Category Archives: Nature

A heads-up on forest service prescribed burns

Over the past week, the U.S. Forest Service has announced plans for numerous prescribed burns in North Carolina, Virginia and Tennessee. We share this information for two reasons:

1. Prescribed burns: what and why?

According to the Forest Service, “Prescribed burning is an important and versatile forest management tool that can mimic natural fire disturbances and reduce underbrush and flammable vegetation, which is key to limiting wildfire risk.” Before we started building vacation homes and resorts in the mountains, fire was allowed to run its natural course and do its thing. Now, for instance, when lightening strikes and ignites a fire, the reaction is to snuff it out immediately, lest it damage nearby developments. The most obvious ramification of this practice is that downfall accumulates and provides a dangerous source of fuel for what can evolve into a quickly spreading inferno.  read more

Finding spring, making the most of it

Remember those two really nice days last week? We spent them doing field research, seeking signs of spring.

And we found them. The two spring wildflowers that, to us, signify that spring has sprung: the spring beauty and the trout lily. Both are featured in the accompanying video, shot along the banks of the Eno River in both Durham and Orange counties. Our search is also the topic of this week’s GetHiking! Southeast Podcast, which you may find here.  read more

GetOut: Seek the Daffodil

On today’s Morning Walk with Joe (Facebook Live, Monday, Wednesday and Friday mornings at 8) I talked about being on the cusp of the spring wildflower season. About how last year at this time we were in the midst of the January thaw, with temperatures in the upper 60s under sunny skies, and how that prompted an early debut of the spring beauty and trout lily, in my mind the true first responders of spring. Others may emerge earlier — certain asters and chickweed — but really, it’s the appearance of the spring beauty and trout lily that let you exhale and realize that spring is just around the bend. read more

GetOut! Your Friday Nudge for Weekend Adventure

A couple years back I was in need of a destination for our annual winter GetBackpacking! trip to the coast. Typically, the trip is on the 21-mile Neusiok Trail in the Croatan National Forest near Havelock. Unfortunately, the Neusiok was closed, still feeling the wrath of Hurricane Florence’s visit the previous fall. People love backpacking at the coast in winter, and I needed an alternative. Scanning a map, I locked onto Merchants Millpond State Park. read more