Croatan National Forest
|Croatan National Forest|
IUCN category VI (protected area with sustainable use of natural resources)
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|Location||North Carolina, USA|
|Nearest city||Havelock, NC|
|Area||159,886 acres (647.0 km2)|
|Governing body||U.S. Forest Service|
The Croatan National Forest is a U.S. National Forest, was established on July 29, 1936, and is located on the Atlantic coast of North Carolina. It is administered by the United States Forest Service, a part of the United States Department of Agriculture. The forest is managed together with the other three North Carolina National Forests (Nantahala, Pisgah, and Uwharrie) from common headquarters in Asheville, North Carolina. However, Croatan has a local ranger district office in New Bern.
The forest covers 159,886 acres (647.0 km2) of coastal land. It is bordered on three sides by the Neuse River, the Bogue Sound, and the White Oak River. The Croatan Forest is characteristic of its pine forests, salt estuaries, bogs, and pocosins. The forest is suitable for hiking, camping, hunting, trail biking, and all-terrain vehicles. The surrounding rivers, inland lakes, and creeks allow for swimming, fishing, boating, and canoeing. The forest is close to the cities of New Bern, NC and Morehead City, NC. It also surrounds the Marine Corp Air Station Cherry Point.
Many hiking trails can be found throughout the Croatan Forest such as the Neusiok Trail which offers 21 miles (34 km) of trail through swamps and pine forests. Other trails include the Cedar Point Tideland Trail which traverses through a salt marsh and along the White Oak River, the Island Creek Forest Walk featuring a forest of hardwoods, and the Black Swamp OHV Trail which offers eight miles (13 km) for off-road vehicles and bikes. The 13 mile long Catfish Lake Rd. provides many roads and trails for you to explore.
Flora and fauna
The Croatan National Forest is home to a huge variety of marine and terrestrial animals. Some of the wildlife that can be found include black bears, a wide variety of reptiles and amphibians, as well as bald eagles, and alligators. The forest is abundant with pine trees including virgin longleaf pine stands that remain untouched to this date. There are many hardwood area's that including the cypress trees of the swamps. Carnivorous plants such as Venus flytraps, sundew, and pitcher plants may also be found. There are a few sandy areas within the forest that provide pristine habitat for the endangered eastern diamondback rattlesnakes.
The Croatan National Forest offers a variety of habitats that provide excellent homes and safe havens for wildlife. There are many Longleaf Pine Savannahs that are vital to the Red-cockaded Woodpecker which can be found in abundance within these forests. As well as Poccasin Pine savannahs that are almost impenetrable. Many old growth beech and oak forests can be found as well. The swamps are very abundant and are the green emeralds of these forests.
- USDA Forestry Service: "Croatan National Forest" Pg. 2 [Brochure]