Protection and Access of Public NC Lands
Our National Parks, Forests, Wildlife Refuges and Other Public Lands Deserve Better
There are more than 21 million acres of public lands in North Carolina and every acre matters. These cherished lands provide habitat for fish and wildlife and enjoyment for all Americans. From hunting and fishing, hiking and biking to wildlife watching and tourism, we rely on public lands to serve as the foundation to support wildlife and the economies they drive.
Our wildlife needs the space to roam; without the vast open spaces found in our public lands, much of the wildlife we know and love would cease to exist. This uniquely American concept of public lands has paid off in spades. Millions flock to national parks each year (NC’s Great Smoky Mountains National Park is the most visited in the entire country), businesses thrive near national monuments, we enjoy clean water from our national forests and our treasured wildlife finds homes in wildlife refuges.
Our national parks, forests, wildlife refuges and other public lands are under attack. During the past several years, and more recently at an unprecedented rate, a small group of legislators and land grabbers have been trying to hand your land over to states or private interests.
Increasing public land and water habitat conservation remains a top priority for NCWF. Our work encompasses a broad scale of projects from landscape-scale planning for large public holdings to backyard habitat improvements for homeowners. There can be no discussions or work for elk, owls, monarchs, trout, or deer without a focused understanding of habitat and what every species needs for survival.
Habitat conservation includes many facets: protection, funding, managing, restoring and enhancing. Acquiring lands for conservation can be step one, but then managing those lands for wildlife becomes critical.
Publicly owned lands and waters support wildlife and scientific research and allow citizens to enjoy wildlife and resource-based recreation. North Carolina is blessed with many public lands, including federal national wildlife refuges, national forests, national seashores, state public game lands, state parks, state forests, and local parks and greenways. These valuable public lands belong to all to enjoy while reaping their ecological services and benefits.
“Whether you hunt, fish, hike, paddle or simply value the ecological services these habitats provide, public lands are part of our heritage and future”
What We're Doing
NCWF Outcomes & Impact
- Secure funding for NC’s natural resource trust funds, such as the Clean Water Management Trust Fund and Park Trust Fund. Through our collaboration with Land for Tomorrow, more game lands and parklands will be protected.
- Advocate for full funding of the Land and Water Conservation Fund for additional protected habitats.
- Examine causes of mountain trout decline, develop strategies to reverse the decrease, and increase angler access to waters on private lands that support mountain trout.
- Support newly protected lands by the expansion of North Carolina’s Roanoke River, Mountain Bogs, and Pocosin Lakes National Wildlife Refuges.
- Defend public interests in public resources and advance public ownership of and access to public lands and waters.
- Permanently fund the Land and Water Conservation Fund to increase access to public lands.
- Defend against and defeat any legislation designed to affect the large-scale transfer of ownership or management of public lands.
- Defend existing protected areas, including parks and wildlife refuges, from divestment efforts and from being opened to harmful new development and resource extraction.