The N.C. Division of Parks and Recreation is responsible for the protection of the natural and cultural resources within the state parks system. This responsibility pervades all of the Division's activities, from field operations and interpretive programming to the planning and construction of park facilities. The protection of these resources is mandated by the North Carolina Constitution and the State Parks Act, and is directed by the Division's Natural Resource Management Policy.
The ecosystems and cultural features protected by the state parks system often represent the highest quality examples of the state's natural landscape and cultural heritage. In many cases, these ecosystems and cultural features are also among the most threatened. The primary goal of the Division, especially the Natural Resources program, is to ensure the long-term protection of state parks as intact, naturally evolving ecosystems. Our challenge is how best to integrate human uses while minimizing the impacts on the natural environment. The primary goal of cultural resource management is to protect and preserve historically significant features.
No part of the Division's natural and cultural resources work is routine. Every natural resource challenge is different depending on many factors, including habitat type, the region of the state, the density of the population around the park, and the intensity of the visitation to the park. For every situation, it is a process of examining an issue, determining the desired outcome, and developing a plan to reach that outcome.
The Division's conservation work may range from re-establishing hydrology within a park to sampling for salamanders to prescribe burning in an urban park. The cultural resource issues within our parks can range from what type of shingle to put on a historic structure to helping decide which historic buildings in a new acquisition are salvageable.