Hot Spot

Carolina Beach State Park

Carolina Beach, NC

Carolina Beach State Park in North Carolina is 761 acres of forested beach with long-leaf pine trees, oak, and wiregrass making up the majority of the flora in the park. The park’s delicate ecosystem is home to several endangered carnivorous plant species – Venus Fly Traps, Pitcher Plants, and Sun Dew. This park was selected as a Hot Spot because this area is the only habitat in the world where Venus Fly Traps are living endemically. The park is threatened by poaching of the rare plants and ecological damages from visitors traveling off trail to view the Fly Traps.

Solution

The Traveling Trainers worked with volunteers during a day of service to strengthen the park’s Fly Trap population by planting 25 new plants near the main trail and adding mulch to this trail to encourage visitors to stay on the designated trail. They also camouflaged undesignated trails and installed nine new signs educating visitors on managing their pets in order to protect wildlife and other park visitors, the proper disposal of pet waste, and the ecological benefits of staying on established trails. The new signs are the first park signs to utilize Leave No Trace messaging as well as Hot Spot information. Carolina Beach plans to integrate locally tailored Leave No Trace information into future messaging and education programs. The team also hosted a two-day Leave No Trace Trainer Course for park staff and other local stakeholders. The course provided these individuals with the tools to continue to perpetuate Leave No Trace education in the park and local area after Leave No Trace’s time on-site. Center staff teamed up with park staff to incorporate Leave No Trace into several educational hikes–during these hikes, the team was able to explain the benefits of practicing Leave No Trace skills and ethics with the participants, while also showing them specific examples of impacts within the park.

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