From the Publisher
A fresh way to look at the state's geographyand exactly how to get out there and find it.
Without question this guide is an essential resource for anyone who treasures North Carolina's natural heritage and wishes to see it preserved.
There is much of use and value to be found in this book.
A greatly helpful and educational guide for all North Carolinians and Americans interested in exploring the marvelous natural heritage of our state.
Charles "Chuck" Roe, Conservation Trust for North Carolina
Read an Excerpt
Exploring North Carolina's Natural Areas Parks, Nature Preserves, and Hiking Trails
The University of North Carolina Press Copyright © 2000 University of North Carolina Press
All right reserved.
Preface This book owes its origins to the tagline of a previous book of mine, which characterized it as "an ecotourist's guide to the North Carolina coast." That phrase led Anne Taylor, director of the Office of Environmental Education of the North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources, to corner me at a meeting and ask, "What can you and others like you do to help people better understand and appreciate North Carolina's natural heritage?" This led to a meeting of authors of books about the state's natural history to discuss her question in the summer of 1997. That meeting hatched the idea of a book that would present driving tours of some of the state's most attractive and interesting natural areas, identify learning experiences in each tour, and make the tours and experiences accessible to a wide general audience, from schoolchildren to adults.
The authors and other consulting naturalists worked together to develop a "must include" list of natural areas for the book. The areas included here were suggested by several naturalists, but many other suggested areas could not be included. As a result, we know that there are more great natural places in North Carolina than those described in this book. We see the present book as a first step in a continuing process of describing the state's natural areas for the public, and we hope a series of similar publications will follow from this one. The authors have also agreed to allow their work to be used as the basis for "virtual fieldtrips" to be developed by the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction and made accessible to schools on an Internet site. We hope these virtual fieldtrips will help meet the goal of making the book's content accessible to schoolchildren.
As you will see from the table of contents, the book is organized into five sections. The introduction is an overview of the state's geology, climate, and plant and animal life. This section is designed to introduce readers to the environmental processes that form and sustain the natural heritage of our state. The other four sections of the book describe tours of natural areas in the Coast, Coastal Plain, Piedmont, and Mountain Regions of the state. Each tour can be accomplished in less than a day, but each can be expanded to several days if visitors choose to explore all stops along the route. Each tour has a map of the recommended route and identifies the things to be seen and learned along the way. Photographs are included of sites along most of the tour routes.
Many avenues for further reading and study are opened up by the broad range of topics touched upon in this book. The introduction describes geological phenomena from plate tectonics to sedimentation, climate from global change to microclimate, and biota from plant community ecology to species adaptation. The tours cover an even wider range of topics than the overview. Most are primarily ecological in approach, but some are geological and some mix biology, ecology, history, and culture. All tours identify natural areas where visitors can make firsthand observations from hiking trails, bicycle paths, and bodies of water. Thus it is not likely that any suggested readings list could cover all possible areas of reader interest, but the titles listed in the "Suggestions for Further Reading" section at the end of the book include those that authors of this book have found useful. They are listed in categories that reflect topics covered in the introduction and tours, that is, biota, climate, ecology, geology, and natural areas. All focus on North Carolina, although some describe phenomena of surrounding regions as well. Most entries contain a brief description of the book's coverage.
This book exists because more than fifty North Carolina naturalists volunteered their time to make it happen. Thirty-two of this number volunteered to write one or more of the tours that make up the bulk of the book. But these authors were not the only naturalists who helped. Many others spent time and freely offered suggestions, advice, and assistance. The book could not have been written without the participation of naturalists across the state. I must thank all of them at the outset. Participants in this project came from state agencies, universities, conservation organizations, and private companies. Volunteers from North Carolina's Department of Environment and Natural Resources ranged from Secretary Wayne McDevitt through assistant secretaries, program directors, and staff at all levels. I must make special mention of the roles of Anne Taylor; Linda Pearsall, head of the Natural Heritage Program; and Betsy Bennett, director of the State Museum of Natural Sciences. All three of these energetic and capable people helped whenever and however help was needed. The book owes much to their efforts. Naturalists from conservation groups and private companies also helped; several contributed tour descriptions, but others assisted in less visible ways. Professor Robert Peet of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill helped identify places to include and people to write about them, as did Chuck Roe, director of the Conservation Trust for North Carolina and former head of the state's Natural Heritage Program. Jane Preyer and Doug Rader of the Environmental Defense Fund and many others also talked with me as the project moved along. All of these helped in important ways. Suffice it to say that North Carolina's naturalists are exceedingly enthusiastic, conscientious, and supportive people. Everyone whom I contacted did whatever he or she could to make this book possible.
The book's subject matter owes much to the citizens of North Carolina and to their elected representatives in the General Assembly. The people have supported preservation of natural areas, and the General Assembly, acting through direct appropriations or through citizen boards of the North Carolina Natural Heritage Trust, the Clean Water Management Trust Fund, and the state's Division of Parks and Recreation, have made such preservation possible.
The book's completion owes much to the staffs of the University of North Carolina's Marine Science Program and the University of North Carolina Press. The Marine Science Program agreed to let me spend my time on this project that covered somewhat more than marine sciences and also allowed Jim Gray to process, and reprocess, the words that make up the text. Jim did this time-consuming task willingly and well, albeit with a modest level of good-natured griping. The staff of the University of North Carolina Press took our drafts and turned them into the book you have before you. David Perry, the editor-in-chief, provided encouragement throughout and negotiated the rather unusual contract through which royalties from book sales will go to support environmental education programs in the state's Department of Environment and Natural Resources. His colleagues Dave VanHook and Pam Upton kept up with the myriad details that must be attended to in any undertaking of this sort. Finally, I and all the authors owe a debt of gratitude to Laura Cotterman, our copyeditor, whose biological interests and expertise greatly improved all parts of the manuscript.
Excerpted from Exploring North Carolina's Natural Areas Copyright © 2000 by University of North Carolina Press. Excerpted by permission.
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What People are saying about this
From the Publisher
There is much of use and value to be found in this book. . . . Clear . . . detailed. . . . With a good index and suggestions for further reading.--Durham Herald-Sun
This book will be a greatly helpful and educational guide for all North Carolinians and Americans interested in exploring the marvelous natural heritage of our state. A great many of our natural treasures are accessible by road, and this book will help its readers chart their travel routes for maximum enjoyment and appreciation of North Carolina's environmental legacies and beauty. Put the book in your car and take to the road! Then park your car and enjoy some of the best natural diversity in all of America!--Charles "Chuck" Roe, Conservation Trust for North Carolina
Frankenberg . . . gives newcomers like me (and old-timers, for that matter) a fresh way to look at the state's geography--and tells you exactly how to get out there and find it.--MetroMagazine
Without question this guide is an essential resource for anyone who treasures North Carolina's natural heritage and wishes to see it preserved.--Winston-Salem Journal