This weekend: Bundle up and learn something

Carvers Creek State Park (photo courtesy North Carolina State Parks)

Temperatures across the state this weekend are generally forecast to stay in the 40s under mostly sunny skies. Ideal weather, in our view, for getting out and learning a little about the world around us. Courtesy of North Carolina State Parks, we bring you three options for doing just that. (And you can find more at the State Parks website.)

Coast

Carvers Creek State Park is the newest addition to the North Carolina State Park system. Authorized by the General Assembly in 2005, the 4,000-acre park near Spring Lake in Cumberland County currently has few opportunities for public access. So when an opportunity does arise, we like to jump on it.

Sunday’s Rockefeller House Tour is one such opportunity. A park ranger will lead a hike to the old James Stillman Rockefeller winter estate, which includes structures dating back to the early 1800s. A good opportunity to learn about the natural and human history of the area, known for its longleaf pine stand and as home to several endangered and protected plants and animals.

Logistics: Sunday, Jan. 26, 1 p.m. Carvers Creek State Park, Spring Lake. More info and to register for this free event, call 910.436.4681.

Sunday forecast: Sunny, high of 49.

The Occoneechee cliff face (photo courtesy North Carolina State Parks)

Piedmont

The Geology Hike at Occoneechee Mountain is a GGNC favorite. In large part, that’s because most nature programs focus on plants or animals: this one is about the rock that helps make Occoneechee Mountain unique. For one, at 820 feet, Occoneechee is the highest point in the Triangle. The pyrophyllite rock that is the mountain was once highly valued and, for years, quarried, creating an unusual (for this neck of the woods) cliff face. From near the top you get an unobstructed view north and west. And, the hike is led by a bonafide geologist.

There’s more to enjoy on a hike at Occoneechee, as you’ll discover on this hour-long program.

Logistics: Saturday, Jan. 25, 2 p.m. Occoneechee Mountain State Natural Area, Hillsborough. To register for this free event, call 919.383.1686.

Saturday forecast: Clouds, high of 44.

Chimney Rock and Rumbling Bald (photo courtesy North Carolina State Parks)

Mountains

The Hickory Nut Gorge area of western North Carolina is quickly opening up as an adventure destination, with addition of more public lands. One of the biggest recent additions: Chimney Rock State Park, a 5,700-acre former private park brought into the State Park system in 2005. With more public lands come more opportunities to explore one of the most ecologically unique areas in the state.

With those opportunities come questions about just what it is you’re hiking or climbing past. Sunday is your chance to answer some of those questions at Extraordinary Cliff Dwellers, a program focusing on the endangered and threatened species in the park.

Logistics: Sunday, Jan. 26, 9-11 a.m. Chimney Rock State Park, Chimney Rock.

Sunday forecast: Sunny, high of 43.

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Those are our thoughts on the weekend. Find more options at the sources listed below.

Coast

CapeFearCoast.com
Comprehensive calendar for the Cape Fear/Wilmington/southern N.C. coast searchable by date and event name.

Coastal Guide
Comprehensive calendar including nature programs from a variety of costal conservation and research agencies that offer nature programs. Covers the entire coast.

Crystal Cost Tourism Authority
Comprehensive calendar focusing on the Crystal Coast. Good source for programs offered by N.C. Coastal Federation, Cape Lookout National Park, N.C. National Estuarine Research Reserve and other costal conservation and research agencies that offer nature programs.

NCCoast.com
Comprehensive calendar including programs for the Outer Banks and Crystal Coast.

North Carolina Coast Host
Comprehensive calendar for the entire coast that lets you search for events by day, by region, by county, by city or by event (based on key word).

This Week Magazine
Primary focus is the Crystal Coast (North Carolina’s coastal midsection).

Mountains

Asheville Citizen-Times
From the main page, click on “Outdoors,” then WNC Outdoors calendar.

Blue Ridge Outdoors
Searchable calendar lets you extend your reach to events throughout the mid-Atlantic and Southeast (or you can just limit it to North Carolina). Also lets you search a boatload of categories, ranging from Hiking, Mountain Biking and Climbing to Trail Running, Triathlon and Road Walking.

The Mountain Times
From the main page, click on “Calendars,” then Main Events.

Todd’s Calendar

Piedmont

Charlotte

Charlotte Observer events calendar
Comprehensive calendar searchable by category, including Nature, Recreation, Recreation & Wellness, Running

Charlotte Parent
Comprehensive calendar concentrating on things the family can do together.

Triad

GoTriad.com
Comprehensive calendar includes a Sports & Recreation category.

Piedmont Parent
Comprehensive calendar concentrating on things the family can do together.

Triangle

Triangle.com
Comprehensive calendar searchable by category, including: Birding, Boating, Cycling, Nature, Rec & Wellness, Recreation, Running, Swimming, Tennis, Yoga.

Carolina Parent
Comprehensive calendar concentrating on things the family can do together.

Statewide

Great Outdoor Provision Co.
Calendar includes three weekly events for each of its seven markets: Chapel Hill, Charlotte, Greensboro, Greenville, Raleigh, Wilmington and Winston-Salem. Search by market.

Office of Environmental Education
One calendar for the numerous Environmental Education Centers statewide.

North Carolina State Parks
Lets you search for programs at the state’s parks, recreation areas and natural areas by location, by month, by topic. To reach the calendar from the home page, click on “Education,” then “Fun & Free Programs at Parks.”

National Forests in North Carolina
From the home page, click on Carolina Connections for news updates on the state’s four national forests as well as hints on recreational opportunities and a detailed rundown of recreation areas and the amenities at each.

U.S. National Wildlife Refuges
Rundown, by month, of regular activities at the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service refuges in North Carolina.

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