Saturday, July 20, 2024

Get outside and help the North Carolina Coastal Land Trust celebrate ‘National Trails Day’

A couple paddles down the serene Waccamaw River. (Port City Daily photo/Courtesy Christine Ellis)
A couple paddles down the “unique” Waccamaw River. (Port City Daily photo/Courtesy Christine Ellis)

BRUNSWICK COUNTY — Through conservation, education and promotion of good land stewardship, the North Carolina Coastal Land Trust is working to conserve important lands throughout our states coastal regions. For “National Trails Day” on June 3, it is hosting a series of events aimed at getting people outside to enjoy the natural resources North Carolina has to offer.

Stephanie Borrett, with the Trust, said that, in North Carolina, June 3 is also “Land Trust Day.'”

According to the Land Trust’s promotional materials, “National Trails Day is the only nationally coordinated event designed to unite all muscle-powered trail activities with the goal of connecting more people to trails.”

“We have three activities planned for the day, a Waccamaw River paddle, and two different hikes, one in Brunswick Nature Park in Brunswick County, and one at the Everett Creek Preserve in Onslow County,” Borrett said.

All the events of free, you just need to sign up through the Land Trust website.

“Come out and enjoy the land”

“The Waccamaw River is a, ‘National Blue Trail River,’” Borrrett said. “This is an opportunity to get out on the river with a guide from Clifton Landing, and see some of the unique features of the river.”

According to Borett, the Waccamaw River is an “extremely unique ecosystem.” The Waccamaw River flows out of Waccamaw Lake, which is one of the “mysterious,” Carolina Bays.

“Carolina Bays are extremely mysterious, scientists don’t know exactly why they are formed,” Borrett said. “There are quite a few theories, but they’re only found in the Carolinas, and aligned in a Southeast to Northwest axis.”

“They’re all very shallow, and all produce very unique ecosystems because of their chemical make-up,” she added.

Borrett said that the pants and animals that live in them, and near them, don’t live anywhere else.

“There are types of mollusks and snails that live anywhere else on earth, these Carolina Bay’s really produce a lot of biodiversity,” Borrett said. “The ecology is just bizarre.”

The Coastal Land Trust will be offering 10 canoes on a first come, first serve basis, but there will be space for participants to bring their own boats as well. Options will include a two-to-three-hour trip, as well as a five-to-six-hour trip.

Janice Allen, Deputy Director of the Coastal Land Trust, will be in attendance to answer questions about the work being done to preserve this ecosystem.

The hike in Brunswick Nature Park will be led by one of the Land Trust’s volunteers, who is “thoroughly familiar with the park.”

Monarch Butterflies, like these the one pictured, are on the decline. The North Carolina Coastal Land Trust is working to restore spaces for these creatures to be able to survive. (Port City Daily photo/Courtesy Mike Vaughan)
Monarch Butterflies, like these the one pictured, are on the decline. The North Carolina Coastal Land Trust is working to restore spaces for these creatures to be able to survive. (Port City Daily photo/Courtesy Mike Vaughan)

“The Brunswick Nature Park is actually land that the Coastal Land Trust saved, and then immediately gave back to Brunswick County to manage as a County Park,” Borrett said. “There will be hiking on the trails there, but in that park there is also access to Town Creek, as well as horseback and bike riding.”

But perhaps the most unique opportunity provided by the Coastal Land Trust for National Trails Day, is access to the newly preserved Everett Creek, in Onslow County.

“Everett Creek Preserve is a preserve of the Land Trust, and it is definitely a sneak peek kind of deal,” Borrett said. “It’s not currently open to the public with regularity.”

Coreopsis, a pollinator plant, is one of the 3,000 the Coastal Land Trust planted last week. (Port City Daily photo/Courtesy Stephanie Borett)
Coreopsis, a pollinator plant, is one of the 3,000 the Coastal Land Trust planted last week. (Port City Daily photo/Courtesy Stephanie Borett)

According to Borrett, the Land Trust has been using Everett Creek as a testing ground of sorts, planting over 3,000 pollinator plants in an effort to save the declining populations of pollinator species like bees, moths, and butterflies.

“The hike in Everett Creek will be taking a look at that meadow, and looking at these plants that were just planted,” Borrett said. “There will also be several miles of hiking trails people will have access to as well.”

Borrett says that the Everett Creek Preserve is one of their bigger projects, and having the opportunity to get people out to see what they’ve been working on.

“We don’t just conserve the land, but work on the land in order to have a bigger impact outside the area,” Borrett said. “When you see these pollinators, they’re going to go pollinate other species and help our food sources be maintained, and that’s pretty powerful.”

For more information on the North Carolina Coastal Land Trust, or to get involved, visit its website at coastallandtrust.org. For the latest events, and to see what projects the gorup is working on, follow its Facebook page.

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