RALEIGH – DuPont State Recreational Forest (DSRF) 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 approximately mid-May through early June. Visitors are welcome to explore and enjoy the forest at all access areas until 10 p.m., the official closing time of DSRF.
The temporary trail closures are in response to an overwhelming number of visitors during the 2015 Blue Ghost season, typically a 3-week period in late spring. Forest officials observed a high level of habitat disturbance and disruption by the large crowds, which could have long term impacts on the local populations of fireflies. Forest officials ask that the public observe trail closure signs and closed areas at all times.
“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,” stated Jason Guidry, DSRF 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.”
In addition to informing the public about the temporary trail closures, the N.C. Forest Service wants the public to know that other public lands in neighboring counties are likely to offer viewing opportunities for the Blue Ghost Firefly without the crowding.
The Friends of DuPont Forest (FODF) supports the trail closures and has suspended their 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,” added Sara Landry, Executive Director of the Friends of DuPont Forest, “To support the N.C. Forest Service, the FODF has decided to temporarily suspend our guided tours of the Blue Ghost fireflies.”
Information regarding the trail closures can be found at forest kiosks, at the DuPont State Recreational Forest Visitor Center, and on the DSRF website ncforestservice.gov/Contacts/dsf.htm