by Dick Thompson, FODF President
Greetings! Welcome to the Friends of DuPont Forest newslet- ter. This is our first issue since our annual meeting in April when I was elected as your president.
FODF was founded in January 2001 as the successor to Friends of the Falls, a small group of 21 individuals that served as the catalyst for encouraging the state to acquire the 2200 acres that form the center of the forest. This center, con- taining Lake Julia, Bridle Veil Falls, High Falls and Triple Falls, makes up what has become the most visited forest (and probably park as well) in the state. Because we have six park- ing lots, several with wide entrances, surrounding the perime- ter of our 10,300-acre forest, we do not have an accurate way of determining counts of visitors. One count, based on sam- plings of the parking lots has visitor count for 2005 projected at over 130,000, but many feel the real counts could be twice this number.
Helping with the maintenance of the forest and to provide a safe and enjoyable experience for all of our visitors is the purpose of FODF. FODF is made up of persons who love the land, the water- falls and the majesty of the outdoors of our beautiful area of the mountains. We invite you to be a part of FODF with your mem- bership and volunteer services. We have many volunteer opportu- nities that include working with the staff on trails and buildings, helping with FODF sponsored events, greeting visitors at the park- ing lot shelters, leading hikes and staffing booths at Brevard and Hendersonville street events. What we've found is that it's really fun to exercise a bit of 'ownership feelings' of pride in this wonder- ful haven that's Dupont State Forest.
We will have our next 'members' event on September 10 at Lake Julia. We'll have canoes and rides back to the lake. Bring a picnic and spend the day in a canoe on the lake and enjoy the fun of fel- lowship and picnicking on the shore. This will be our third annual canoe event.
This many visitors, increasingly tourists from beyond the im- mediate area, add greatly to the economic impact to our sur- rounding communities. All trails are open to hikers, trail bikes and equestrians. Fishing and hunting are also permitted ac- cording to Wildlife Rules and Regulations. The heavy use, of course, adds to the wear and tear on the forest community of 80 miles of trails, facilities, and the environment. The forest staff is made up of eight employees. The staff is very hard working and FODF is proud of the relationship we maintain with them. However, maintaining the forest as a safe and en- joyable destination for all of our families is much more than eight employees operating with limited state funding can ac- complish by themselves.
Some of the items FODF has directly funded with your dona- tions this year are the new High Falls shelter and the reroutes of Mine Mountain and Reasonover Creek trails. We have also agreed to fund a contract to build steps at Triple Falls to go from the shelter area down to the middle falls. This trail (a really steep path) receives very heavy usage and has badly eroded and needs major rebuilding. We hope the contract for this effort will be late this fall.
Also on October 8-9, we will again sponsor the Tour de Falls. This event is open to all but really directed to those that can't hike the distances back to the three major waterfalls and Lake Julia. We'll have several handicap friendly vans traveling the 10- mile route. Folks will be able to get off at any of the four stops and spend as much time as they like. When we had the similar Tour de Falls on Mother's Day weekend we had over 660 guests. This requires a lot of volunteers to host the event. Would you consider helping with the October 8-9 Tour? It'll be fun for you to be a part of the effort, but most of all to see the happiness we bring our guests. We need about 30 volunteers for each day. Come and be part of this effort. Just go to our web site and click on contacts and my name or Gloria’s, our VP and volunteer coor- dinator. You can also reach us at our PO Box or call me at 862- 5618. We invite you to become involved.
All of our FODF Board meetings are open. Our next meeting is on September 27 at Guion Farms at 7 P.M. You are welcome to at- tend. Be a "Friend of DuPont Forest".
Bonnie Bomba, FODF Volunteer
I began mailing maps to people who purchase them through PayPal, an internet payment service, in October 2003. In less than 2 years, I have mailed over 420 maps to internet purchase requests. Most maps are sent to people living in North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Tennessee, Flor- ida & Virginia. We also sent maps to people living in Ohio, Michigan, Delaware, Maryland, Mis- souri, New Jersey, California, Kentucky, Illinois, Alabama & Washington DC. We have even mailed maps internationally to Belfast, Ontario, and Manila.
The Friends of DuPont Forest have made purchasing a map of the forest very easy. Along with purchasing maps over the internet on www.dupontforest.com, there are over 25 different local outfitters, campgrounds, book stores & visitor centers within a 60 mile radius of the forest that sell maps. Volunteers in the forest and parking lot attendants sell maps on the weekends and people may also call (828) 885-2102.