Join HRI on Sunday, Sept. 12 for a hike at South Mountains State Park near Morganton. We will start the morning with an easy hike along the Hemlock Nature Trail up to Big Bear Falls. As we walk along the Jacob Fork River, we will discuss hemlock ecosystems, the invasive insect threatening them–the hemlock woolly adelgid, current options and efforts to control the adelgid, as well as what South Mountains staff are doing to protect the hemlocks in the park. After lunch, adventurous hikers can continue on the strenuous High Shoals Falls Loop which offers a beautiful view of the 80′ High Shoals Falls. Hikers are welcome to come for just the first part of the hike or stay for the entire day.

High Shoals Falls (photo courtesy of NC State Parks)

The morning part of the hike on the Hemlock Nature Trail and Big Bear Trail is about a mile round trip and rated easy. The second part of the hike on High Shoals Falls Loop is an additional 2.7 miles and rated strenuous. We will stop for lunch on the hike, so please bring food, snacks, and plenty of water. We will meet at the Jacob Fork parking lot at 10 a.m. and expect to be done by 4 p.m. RSVP required. To sign up please email or call (828)-252-4783. Please include contact phone number and email address when you sign up.

The Hemlock Restoration Initiative is grateful to be able to offer educational programs 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 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.