New Bern's Hidden Jewel
The Croatan National Forest is one of the gems of
Eastern North Carolina. This expansive forest of 161,000 acres remains somewhat
undiscovered even to many of the native Eastern North Carolinian's.
large variety of landscape in Croatan provide a protected and mostly
undisturbed habitat for quite a few different species of animals. You will find white tail deer, black bear, turkey, squirrel, rabbits, raccoon,
muskrat, and mink and many species of snakes.
The Venus flytrap (Dionaea Musipula) thrive in the Croatan
Forest. This species of meat eating plants are found only in the eastern
coastal plains of North and South Carolina. The Venus Flytrap attracts
insects to it's open hinged leaves and then zap, in one tenth of a second it
snaps shut and starts secreting digestive juices. A horrible way to go no
doubt. In addition to the Venus Flytrap you will find other carnivorous
plant including Sundew, Butterwort, and Pitcher plants.
The many creeks, bays, marshes and swamps provide an
excellent array of habitats for a variety of bird life including Bald
Eagles, Osprey, Herring, and the endangered red-cockaded woodpeckers.
The Croatan with it large lakes and untamed creeks, offers many opportunities for those that like to transverse by
canoe or kayak. Look for occasional alligator, wading birds, ducks, and many other
species of animals while quietly taking in the beautiful landscape. For
larger bodies of water try the Neuse, White Oak, or Newport Rivers.
For those looking to bond a little with nature try hiking
along one of the three trails that carve through the forest and over the
Island Creek Forest Walk
There are several trails that parallel Island Creek and takes you through a
hardwood forest that have some of the largest hardwoods you will find in
Eastern North Carolina. Island Creek is particularly beautiful in the fall and
spring as you get to see the changing colors.
The longest of the trails the Neusiok is 26 miles in
length and passes through pine and hardwood forest, pocosins, and along the
Neuse River. There are no developed camping facilities but primitive camping
Cedar Point Tideland Trail
Located in the Cedar Point recreation area which offers
camping, picnicking, boat ramp, fishing pier, and canoeing, this trail
provides excellent opportunities to view wildlife and explore a salt marsh.
Hunting and fishing
Hunting and fishing are allowed under N.C. state
regulations. Call the North Carolina Wildlife Resources
Commission(919-662-4381) for information on licenses and regulations.