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.


Jason I. Guidry

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

Black Bears

The population of black bears (Ursus americanus) in our state has increased tenfold over the last 30 years, and the current population is estimated to be about 20,000 ani-mals. Not only are they growing in numbers, they are also getting larger in size and producing higher numbers of cubs. It is believed that this is due to increased food availability.

The largest black bear ever taken anywhere was an 880-pound giant from Craven County, North Carolina in 1998. Bears weighing in at over 700 pounds are now being taken every year, though bears of that size were a rarity not too many years ago.

Black bears are sighted within the DSRF frequent-ly. FODF member, Nancy Kay recently had a sow and three cubs cross the trail in front of her as she was horse-back riding on Hickory Mountain Road. A sow and three cubs were subsequently sighted on the edge of Rocky Ridge Trail. Here it does not get cold enough or for long enough to drive our bears into real hibernation. During winter they will sleep more but they also continue to forage for food.

Lichen Grasshopper

The large rock outcrops Lichen Grasshoperwith the moss pads on Big Rock, Cedar Rock and other trails in DSRF are home to an attractive grasshopper known as the Lichen Grasshopper or the Rock-loving Grasshopper. Trimerotropis saxatilis is one of only two species in its genus that inhabit North Carolina. The Natural Heritage Program lists it in the category of “significantly rare,” and it is found only on the rock outcrops.

This non-migratory species overwinters as eggs that hatch in the spring and produce adults in late spring. The adults persist until frost. They are known to feed on li-chens and moss. Coloration is variable but tends to match the rocks where they live.

If you walk among the moss pads on the rock outcrops you might scare one up. They typically fly off only a short ways and land back on the rock. The one pictured here flew off at least 15 times before it tired and was successfully netted.


Bird authorities consider the raven (Corvus corax) to be one of the most intelligent birds in North America, and we are lucky to have them here. They live in all of the western states and across almost all of Canada and Alaska. Here in the eastern United States, they inhabit only a narRavensrow band of territory encompass-ing the Appalachian Mountains.

With a wingspan of up to 53 inches they are almost twice the size of crows and have a thick neck, shaggy throat feathers, and a massive beak. They are entirely black, right down to their legs, eyes and beak. Their voices are incredibly varied from low deep baritone croaks to high bell-like twanging notes.

After rebaiting my game camera sites, ravens are usually the first birds to arrive, suggesting that they actively patrol areas where they have previously found food.

High-interest Critter Update

The tagged turkey vulture reported in the July issue of this newsletter was seen almost daily from March 16 until May 14 when it stopped coming to the site of the camera trap bait. On July 7 this bird made a one-day return to dine with other vul-tures and then went back into hiding. It returned again on Au-gust 3, 13, 15 and 17 but has not been seen since. The USDA taggers said that no one has reported seeing it during its time away from here.

And Blondie the coyote (also featured in the July issue) was seen on June 11 and then disappeared until she reappeared be-fore the cameras again on August 9 and 19. During her absence it was thought that Blondie (assumed to be a female) was per-haps staying in a den with pups and was depending on her life-time mate to bring home the bacon. Recently, however, a smaller version of a blonde coyote was caught on camera with another classically-colored coyote by her side. Was this a thin-ner Blondie or one of her relatives? Your guess is as good as mine.


Article and Photos by Alan Cameron

See more photographs and more articles in the October Friends of DuPont Forest Newletter

DuPont State Forested Suggested Routes

Click to open more sample pages in PDF form

Friends of DuPont Forest has published a new 18-page booklet detailing suggested trail routes around the Forest.   Because of the crowded trails around the primary waterfalls (High Falls, Triple Falls, and Hooker Falls), this guide focuses on other routes that avoid these high traffic areas and reveal other interesting features of the Forest.

The Guide is $10 plus $1.25 shipping, and proceeds help support Friends of DuPont Forest in its critical mission of maintaining and improving the 90 miles of multi-use trails.

View  sample pages from the Guide.

Note: Guides to the popular primary waterfalls can be obtained at the Aleen Steinberg Visitors Center.

Check out the Friends of DuPont Forest newsletter to learn more about what’s going on in the Forest.

  • Prescribed Burning in the Forest
  • A Walk on the Wild Side (Beaver & Wild Turkey)
  • Unprecedented Turnout for Blue Ghosts
  • The history of the Airstrip in the Forest, Part 2
  • FODF elects new Board members & officers
  • May Tour de Falls Succesful
  • Volunteer Appreciation
  • and more

Visit Newsletters Page.

Support the Forest by joining FODF and receiving the newsletter in your mailbox (paper or email)!

DuPont State Recreational Forest contributes a great deal to our local economy, drawing many thousands of visitors to the area and encouraging them to stay, eat, shop, and spend at our local businesses. Until recently, there hasn’t been a program in place to welcome members of the business community into the Friends of DuPont Forest family. We now have an FODF Business Membership Program that allows business owners to contribute to the success of the Forest which, in turn, brings so many customers to their doors.

The new FODF Business Membership Program offers benefits such as exposure on the newly revamped FODF website and within the FODF newsletter. Businesses also receive a window decal as a display of their support. Perhaps the greatest benefit of all, though, is the knowledge that businesses are being responsible members of the local community and supporting a valuable local resource.

Please check out the recently revised FODF website (www.dupontforest.com), particularly the Local Goods and Services page for a list of the local businesses that are supporting FODF and the Forest.

If you are a business owner and would like to become a business member of Friends of DuPont Forest, use the Local Goods and Services webpage to link to the membership application. Also, feel free to contact Business Membership Chair, Valerie Naylor at fodfbizmembership@dupontforest.com or 828-775-7334 for more information.

Newest Business Members

Black Bear Business Member

  • Deer Ridge Property Management

Blue Ghost Business Members

  • Shoal Creek LLC
  • Valley View Cabins