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Natural Resources Stewardship

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Natural Resources Stewardship

The division's stewardship philosophy is based on its Natural Resource Management Policy which was developed in 1995.  The division's stewardship goal is to manage the natural and cultural resources of the parks in a systematic, consistent, and professional manner that places resource protection above exploitation.

This policy directs that division managers will work to maintain all of the components and processes of naturally evolving ecosystems. This means that whenever possible, park resources will be managed by allowing them to evolve through natural processes with minimal influence from human activities. Park managers typically do not attempt to preserve individual species but instead manage from the ecosystem level. When intervention is necessary to compensate for the disruption of natural processes, rare species protection, or cultural resources protection, secondary impacts to park resources are minimized as much as possible. Learn more about our stewardship program:

Prescribed Fire Program (PDF) and Fire Management Guidelines (PDF).

Invasive Species Program (PDF)

Nuisance Animal Management and Guidelines (PDF)

Ecosystem restoration (PDF)    

Environmental Review

Most of the state park units invite visitors and provide at least basic facilities for public use. It is the division's goal to avoid adverse impacts to the natural and cultural resources of the parks to the greatest extent possible in the planning, design and construction of park facilities. This requires a collaborative effort among park planners, construction supervisors, field staff and division biologists in the Natural Resources Program.

Although compliance with all applicable state and federal regulations is an accepted standard, the division strives to achieve an even higher standard for construction projects in state parks. State park construction projects should be models of environmentally sensitive design and construction methods.

Natural Resources Program staff review and evaluate all proposed construction projects to ensure that their locations avoid environmentally sensitive areas and that they are designed and built to minimize secondary impacts. Ideally, this is accomplished early in the planning stages of each project. Detailed environmental documentation is often necessary to comply with state and federal environmental regulations, including the North Carolina Environmental Policy Act, the Federal Clean Water Act, the Federal Endangered Species Act, the Archaeological Resources Protection Act, the North Carolina Sedimentation and Pollution Control Act and other regulations. These documents are reviewed through the State Clearinghouse and must show that the projects as proposed will not result in significant environmental impacts.