Celebrate the National Park Service’s Centennial in North Carolina

By Lori A. Williams, North Carolina Chapter of The Wildlife Society

Long-range views of the Southern Appalachians and stunning leaf color await your fall visit to Western North Carolina. ©Brady Beck

Good news! Not only do you get to visit the great state of North Carolina for TWS 2016, but you get to visit during one of the most spectacular times of the year.   Fall is an absolutely gorgeous time to be in North Carolina with crisp nights, warm days, and Carolina blue skies, all amid a palette of brilliant autumn leaves. Whether your before or after-conference trips take you to the Coastal Plain, the Sandhills, the Piedmont, or the Mountains, break out your wide-angle camera lenses because you will definitely want to capture the colorful moment.

Fall is a great time for coastal camping at Cape Lookout National Seashore in the Southern Outer Banks of North Carolina. ©Kelly Douglass

Fall is a great time for coastal camping at Cape Lookout National Seashore in the Southern Outer Banks of North Carolina. ©Kelly Douglass

Here in the Asheville area, we call the fall visitors who migrate to our neck of the woods each year “leaf peepers,” but take no offense — we totally get it. It’s hard to beat viewing fall foliage in the mountains of North Carolina with our vast and diverse swaths of deciduous forests. From maple to hickory, blackgum to birch, from sourwood to poplar — we’ve got the best leaf color around!

If salt, sand, and surf are more your thing, consider celebrating the Centennial with a visit to the Cape Hatteras National Seashore or Cape Lookout National Seashore. Boasting 150-year-old historic lighthouses, each provides excellent fall recreational opportunities and wildlife viewing. Are you a trail junkie? We’ve got you covered in North Carolina with 96 miles of the Appalachian Trail, a National Scenic Trail, and another 225 miles shared on the border with Tennessee.

The Blue Ridge Parkway provides unique opportunities for viewing colorful fall landscapes in Western North Carolina. ©Lori Williams

The Blue Ridge Parkway provides unique opportunities for viewing colorful fall landscapes in Western North Carolina. ©Lori Williams

These and other national treasures, await you on your visit to North Carolina. As you plan your travels around the conference, consider visiting a national park, scenic trail, seashore, memorial, battlefield, or historic site. Make some memories, take some fabulous fall photos, and celebrate the National Park Service’s Centennial in the splendor of a North Carolina autumn!