Celebrate Earth Day with the Pacolet Area Conservancy

Published 10:46 am Thursday, April 19, 2012

PAC hikers at the Green River Game Lands Hike on April 13. (photo submitted by Pam Torlina)

On Saturday, April 21, hikers are invited to join the Pacolet Area Conservancy (PAC) for the final hike of PAC’s spring hiking series. Celebrate Earth Day with PAC Land Protection Specialist Pam Torlina as she leads hikers on a 3.5-mile, moderate interpretive hike at the PAC-protected Norman Wilder Forest (included on the North Carolina Birding Trail).
Torlina will point out native flora and fauna of the season and hikers will have the opportunity to see many spring wildflowers and hear newly arriving songbirds, so be sure to bring your binoculars.  Then, after the hike, stick around the PAC office for a “show and tell” about some of the native species living in area forests, including birds, using real specimens.
Norman Wilder Forest is owned and managed by PAC and was first opened to the public in September 2001. It consists of 185 acres of protected, mature, mixed hardwood forest located on the steep slopes of Little Warrior Mountain, within the watershed of the North Pacolet River. The trail begins off of Hwy. 176, winding through an area that once had several home sites, evident by the exposed rock walls along the trail and old foundations located in the forest. The start of the trail is also a site of kudzu eradication efforts by the PAC “Kudzu Warriors,” who have been eradicating kudzu and other non-native and invasive plants from the site for slightly more than a year.
The trail continues to ascend Little Warrior Mountain, eventually joining Tau Rock Vineyard Road. Then, leaving the private road, the trail winds through the forest, offering views and providing hikers with a leafy canopy of shade trees. The trail leads hikers to a rock wall continually wet from a spring above, a “drip falls,” creating a unique spray cliffs community of plants. Bridges, steps and trails add to the enjoyment of the hike.
If you are interested in attending the PAC hike at Norman Wilder Forest, please contact the PAC office to sign up by phone at 828-859-5060 or e-mail landprotection@pacolet.org. Hikers will meet at the PAC office, 850 N. Trade St. in Tryon (near the Frog and Swan and Nancy Roth Antiques), on Saturday morning at 8:30 a.m. to carpool to Norman Wilder Forest.
Hikers should expect to return to the PAC office no later than 1 p.m.; however, return time varies depending on the number and the varying pace of the hikers. Then, don’t forget to stick around for more interpretation of wildlife at the PAC office.
Hikers should wear appropriate clothing and footwear; bring a bag lunch and/or snack and plenty of water. Be sure to bring any personal medication that you may require. In case of inclement weather, contact the PAC office by 8:15 a.m. on the day of the hike to see if the hike will take place.
If you cannot make this hike but would like to support PAC’s conservation efforts, please attend PACWalk or PACRun on Saturday, May 5 at Tryon Estates. For more information, contact PAC at 828-859-5060 and/or visit PAC’s website, where you can register online.
– article submitted by Pam Torlina