Tags: uwharrie national forest
Higher fees are likely at seven National Forest recreation sites in North Carolina, the National Forest Service said in a news release this morning.
The proposed increases are for:
* Cedar Point Campground in the Croatan National Forest. Fees would increase from $12 to $20 per night for single campsites. The electrical surcharge would increase from $5 to $7.
Campsite fees at Cedar Point have not increased in 15 years, while operation and maintenance costs have risen, the Forest Service says.
* Arrowhead Campground in the Uwharrie National Forest. Fees for single campsites would increase from $12 to $18 per night and from $24 to $36 at double sites. The electrical surcharge would increase from $3 to $7 per night.
High visitation has increased maintenance costs, the Forest Service says. Additional revenue will help pay for the costs of campground hosts, as well as maintaining and operating water, sewage and other facilities.
* Canebrake Horse Camp in the Uwharrie. Fees for single and double campsites, which are $12 and $24, respectively, would be $18 and $36, the same as at Arrowhead Campground. All sites have free electrical hookups, but an electrical surcharge of $7 would be instituted.
High visitation has increased maintenance costs. Additional revenue will help pay for the costs of campground hosts, as well as maintaining and operating water, sewage and other facilities.
* Sliding Rock Recreation Area in the Pisgah National Forest. Daily admission would increase from $1 to $2. Annual passes would remain at $25.
"Additional revenue is required to operate this extremely popular site, which often receives 1,000 or more people a day," the Forest Service says. Fees will pay for expanded hours for lifeguards and maintenance of the site.
Shooting ranges in the Nantahala National Forest would see fee increases that would, in part, standardize rates. Also with the new fees, an annual pass would allow shooters to use all three ranges in the Nantahala. The fees are needed to address maintenance needs and other costs associated with increased visitation, the Forest Service says.
* Dirty John Shooting Range daily fees would increase from $3 per vehicle to $3 per person. Annual fees would increase from $7 per vehicle to $25 per person.
* Moss Knob Shooting Range fees would be instituted at $3 per person for daily passes and $25 per person for an annual pass. This is the only new fee across the four national forests, the Forest Service says.
* Panther Top Shooting Range daily fees would increase from $2 to $3 per person. Annual fee would remain $25 per person.
If approved, the increased fees would be implemented over a two-year span.
The Forest Service will accept comments through February, at [email protected].
Campsite fees at Cedar Point Campground in the Croatan National Forest, below, are to increase from $12 to $20 per night for single campsites. Charges for electricity will increase as well, according to the proposal. Click on the photo for more information about Cedar Point.
A plan meant to guide management of the 50,814-acre Uwharrie National Forest for the next 15 years includes the objective of improving an average of 10 combined miles of substandard hiking, bike, horse or OVH trails each year until the maintenance backlog is depleted.
The U.S. Forest Service released the 140-page revised Uwharrie National Forest Land and Resource Management Plan earlier this week. The major themes of the plan are restoring the forest to a more natural ecological condition, managing cultural resources better, and providing outstanding and sustainable outdoor recreation opportunities that include excellent trails and facilities, according to a news release.
The first focus of work pertaining to outdoor recreation will be on "correcting long-standing problems with the trail systems in the Badin Lake Recreation Area to reduce impacts to water quality and cultural resources, and provide a better experience for users of the horse and OHV trails," the plan says. "Another recreation priority is completing the Uwharrie National Recreation Trail as opportunities become available."
The Badin Lake Recreation Area comprises five family-style campgrounds (including a horse camp), and five day use sites that offer access to the 5.6-mile Badin Lake Trail, 17 miles of OHV trails, picnic and swimming areas, a boat ramp and a shooting range.
The 20-mile Uwharrie National Recreation Trail offers a variety of scenery, streams and rocky terrain, and encompasses the 11.5-mile Dutchman's Creek Trail, a loop alternative to the longer footpath.
Improving the trail system is seen as a means of supporting growth of local tourism. The forest serves a growing area with a population of 6 million, and officials expect "more pressure from increasing recreational use in the future compared to other national forests in the region." In the meantime, forest officials hope to encourage more consistent use of existing facilities in the Uwharrie, including on weekdays, the plan says. Some facilities are full on weekends, but remain sparsely used during the week.
When improving trails or mitigating adverse impacts from trails throughout the forest, planners suggest creating loops through reroutes or connectors as a means of improving user experience and safety. "As trails are maintained, existing vistas should be maintained where appropriate to provide long-distance views, and opportunities for new vistas should be considered," the plan says.
The plan also looks at the 5,160-acre Birkhead Mountains Wilderness at the northern end of the forest, and calls for completing one condition assessment of the trails and dispersed campsites in the wilderness area over the course of the planning period. Objectives include developing a site-specific wilderness management guide, an emergency response plan, and a fire plan for the Birkhead Mountains Wilderness.
Other highlights of the plan, taken directly from the news release, include:
- Restoring 100 acres of longleaf pine trees annually. The longleaf pine tree is native to the piedmont region of North Carolina. These restored acres will add to the Uwharrie National Forest's 3,000 acres of existing longleaf pine.
- Restoring 200 acres of oak-hickory forests annually.
- Restoring longleaf pine and oak-hickory forests will result in loblolly pine harvests that support the local economy.
- Improving diversity and habitats for open woodland species such as the endangered Schweinitz's sunflower through increased use of prescribed fire. Prescribed fire is also critical for restoration and maintenance of longleaf pine woodlands.
- Requiring equestrians and mountain bikers to stay on designated trails, after an initial collaborative trail-system design phase. Off-highway vehicles are currently restricted to designated trails. This will promote forest health by reducing erosion and sedimentation in streams as well as the impacts to rare species and archeological sites.
- Sustaining stream systems and protecting water quality and aquatic biodiversity, including a goal to reintroduce endangered aquatic species. New standards for trails and an objective for road closures would reduce the potential for stream sedimentation from these sources.
- Recognizing 34 unique or rare botanical, geological, archeological and/or recreational sites for special management of their rare attributes.
- Mitigating vulnerability to a changing climate by restoring resilient native ecosystems including longleaf pine and oak-hickory forests, and reduce existing stresses like non-native species.
"People who work, play, or live in or near the Uwharrie NF were invited to participate in a series of public meetings and field trips," to help develop the management plan, the plan document says. Some who responded were interested primarily in conservation of native ecosystems, while others see the forest as a place to enjoy the variety of recreation available. Some look for ways the forest can provide economic benefits to local communities.
"It is a challenge to provide the kind of experience recreationists want while minimizing impacts to other forest resources and other forest users," the plan says.
The plan takes effect in about 30 days. An appeals process is outlined here (.pdf).
Off-highway vehicle trails in Uwharrie National Forest will open Friday, a couple of days earlier than scheduled, to accommodate riders for the full weekend of a local OHV expo, the National Forest Service said today.
The Badin Lake OHV Trail Complex comprises four trail systems covering 17 miles of the national forest near Badin Lake. Their normal season runs April 1 to December 15.
The Uwharrie OHV Jamboree will take place March 30 to April 1 at Scott Fields' Uwharrie Off-Road Training Center on N.C. 109 north of Troy in Eldorado. The free-admission event features vehicle dealers, parts stores, OHV clubs, a swap meet and much more, a Forest Service news release says.
The Forest Service expects the event to attract a large crowd to the area and the forest's OHV trails, the release says.
Uwharrie National Forest campgrounds are filling up as of Tuesday, but camping will be offered at the jamboree site.
Firefighters held the fire, which was first reported around 7 p.m. on February 11, to 73 acres.
Our friend Smokey Bear provides these tips for safely extinguishing a campfire:
* Allow the wood to burn completely to ash, if possible.
* Pour lots of water on the fire; drown ALL embers, not just the red ones.
* Pour until hissing sound stops.
* Stir the campfire ashes and embers with a shovel.
* Scrape the sticks and logs to remove any embers.
* Stir and make sure everything is wet and they are cold to the touch.
* If you do not have water, use dirt. Mix enough dirt or sand with the embers. Continue adding and stirring until all material is cool. Do NOT bury the fire as the fire will continue to smolder and could catch roots on fire that will eventually get to the surface and start a wildfire.
We learned from Joe Miller and the Southern Off-Road Bicycling Association that six miles of new singletrack in the Uwharrie National Forest's Wood Run Mountain Bike Trails are set to open with a celebration a week from next Saturday.
Phase I of the Wood Run Area Trails expansion, which began in 2009 included design and expansion work on Wood Run Road Trail, Supertree Trail and Keyauwee Trail, the SORBA says.
The work was finished October 15 and "includes a half-mile of road-to-trail conversion, rehabilitation of existing unsustainable trail, installation of approximately 20 rolling grade dips on the Supertree Trail, 2,300 square feet of rock armoring, construction of rock retaining walls, at least a dozen in-sloped switchbacks and turns, and over 25 rolling grade dips on the Keyauwee Trail" in addition to six additional miles of trail.
Events at noon November 12 at the Wood Run Area trailhead are to include a ribbon cutting, trail rides, games and food.
"The new trail and upgrades should be really sweet, and the rehabbing will make some of the existing trail much more sustainable," the SORBA post says. "Although these trails are designed and built to be attractive to mountain bikers, they are open to other recreational users, such as hikers and trail runners."
If you are interested in influencing the Proposed Land and Resource Management Plan for the Uwharrie National Forest, make plans to attend a public hearing at 6 p.m. August 18 at the Garner Conference Center, 211 Burnett St. in Troy.
"The plan works to fulfill the Forest Service’s mission of managing national forests for multiple uses," a news release says. "The major themes of the draft management plan for the Uwharrie National Forest are: restoring the forest to a more natural ecological condition; better management of cultural resources; and providing outstanding and sustainable outdoor recreation opportunities, with excellent trails and facilities."
Planners anticipate increased use of the Uwharrie in coming years as nearby state roads and interstate highways are widened to four lanes, and as Fort Bragg continues to grow, the plan says.
"More effective management of recreation, especially dealing with the many trails that are in poor condition, could help accommodate the expected increase in use," the plan says.
"Several new or improved developed recreation sites were constructed over the past two decades. The focus for the foreseeable future could be on maintenance rather than new construction, so that more resources could be used toward bettering the management of dispersed recreation."
Comments on the plan are being accepted until September 24 at [email protected] or Uwharrie Plan Revision, National Forests in North Carolina, 160-A Zillicoa Street, Asheville, N.C. 28801; or to 828-257-4263 by fax. Put "Proposed Uwharrie Plan Revision" in the subject line of email.
Not only does a man in central North Carolina think Bigfoot lives in the Uwharrie National Forest, the Animal Planet cable channel is sending a crew into the forest to find the half-man-half-ape beast.
Animal Planet and Michael Greene, who says he already has video of Bigfoot from about two years ago, plan to search the Uhwarries on Saturday, according to the Montgomery Herald. Any useful footage captured is to become part of the network's six-episode series on Bigfoot sightings around the United States.
The 78.7-square-mile national forest encompasses the Uwharrie Mountains, some of the oldest in North America. According to geologists, the 1,000-foot hills of today's Uwharries were created from an ancient chain of volcanoes that once had 20,000-foot peaks.
Greene, who has a master's in Behavioral Psychology and is a court-qualified Questioned Documents Expert, says he's been on the trail of Bigfoot for some 20 years.
The Public Broadcasting System sent a film crew with archaeologists to excavate at Fort Raleigh National Historic Site for a show about the equally mysterious Lost Colony, which aired in July 2009. OK, maybe not "equally mysterious."
Greene, the cable channel's film crew and volunteers are set to head for the treeline about 3 p.m. Saturday.