Dupont State Forest in Danger
The status of Dupont Forest is in question.
This beautiful forest between Brevard and Hendersonville will probably be transferred to the North Carolina Department of Agriculture. And that could mean fewer opportunities for biking, hiking, and horseback riding and open the forest to more logging.
The entire Division of Forest Resources, including DuPont, will almost certainly be transferred to the Department of Agricultural & Consumer Services on July 1, according to the House budget adopted May 4 by a veto-proof majority. Forest Resources has mandates to prevent forest fires, conserve natural resources, and manage timber — but none for recreation. Compare what it's like to hike in Pisgah Forest vs. Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
But it's not all clear cut, if you'll excuse the pun.
Right now, Dupont Forest is open to multiple-use recreation such as hunting, fishing, mountain biking and horseback riding.
Over the past 10 years, the Division of Forest Resources was a part of the larger Department of Environment & Natural Resources (DENR), the folks who run the state park system. Several years ago, a proposal was floating around that would make Dupont Forest a state park. It was opposed by many groups because that would eliminate the little hunting that there was in Dupont. The state park would also bow under pressure to build roads to waterfalls that we now hike to.
The four past presidents of Friends of DuPont Forest, have come together to make a simple proposal: We hereby request that the N.C. General Assembly statutorily recognize recreation as a primary mission of DuPont, together with the protection of its natural resources.
They propose making Dupont a recreational Forest. See their website and contact your North Carolina state legislature.