Nags Head Woods Ecological Preserve, Kill Devil Hills

4.5
#3 of 24 in Things to do in Kill Devil Hills
Forest · Hidden Gem · Wildlife Area
Nags Head Woods Preserve is owned and operated by The Nature Conservancy.

Nags Head Woods was designated a National Natural Landmark in 1974, and protecting its unique habitats was one of the Conservancy’s first priorities in North Carolina. Between 1978 and 1986, the Conservancy acquired about 420 acres in the northern section of the forest; some of the land was generously donated by John and Rhoda Calfee and Diane St. Clair. Partnerships with local municipalities were formed early in the process, with the leasing of 350 acres from the Town of Nags Head.

In 1992, the Conservancy and the Town of Nags Head jointly acquired an additional 389 acres in the forest from Resolution Trust Corporation. In 1997, the Town of Nags Head agreed to dedicate nearly 300 acres of Nags Head Woods as a permanent conservation area under the State Nature Preserves Act. In addition, the Town of Kill Devil Hills signed a Memorandum of Understanding with The Nature Conservancy, placing another 100 acres in the forest under cooperative management. Working with the towns and other partners, The Nature Conservancy has succeeded in protecting this fragile ecosystem, overseeing both terrestrial and marine research and monitoring programs and providing trails for visitors to enjoy.

In 2011, thanks to Ed Mays, president of North Carolina Handicapped Sportsmen, a multi-use trail was built through Nags Head Woods. What started out as a project for handicapped sportsmen became much more. Now the trail is used by older folks, families with strollers and small children as well as people with mobility issues.
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Nags Head Woods Ecological Preserve reviews

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  • Lovely preserve managed by the Nature Conservancy. Hiked the Discovery/Roanoke trail (#s 4 and 5) through some forest and dune ponds covered with duckweed past an old graveyard to a beautiful beach.....  more »
  • We have been vacationing for over 3 decades in the Outer Banks but just discovered this incredible place this past off-season trip. So beautiful. So peaceful. Loved the options for trails from ones....  more »
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