that this property becoming part of DSRF would be a benefit to our users and help with some of the pressures of our popularity and visitation.
From my point of view, the NC National Guard would be a partner that will work with us to maximize the site for the State’s benefit, not limit it.  They have diverse resources that could be put to use, with the new loop road at High Falls Access Area being a recent example.

From working with them on that project, I was impressed that they took public safety and the public’s perception of their work as seriously as we do at DSRF.  If you read some of my past FODF newsletter articles, I gave some examples of what the NC National Guard does outside of military operations. In my brief time with them and their leadership, I came away with a better and more informed opinion on working with the Guard.
At a State-wide level, the NC National Guard (as part of the Department of Public Safety) and the NC Forest Service have been emergency response partners for decades, working together in communities impacted by wildfire, flooding, and storm damage.  I hope it doesn’t come to be but follow the news over the next few days as Hurricane Joaquin approaches North Carolina; I’m sure you see these agencies at work, either planning for or implementing natural disaster relief.

I want to assure the FODF that we will continue to act in the best interest of DSRF’s users and our citizens at large. I will continue to keep the FODF leadership informed on any progress on this and all fronts.
Please send any concerns or questions to the FODF Board as you see fit and I’ll endeavor to address them in a timely manner.

I appreciate the opportunity to express these thoughts.

Sincerely.

Jason I. Guidry

Forest Supervisor
NC Registered Forester #1751
DuPont State Recreational Forest
North Carolina Forest Service
Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services