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.
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.
National and state parks in North Carolina have announced closings and cancellations as the state awaits Hurricane Sandy's trek up the East Coast.
The Cape Lookout advisory says visitors staying in the island rental cabins or on the beaches are advised to leave the islands or to seek areas that are protected from overwash. Vehicle ferries were to stop taking visitors to the islands today and work to remove visitors.
Visitor Centers in the Outer Banks Group, which includes Cape Hatteras National Seashore, Fort Raleigh National Historic Site and Wright Brothers National Memorial, will remain open until close of business Saturday then remain closed until further notice, a news release for the three parks says.
Ocracoke Campground, the last Cape Hatteras campground open this season, will close at noon on Saturday for the season (the season would have extended through Monday).
Park beaches at Hatteras will close to off-road vehicles by 5 p.m. on Saturday and remain closed until further notice.
The Forest Service plans to keep roads in Croatan National Forest open through the weekend.
North Carolina state parks affected by the storm - Jockey's Ridge, Dismal Swamp, Carolina Beach, Hammocks Beach, Lake Waccamaw, Merchants Millpond, Pettigrew and Goose Creek - will announce plans individually, possibly on short notice.
In addition to those parks, Fort Fisher State Recreation Area has announced that its Fall Festival and Haunted Trail scheduled for Saturday evening have been cancelled and will not be rescheduled. The Halloween program at Cliffs of the Neuse State Park set for Saturday has been cancelled as well.
Hurricane Sandy is being called a major threat to portions of the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast.
Campout! Carolina is an annual event that encourages individuals and community groups across the state to show their support for a healthy environment by camping out in their backyard or favorite camping site, the website says. EarthShare North Carolina, a coalition of over 60 non-profit organizations working throughout North Carolina to preserve and protect our environment, is in its sixth year of sponsoring Campout! Carolina.
In addition to enjoying the fun of getting outdoors, if you register your campout you'll be entered into a drawing for a REI Kingdom 6 Tent. Early registrants qualified to win tickets to last weekend's Shakori Hills GrassRoots Festival of Music & Dance.
After your camping trip, get into the photo contest for a $50 REI gift card.
You can also get your campout plotted on a map of participants, which was showing about 100 campsites across the state as of this writing.
And, if you're looking for a place to camp besides your backyard, Carolina Outdoors Guide, which is proud to be on the Campout! Carolina site, has directories of campgrounds and campsites across the state that range from full-service family camping to primitive hike-in and canoe-in sites at North Carolina's national parks, national forests, state parks and state forests, Department of Defense installations, and Corps of Engineers and Tennessee Valley Authority reservoirs. These are all public sites supported by your tax dollars, so they are there for you to use and enjoy.
The state Wildlife Resources Commission announced today that it will open approximately 1,100 miles of hatchery-supported trout waters in 25 western counties at 7 a.m. on April 7. The season will run until next March, a news release says.
Hatchery-supported trout waters, marked by green-and-white signs, are stocked from March until August every year, depending on the individual stream.
Commission personnel will stock nearly 877,000 trout, with 96 percent of the stocked fish averaging 10 inches in length and the other fish exceeding 14 inches.
The Commission's Division of Inland Fisheries operates six fish hatcheries that raise a variety of fish for North Carolina's public waters. Trout in state-stocked mountain streams primarily come from the Armstrong State Fish Hatchery in Marion and the Bobby N. Setzer State Fish Hatchery, below, in Pisgah Forest.
The state's six hatcheries are open to the public for tours, and some have picnic areas. The Setzer hatchery has a nature trail and trailheads that lead into the Pisgah National Forest near Brevard.
The Edenton National Fish Hatchery in Edenton is open for tours and has a public aquarium and boardwalk nature trail through wetlands.
Show your support for North Carolina’s environment by camping out this weekend, October 7 to 9, with Campout! Carolina.
Campout! Carolina is an annual program from EarthShare North Carolina, a group of 66 non-profit organizations that work together to educate the general public about the value of protecting North Carolina’s natural resources.
Last year, more than 8,400 people from across the state joined Campout! Carolina, according to its website. This year's is the fifth annual statewide campout.
Any night outdoors this weekend can declare itself part of Campout! Carolina, and the program has affiliated events, including the Shakori Hills Grassroots Festival of Music & Dance, a family-friendly festival with four stages of music, plus dance, art, education, games and other fun from Thursday through Sunday. Here's a closer look at Shakori Hills, which is on a farm in Silk Hope in Chatham County.
If you register on the Campout! Carolina website, you could win a four-day pass to Shakori Hills, or a tent from REI.
REI stores will have gear rentals available for free on a first-come, first-served basis for the weekend of Campout! Carolina.
Need an idea of where to camp? There are literally hundreds of camping opportunities on public lands across North Carolina - campgrounds that you are already paying for in our national parks, national forests, state parks, and elsewhere, including at military bases and posts in the state.
An "excellent" fall color show should begin to roll down the mountainsides of western North Carolina in the next couple of weeks and continue through October.
Kathy Matthews, associate professor of biology specializing in plant systematics at Western Carolina University in Cullowhee, said in her annual prediction that “2011 should prove to be an excellent year for fall color.”
Depending upon the timing of the first frost, fall colors should peak during the second week of October in the higher elevations, and during the third week of October in the mid-elevations, Matthews told WCU's The Reporter.
Howie Neufeld, Ph.D., professor of Plant Physiology at Appalachian State University in Boone, predicted this week on his The Fall Color Guy blog that the color would peak in the Boone/Grandfather Mountain area the weekend of October 7-9 and "maybe the next weekend farther south around Asheville."
Neufeld said colors in the Highlands/Cashiers area of the Nantahala National Forest peak about the same time as in Boone or just slightly afterward. In the Great Smoky Mountains, he said, "colors will peak in early October at the higher elevations, and then work their way downslope, with a delay of about five days for every 1,000-foot drop in elevation."
In his weekly report for this week, Neufeld said he drove to Linville Falls and Grandfather Mountain State Park over the weekend and found a significant increase in color on the hills compared to last week, though they are still about 80 percent green.
"On Grandfather Mountain, color is very pronounced on the heath balds and rock outcrops," Neufeld writes. "Above 4,500 feet, color is quite advanced, and on the eastern and lower flanks of Grandfather (the side facing the Blue Ridge Parkway) there are one or two ridges with excellent color already. You can get a great view of this from the Beacon Heights parking lot, and also on the rock outcrops at Beacon Heights (take the short trail to the top for spectacular views)."
Beacon Heights, at MP 305.3 on the Parkway, is a trailhead for Section 13 the Mountains-to-Sea Trail and the Tanawha Trail, which goes under the Linn Cove Viaduct.
Goose Creek State Park has reopened on its regular fall schedule of 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., the state Division of Parks and Recreation said on the park's website this morning. Campgrounds and some trails remain closed due to unsafe conditions caused by Hurricane Irene.
We've previously reported the National Forest alert that says only three recreation sites in the Croatan have reopened since the late-August hurricane, and about numerous downed trees in the campground at Goose Creek.
The FMST says in an email sent yesterday that "boardwalk, bridges and hundreds of trees were uprooted" along the 20-mile Neusiok, which is Section 36 of the MST.
"The damage is extensive enough that FMST volunteers are estimating that the trail may not reopen until next spring," the group says on its website.
The storm also caused breaches in five places in Section 38 of the MST, the Outer Banks from Ocracoke to Jockey's Ridge State Park. Temporary bridges over the breaches are expected to be in place by early October.
If you don't have plans for Saturday, there are at least 20 opportunities in North Carolina to participate in cleanup and rehabilitation work as part of National Public Lands Day. There are also guided hikes on the Appalachian Trail and free admission to National Parks as part of the annual celebration.
National Public Lands Day, September 24 this year, is the nation's largest, single-day volunteer event for public lands in the United States. Last year, 170,000 volunteers worked at over 2,080 sites in every state, the District of Columbia and in many U.S. territories.
Projects planned in North Carolina (link above) range from spreading wood chips along nearly a half mile of the Lake Trail at the Carl Sandburg National Historic Site in Flat Rock to removing aquatic debris and collecting water quality data at the Rachel Carson Coastal Reserve near Beaufort, and from trail work in the Nantahala National Forest's Panthertown Valley Backcountry Area near Cashiers and in Great Smoky Mountains National Park, to removing litter and debris at hurricane-damaged Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge near Rondanthe on the Outer Banks.
Up the coast from Pea Island, entrance fees are waived for the day at the Wright Brothers National Memorial at Kitty Hawk the only National Park in the state to charge for entry.