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PUBLIC LANDS
PARKS & FORESTS

Pisgah National Forest

The Pisgah National Forest is a land of mile-high peaks, cascading waterfalls, and heavily forested slopes. Comprised of over 500,000 acres, the Pisgah is primarily a hardwood forest with whitewater rivers, waterfalls and hundreds of miles of trails. This national forest is home to the first tract of land purchased under the Weeks Act of 1911 which led to the creation of the national forests in the eastern United States. It is also home of the first school of forestry in the United States, now preserved at the Cradle of Forestry in America historic site, and boasts two of the first designated wilderness areas in the east. The Pisgah, Grandfather and Appalachian Ranger Districts are scattered along the eastern edge of the mountains of western North Carolina and offer visitors a variety of opportunities for outdoor recreation and enjoying the natural beauty of the mountains.

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Gorges State Park

Gorges State Park is set in the midst of plunging waterfalls, rugged river gorges, sheer rock walls and a high concentration of rare species, and exploration of this unique environment often begins at the expansive visitor center with its museum-quality exhibits, augmented by picnic grounds and shelters. Backcountry-style recreation is a hallmark of Gorges with distance hiking, backpack camping, trout fishing, mountain biking and horseback riding welcome in various parts of the rugged interior. The 7,500-acre park incorporates a portion of the long-distance Foothills Trail and touches Lake Jocassee at the South Carolina border. Trails and campsites continue to be developed at this relatively new state park.

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DuPont State Recreational Forest

The DuPont State Recreational Forest is located in the Blue Ridge Mountains between Hendersonville and Brevard, North Carolina. Its 10,400 acres of forest feature four major waterfalls on the Little River and several on the Grassy Creek.The original 7600 acre forest was established in 1996 through a generous bargain sale from the DuPont Corporation. In 2000, the Forest was expanded by two property additions, including the spectacular 2200 acre tract in the center of the Forest containing High Falls, Triple Falls, and Bridal Veil Falls.

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Headwaters State Forest

Headwaters State Forest is a unique property in that it combines natural resource conservation objectives while providing recreation opportunities to the residents of North Carolina. Headwaters State Forest will be managed by the N.C Forest Service with help from the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission. The property will be managed as a working forest and will be open for hunting as a public Game Land. Management of the forest will demonstrate good forest stewardship principles while providing a platform for education and opportunities for low-impact recreation.

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Bracken Preserve

Bracken Preserve is a 395 acre property owned by the City of Brevard. The City has owned the property for decades, but it didn’t open to the public until July of 2012. The property is located due west of downtown Brevard. In fact, if you stand on Main Street in downtown Brevard and look westward, you will see the distinct mountain range framed by the buildings along Main Street. 

Bracken is adjacent to Pisgah National Forest and its trails connect to Forest Service Road 475-C which provides access to the Fish Hatchery and the Pisgah Center for Wildlife Education. Camping and night-use of Bracken is allowed with City approval.

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Blue Ridge Parkway

Known as “America’s Favorite Drive”, the Blue Ridge Parkway is a beautiful stretch of road that winds its way through the beautiful scenery of Virginia and North Carolina. It’s 469 miles guide drivers between the stunning Blue Ridge Mountains and connects Shenandoah National Park, Great Smoky Mountains National Park and the Pisgah National Forest. The Parkway runs along the northern boundary of Transylvania County with easy access from US276 or NC215.

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