Runners participating in the Raven Rock Rumble this Saturday morning may crowd the trails and parking lots at Raven Rock State Park for a couple of hours.
"Campers and hikers, please use caution when approaching park gate and watch for participants during the event times," the state parks' alerts page says.
The Raven Rock Rumble is a 5- and 10-mile trail run. The 5-mile run will encompass the park's Campbell Creek Loop. The 10-mile course covers the Raven Rock Loop, Little Creek Loop and an out-and-back on the Northington Ferry Trail, and then finishes with the Campbell Creek Loop.
The race is limited to 300 participants; 79 are listed in the race's 2011 results.
The race starts at 9 a.m. and the event concludes with awards at 11 a.m. Registration and packet pickup begin at 7 a.m.
Runners are to use the overflow parking lot off of Moccasin Branch Road.
If you're interested in running, there's a $30 fee for the 5-mile run and $40 for the 10-mile. Online registration closes Thursday.
Raven Rock State Park is nine miles west of Lillington in Harnett County.
A controlled burn at Pilot Mountain State Park that grew out of control and covered more than 600 acres was mostly under control Monday evening, reports from the area say.
The park remains closed as officials finish extinguishing the fire and surveying its damage.
The Mount Airy News said 675 acres had been burned along with some fencing at overlooks in the park. The fire was 80 percent under control as of Monday afternoon.
The Mount Airy News report also refers to "some benches in a visitors center being burned" but no other report makes reference to fire damage at the park's visitors center.
The park has been closed since the fire jumped the initial fire line last Thursday, and park officials say it will remain closed through November 15, WFMY said. The Yadkin River section of the park and the corridor trail will stay open.
The Stokes News said the fire began as a controlled burn of three acres on the slopes of Pilot Mountain and grew to about 800 acres by Sunday afternoon. At one point the fire jumped the park boundaries onto adjacent private land along Pinnacle Hotel Road.
Eight local volunteer fire departments helped state parks and state Forest Service personnel fight the fire.
"A total of 70 personnel, and equipment including three bulldozers, utility vehicles, a helicopter and a scout plane, have been used so far to fight the fire," the Mount Airy News said.
A photo that WCNC in Charlotte credits to "Torry Nergart Via Twitter" shows fire on the mountain at Pilot Mountain State Park.
The Stokes News photo below shows smoke from a fire at Pilot Mountain State Park.
We got word over the weekend about a new web page for people interested in forestry, the Top 100 Forestry Resources, which we have added to the links pages at Carolina Outdoors Guide.
The new page is part of ForestryDegree.net, an informational site for forestry students, and was compiled by Amy Eckhart, the site's primary content specialist.
Eckhart says she did extensive research on everything from conservation, wildlife, environment and overall forestry sites "that promote the health of Mother Nature and our society" to compile the list.
"My primary goal on a personal level is to help share my resource for all those who are interested in conserving our land and wildlife in the world and, on a professional level, telling people about forestry and getting involved on an educational level," she said in an email to Carolina Outdoors Guide.
Wesites linked from the page are about conservation, silviculture (the practice of controlling the establishment, growth, composition, health and quality of forests), forestry in national and state parks, the business of forestry and general forestry topics.
The links pages at Carolina Outdoors Guide have more than 50 sources for information about outdoor recreation from federal, state and local governments, nonprofit advocacy and support groups, and individuals' and businesses' websites.
Among national parks in North Carolina, only the Wright Brothers National Memorial at Kitty Hawk charges an entrance fee. But, if you visit on November 11 you'll save $4 for every member of your party who is 16 years old or older.
There are similarly small fees at several day use areas in the three national forests in North Carolina. For instance, if you are in the Highlands/Cashiers area this Sunday you can save $2 each on visits to Whitewater Falls and Whiteside Mountain.
We noted work to rehab the Appalachian Trail's Cold Springs Shelter in a roundup of National Forest Service announcements in September, which said the work would go through mid-December. But the Forest Service said last week the shelter has reopened.
The Nantahala Hiking Club repaired the bottom seal and footers to add stability to the shelter, the Forest Service says.
Cold Springs Shelter is one of about 250 shelters along the 2,181-mile Appalachian National Scenic Trail available for hikers.
The shelter is in the Nantahala National Forest 1.3 miles north of Burningtown Gap, a trailhead accessed from State Road 1310 (Wayah Road), between U.S. 64 west of Franklin and U.S. 19 at the Nantahala River rafting put-in location, according to the Nantahala Hiking Club.
The project includes construction of a new one-mile Blue Loop, which will "open a large new section of Museum Park to the public," according to a news release announcing the project last summer. The Blue Loop will be open to walking and cycling and will circle a forest and meadow. It will be part of Raleigh's Capital Area Greenway Trail System.
Existing trails at Museum Park, the longest of which is flanked by artwork, will remain open during the project.
A $550,000 gift from Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina to the art museum is paying for the new trail and other work at Museum Park.
Three recent incidents involving bears in the Panthertown Valley Backcountry Area of the Nantahala National Forest have prompted a warning from the National Forest Service.
The Forest Service "is discouraging people from backcountry camping and from bringing food into the Panthertown Valley area," a news release says. Camp in areas that are used infrequently if you choose to camp in the area, it says.
Recent bear encounters near Mac’s Gap, Green Valley and the Little Green Mountain area resulted in damaged tents and stolen food, but no injuries.
The 6,300-acre backcountry northeast of Cashiers has about 25 miles of trails offering routes to scenic views, rock outcrops and waterfalls.
Here are some more opportunities for camping in the Nantahala National Forest.
They were closed Friday in anticipation of Hurricane Sandy, which made landfall in New Jersey Monday night.
In the Croatan, which is south of New Bern, "There was little-to-no damage to campgrounds or day-use areas in the national forest," a Forest Service news release says.
On the Outer Banks, the National Park Service says in an alert on its webpages for Cape Hatteras National Seashore, Fort Raleigh National Historic Site and Wright Brothers National Memorial they hope to reopen the parks Wednesday after completing damage assessments.
In the Smokies, Newfound Gap Road (U.S. 441), Clingmans Dome Road, Cataloochee Entrance Road and Old N.C. 284 between Big Creek and Cataloochee are closed because of snow and ice.
@BLUE_RDGE_PKWY said this morning, "Snow, ice, and high winds in all parts of the Parkway this morning... many closed gates... travel not recommended."
Weather-related closing are not uncommon in the mountains this time of year, so be sure to check with the parks if you have plans to visit.
Tweets in the last hour by national parks units that make up the Outer Banks Group - Cape Hatteras National Seashore, Fort Raleigh National Historic Site and Wright Brothers National Memorial - say they have closed all park operations because of inclement weather related to Hurricane Sandy.
@CapeHatterasNPS: Park facilities will remain closed through Monday due to Hurricane Sandy impacts.
@FortRaleighNPS: Park facilities will remain closed through Monday due to Hurricane Sandy impacts.
@WrightBrosNPS: Park facilities will remain closed through Monday due to Hurricane Sandy impacts.
On Friday, the parks announced that visitor centers at the three parks would close at the end of the day Saturday and that Ocracoke Campground on Hatteras Island would close for the season at noon Saturday.
Three state parks have closed in anticipation of bad weather and other parks east of Interstate 95 are subject to closing on short notice as Hurricane Sandy passes the North Carolina coast.
Additionally, ferry service and camping is suspended at Hammocks Beach State Park, the four-wheel-drive access beach at Fort Fisher State Recreation Area is closed, and all trials at Pettigrew State Park are closed.
Before visiting a state park east of I-95, call the individual park office for conditions or check the state parks' Alerts page.