Many of the trails within the Korstian Division of the Duke Forest fall within a Significant Natural Heritage Area (SNHA). Identified by the North Carolina Natural Heritage Program, a SNHA is a site of special biodiversity significance. The New Hope Creek Slopes is one of twelve SNHAs in the Duke Forest. All twelve areas are set aside from harvesting and regularly monitored to ensure their protection.
See below to learn more about some of the rare or unusual species found in the New Hope Creek SNHA.
What is a Significant Natural Heritage Area?
A Significant Natural Heritage Area (SNHA) is a site that the North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources – Natural Heritage Program has identified as having considerable biological importance. Sites hosting rare or uncommon organisms, special natural communities, or unusual ecological occurrences, are all candidates for SNHA status.
The Natural Heritage Program has designated over 2,500 sites in North Carolina as SNHAs, and 12 exist within the Duke Forest. The Duke Forest entered into a voluntary agreement with the state’s Natural Heritage Program to protect and manage the 12 SNHAs in the Duke Forest so as to maintain biological diversity and uniqueness. One of these 12 SNHAs surrounds New Hope Creek in the Korstian Division of the Duke Forest. To address ecosystem degradation that has occurred at this SNHA, the Duke Forest is performing a trail restoration project to protect the ecosystem while improving trails for recreational use.