Roadside fencing to be installed at DuPont State Recreational Forest to improve safety

Permanent wooden fencing will be installed along a 2.7 mile stretch of Staton Road at DuPont State Recreational Forest in Transylvania County to increase safety for pedestrians and vehicles. An independent contractor will install the posts beginning the first week of April 2022. Forest officials anticipate completion of the work by late May or early June.

“The safety of our visitors is a top priority for us and the mix of traffic and pedestrian traffic along Staton Road is an ongoing public safety concern,” said Jason Guidry, DSRF forest supervisor. “We hope to mitigate this by installing permanent, roadside fencing to reduce roadside parking.”

Roadside parking in high traffic areas create safety hazards for people as they enter and exit the roadside as well as for those driving on the road. In 2020, DSRF installed metal T-stakes and orange safety netting to limit roadside parkingduring the COVID-19 pandemic. This measure reduced parking along Staton Road but did not decrease visitation to the forest, which saw record numbers in 2020 and 2021.

“Last year with the temporary T-stakes in place, we had fewer safety hazards in the roadway and fewer negative impacts to forest facilities and natural areas,” Guidry said. “The wooden fencing will permanently replace the metal T-stakes, making it easier for drivers to see and providing a better barrier between pedestrians and motor vehicles to enhance safety for everyone.”

The fencing installation will occur along Staton Road primarily between the Lake Imaging and High Falls/Visitor Center parking lots, where roadside parking has been prevalent. The roadside fencing will be three feet in height and consists of wooden post segments.

During the installation, parking will still be available at all DSRF parking lots including those at Hooker Falls, High Falls/Visitor Center and Lake Imaging. Visitors to DSRF should remember that, similar to most public lands in Western North Carolina, parking fills up quickly on weekends and holidays. Forest officials encourage visitors to plan their visits for less popular days such as Tuesdays and Wednesdays, or to arrive early in the morning or later in the afternoon.

DSRF encompasses more than 12,400 acres which includes multiple waterfalls and mountain lakes. DSRF has more than 40 miles of multiuse roads and nearly 60 miles of multiuse trails supporting the forest’s recreational opportunities. The forest is managed for natural resource conservation, scenic enjoyment and recreational purposes including horseback riding, hiking, bicycling, hunting, fishing and other sustainable activities. DSRF strives to provide an exemplary model of scientifically sound and ecologically based natural resource management for the social and economic benefits of a diverse community of users. DSRF is also required to protect and restore natural areas to meet the intent of a grant agreement designating most of the forest as a dedicated nature preserve.

DSRF is managed by the N.C. Forest Service, a division of the N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.