One of the defining characteristics of our mountain forests are the clear, cool streams and rivers, and hemlock trees play a critical role in keeping those streams healthy. Come learn about the work of the Hemlock Restoration Initiative and the Pisgah River Rangers to protect the rivers and streams of Western North Carolina. Walk with the River Rangers and HRI staff on the Andy Cove Nature Trail at the Pisgah National Forest Ranger Station/Visitor Center as we discuss how humans and hemlocks can help the rivers and streams of the National Forest and beyond.

The program will take place on Sunday, July 30, 2023. We will meet outside the front entrance of the Pisgah Ranger Station Visitor Center (1600 Pisgah Hwy, Pisgah Forest, NC) at 10:00 AM. The Visitor Center and bathrooms will open at 9:00 AM. Please plan to arrive at 9:45 at the latest in order to park, get settled and check-in by 10:00 AM.

The trail makes an easy 0.75 mile loop and features hemlocks that have been protected from the hemlock woolly adelgid for several years. We will stop along the way to discuss the importance of hemlocks and the threat they face from the invasive hemlock woolly adelgid. We will examine both infected and non-infected trees. Pisgah River Rangers will share how hemlock trees support water quality in Pisgah National Forest and how visitors to the National Forest can minimize their impact while enjoying the forest in order to keep our streams and rivers healthy. HRI staff will talk about the different integrated pest management strategies being used to protect hemlocks on public and private lands in North Carolina and what landowners can do for their own hemlocks.

After the walk concludes around noon, participants who are interested will have the opportunity to stay and learn a couple simple chemical treatment options available to North Carolina landowners utilizing the lovely large hemlocks growing next to the ranger station for demonstration.

In case of inclement weather we will hold the program in the evening of Wednesday, August 2nd.

The Pisgah River Rangers is an outreach & education program utilizing the waterways in Pisgah National Forest to promote the ongoing balance between conservation and recreation in Pisgah National Forest. They receive support from The Pisgah Conservancy, US Forest Service, and Pisgah Chapter of Trout Unlimited.

The Hemlock Restoration Initiative is managed by WNC Communities and works with a variety of partners and restoration initiatives to ensure both eastern and Carolina hemlocks can resist the invasive hemlock woolly adelgid and survive to maturity on North Carolina’s public and private lands.