Please join us on Saturday, June 8th at 9:00 am for an educational hemlock and birding hike with the Hemlock Restoration Initiative and the Transylvania County Bird Club.

The hike will start at the Pink Beds picnic area which has a few prominent, healthy hemlocks around the edges of the field – an ideal place to discuss hemlock identification and the positive impact they have on our recreation areas. As we hike down the trail, we will see a hemlock health monitoring plot where we’ll discuss how forest managers might make decisions on how best to protect their trees and how different management strategies can be integrated into a conservation plan. Not far away, we’ll also see some of the casualties of the hemlock woolly adelgid and learn about how hemlocks are impacted and the effect their loss can have on the ecosystem.

Hemlocks are extremely important for bird habitat, and The Transylvania County Bird Club will show us some of those birds along the way. The best birding, for targets such as Appalachian Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers and Brown Creepers, is right at the bridge over the South Fork Mills River. Abundant snags are used here by a variety of woodpeckersGreat Crested Flycatchers, and other cavity nesters. Another good spot is along the northeast section of the trail.

You can also find many nesting warblers along Pink Beds Loop Trail including: Blackburnians, Black and White, Hooded, Black-throated Blue, Black-throated Green and both Louisiana and Northern Waterthrush, many of which rely on hemlocks.

The hike is a mostly flat 5 mile loop with a few creek crossings and one short climb. We will plan to arrive back at our vehicles at 2pm. For any questions or to register, contact Caroline Lord at or 828-252-4783. While the hike is free to attend, your RSVP is required. Please sign up by Wednesday, June 5th. Please include contact phone number, email address, and emergency contact when you sign up.

The Hemlock Restoration Initiative is grateful to be able to offer public events in this difficult time. Despite the lifting of restrictions, we acknowledge the risk that COVID-19 continues to pose to members of our community. To maintain the safety of our event participants and staff, we are requiring that all participants follow HRI’s COVID-19 safety guidelines. Anyone not following the guidelines on the day of the event will be asked to leave. Despite taking precautions, we cannot eliminate all risk of exposure and participants will be accepting some level of risk by choosing to attend. Please review the COVID-19 safety guidelines on our website to ensure that you are comfortable following these guidelines. Note: these guidelines may adjust depending on changing guidance from health authorities.