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Get the latest information on Coronavirus COVID-19 in North Carolina

NCFS Alerts

Current Incident: COVID-19 Pandemic

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All N.C. Forest Service updates and current information related to COVID-19 impacts and safety measures continue to be posted on this webpage. Check frequently for updates. Last updated: 4/3/2020 at 2:32 p.m.

The N.C. Forest Service continues to closely monitor the state’s response to COVID-19. For the safety of our visitors, we are implementing common sense measures at every NCFS facility and state forest.

State Forest Closures, Facility Updates

CLOSED STATE FORESTS:

  • DuPont Recreational State Forest, 89 Buck Forest Road, Cedar Mountain – 828-877-6527
  • Effective at 10 p.m. on Tuesday, March 24, 2020, DuPont State Recreational Forest and Holmes Educational State Forest are temporarily closed to the public due to crowding issues and COVID-19. All other State Forests in North Carolina remain open to the public for individual visits, however Forest Service offices and public restrooms are temporarily closed to the public until further notice. Based on visitation, we are evaluating implementation of portable toilets and/or handwashing stations for all State Forests. Additional information will be provided as it becomes available.

    Due to the temporary closure of DuPont State Recreational Forest (DSRF), hunting and fishing is not permitted until further notice. This temporary measure is being implemented in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The N.C. Forest Service will continue to monitor the state’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, ensuring that hunting and fishing activities can resume as soon as conditions safely allow. Before traveling to the DuPont State Forest Game Land to hunt and/or fish, please check the N.C. Forest Service’s COVID-19 landing page for updates.

  • Holmes Educational State Forest, 1299 Crab Creek Road, Hendersonville – 828-692-0100
  • Rendezvous Mountain Educational State Forest, 1956 Rendezvous Mtn. Road, Purlear – 336-667-5072
  • o Effective at 5 p.m. on Friday, April 3, 2020 Rendezvous Mountain Educational State Forest is temporarily closed to the public due to crowding issues and COVID-19. All public access is restricted until further notice. All trails, trailheads, forest facilities, parking areas and Rendezvous Mountain State Forest Game Land are unavailable to the public during this period of closure. This closure includes both Wyatt Rd and Benny Parsons Rd access points for the Game Land.

Effective at noon on Friday, March 20, 2020, due to public safety and in support of social distancing no special use permits of any kind are being issued for State Forests or other NCFS locations and Forest amenities are temporarily closed to the public until further notice including offices, education and visitor centers, restrooms and picnic shelters.

OPEN STATE FORESTS:

Just remember to follow social distancing guidelines to help us keep forests open as safe places during the COVID-19 pandemic. To download Social Distancing Guidelines for North Carolina State Forests, click here.

  • Bladen Lakes State Forest, 4470 NC Highway 242 N, Elizabethtown – 910-588-4964
  • Clemmons Educational State Forest, 2411 Old U.S. 70 West, Clayton – 919-553-5651
  • Headwaters State Forest, Southern Transylvania County – No restroom facilities exist in this forest.
  • Jordan Lake Educational State Forest, 2832 Big Woods Road, Chapel Hill – 919-542-1154
  • Mountain Island Educational State Forest, 534 Killian Road, Stanley – 704-822-9518 – Please note: By appointment only
  • Turnbull Creek Educational State Forest, 4803 Sweet Home Church Road, Elizabethtown – 910-588-4161
  • Tuttle Educational State Forest, 3420 Playmore Beach Road, Lenoir – 828-757-5608

Burn Ban Issued for 32 Western North Carolina Counties
Effective at 5 p.m. Friday, April 3, 2020

Due to increased fire risk, the N.C. Forest Service has issued a ban on all open burning and has canceled all burning permits for the following counties in western North Carolina: Alexander, Alleghany, Ashe, Avery, Buncombe, Burke, Cabarrus, Caldwell, Catawba, Cherokee, Clay, Cleveland, Gaston, Graham, Haywood, Henderson, Iredell, Jackson, Lincoln, Macon, Madison, McDowell, Mecklenburg, Mitchell, Polk, Rutherford, Swain, Transylvania, Union, Watauga, Wilkes and Yancey.

The burning ban went into effect at 5 p.m. Friday, April 3, 2020, and will remain in effect until further notice. Learn more | Map of Impacted Counties

  •   Burn Ban Frequently Asked Questions
  • Burn Permits Issued Online Only

    It’s spring wildfire season, and the leading cause of wildfires in our state is careless debris burning.

    There are many factors to consider before burning yard debris. One important factor to consider, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, is whether burning yard debris is necessary. If it can wait, let it wait. Consider alternatives to burning. Some types of debris, such as leaves, grass and stubble, may be of more value if they are not burned but used for mulch instead.

    If you do choose to burn, make sure you have a valid permit. Remember, during the COVID-19 pandemic, you can no longer get burning permits in person at NCFS Office Locations or county burn permitting sites. To get a burn permit, use the Online Burning Permit System.

    NCFS Office Closures + Events Cancelled

    In the interest of safety for visitors and staff, all NCFS Office Locations are temporarily closed to the public until further notice. Additional measures may be implemented, adjusted and closed as needed. Please be aware that staffing adjustments may increase response times for inquiries and on-site assistance.

    All events and group programming have been cancelled.

    Programs and Services

    The NCFS continues to closely assess the COVID-19 outbreak and how we deliver our programs and services. We are aware this could be a very challenging time for many in our forestry community, particularly small businesses. To learn more about how we continue delivering programs and services during the pandemic, read our COVID-19 Impacts to N.C. Forest Service Programs & Services memo.

    Tree Seedling Distribution

    NCFS Tree Seedlings and Nursery Products continue to be available. Please call ahead to your local distribution point to schedule your seedling pickup in advance. More Information

    Seedling Distribution Center Contacts

    • Mountain Distribution Centers
      • Asheville: 828-665-4848
      • Lenoir: 828-757-5611
      • Sylva: 828-506-6564
      • Mt. Holly: 704-827-7576
    • Piedmont Distribution Centers
      • Rockingham: 910-995-0318
      • Rocky Mount: 252-955-2209
      • Fayetteville: 910-437-2620
      • Lexington: 336-956-2111
      • Hillsborough: 919-732-8105
    • Coastal Plain Distribution Centers
      • New Bern: 252-514-4764
      • Edenton: 252-331-3771 (secondary number: 252-548-4730)
      • Whiteville: 910-642-5093
      • Goldsboro: 919-731-7988

    Forestry Education Resources & Tree-Related Activities with Students

    • N.C. Forest Service YouTube video resources; Suitable for a range of ages including adults
    • Longleaf on the Short: series of 1 minute video clips about the Land of the Longleaf Pine
    • Forest Fast Breaks: 2 min video clips about Urban Forests, using Urban Wood and the benefits of Urban Forests
    • Smokey Bear for Kids: Wildfire prevention resources, games and activities suitable for a range of ages
    • Don’t Move Firewood interactive resources to “Protect the trees you love from tree-killing bugs”; Suitable for a range of ages including adults
    • NC Forestry Association: Teacher & student resources suitable for PreK-grade 12
    • Project Learning Tree for parents and families: Free nature activities suitable for children ages 3-15
    • N.C. Environmental Education – search for resources, select Families for Audience Served and select Age Group(s)
    • Arbor Day Foundation: Suggestions for tree-related activities correlated to various school subjects; Suitable for a range of ages
    • Natural Inquirer: a variety of science education materials for parents, educators and PreK through grade 12 students
    • USDA Forest Service Kids: games, activities, coloring sheets, teacher and parent resources; suitable for a variety of ages
    • ASLA Designing our Future: Sustainable Landscapes: American Society of Landscape Architects provides links to urban forestry focused lesson plans, activities, games, and videos; Suitable for all ages including adults
    • Finding My Forest: lesson plans for educators correlated to National Standards for English Language Arts, Math, Social Studies, Music/Art; Grades 3-8
    • TreesCharlotte: Activity sheets and curricula for elementary, middle and high schools
    • Nature Explore Family Resources: nature-inspired activities for families; resources also available in Spanish; Suitable for elementary aged children
    • Trees Are Good: tree-related lesson plans, educational resources for adults and online activities; Suitable for all ages including adults
    • Penn State: Forestry/Natural Resources Lesson Plans for grades 6 through 8
    • Into the Outdoors: outside-oriented, with some curricula for elementary, middle, and high school students
    • Discover the Forest: activities for kids and can give people places to go
    • NatureWatch: a collection of websites and social media resources where you can watch nature
    • Pollinator Partnership: hosts annual Pollinator Week and has an entire curriculum for grades 3-6, plus tons of pollinator and flower-themed activities for children of all ages
    • Project EduBat: lots of bat-themed activities and curriculum
    • FSNatureLIVE: geared towards middle schoolers with science-based curricula and student-led videos on themes such as pollinators, bats, climate change, etc.