DuPont State Forest Trail Improvements
Visitors to DuPont State Forest are invited to enjoy several recently improved trails and participate in a litter pickup for National Trails Day on Saturday.
The American Hiking Society declared the first Saturday in June National Trails Day to recognize the public benefit of recreational trails.
Henderson and Transylvania counties have a multitude of trails, most on public land. Land managers in DuPont and nearby Pisgah National Forest depend heavily on volunteer groups to help maintain the trails.
The Southern Off-Road Bicycle Association (SORBA) under the leadership of Woody Keen, a professional trail builder, just finished repairs to the steep downhill section of Burnt Mountain Trail in DuPont.
Much of the trail was reconstructed last fall by Keen's company, Trail Dynamics. The contract work was made possible by a grant from the Recreational Trails Program administered by the North Carolina Division of Parks and Recreation. Grant money must be matched by local funding or in-kind service, according to DuPont Forest Supervisor David Brown. The work contributed by SORBA was part of the match.
The entire trail has been improved and is now open for use, Brown said. The steep section coming down the western side of the mountain to Corn Mill Shoals Trail is considered strenuous for hikers and highly technical for bikers.
"I do not recommend this trail for beginning bikers or equestrians," Brown said. "It is steep with lots of rocks. SORBA did a great job stabilizing the trail to prevent degradation and erosion, but it did not make it an easy trail to hike or ride."
Despite the trail's difficulty, many visitors will enjoy hiking or riding up the eastern end of the trail, then turning around and coming down the same way, Brown said.
The Nooks trail that turns off Burnt Mountain Trail has also been reopened after part of the trail was rerouted.
Several groups have helped to maintain and improve DuPont State Forest's 80 miles of roads and trails. The Pisgah Trail Blazers, an equestrian group, come out one weekend per month and work on trails and forest facilities. The group recently had a combined workday with the Friends of DuPont Forest to cut encroaching brush on several trails including Briery Fork and Twin Oaks Trails.
Friends of DuPont Forest has financed many trail projects in the past five years. The organization is sponsoring a litter pick up along public roads in the forest Saturday.
"This is another example of the excellent volunteer support we receive at the forest," Brown said. "The litter pick up benefits everyone who visits or drives through the forest. We are fortunate to have such an active Friends group."
He added: "I hope lots of people come out and celebrate National Trails Day by enjoying our trails or other trails in the area. We are very fortunate to have so many trails in Western North Carolina for the public to enjoy."
For more information, contact DuPont State Forest at 877-6527.