You’re probably familiar with North Carolina’s national forests, state parks, and national parks, but what about the privately-owned conserved lands that are open to the public? The Carolina Mountain Land Conservancy has introduced a hiking challenge to introduce the public to their impressive portfolio of protected lands. Complete eight hikes on lands like Bearwallow Mountain, a bald overlooking Hickory Nut Gorge, and the Foothills Spur Trail in the East Fork Headwaters preserve, and you’ll get a patch and free hiking gear. While most of the properties on the CMLC hiking challenge list are still privately owned, Dupont State Forest is also on the docket. Dupont is now North Carolina’s first state recreational forest, and CMLC was instrumental in bringing the 10,000 acre park into public ownership.
See more details about the challenge and the individual hikes here.