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Headwaters State Forest

Frequently Asked Questions

Tree with Headwaters Boundary Sign
Photo © Steve Orr

  • Where is Headwaters State Forest?
  • Headwaters State Forest is located about 10 miles south of Brevard, close to the towns of Cedar Mountain and Rosman, in southern Transylvania County. Part of the forest borders South Carolina.
  • How was the acquisition of Headwaters State Forest funded?
  • The acquisition of Headwaters State Forest was funded through grants and private donations. The majority of the grant money came from the federal Land and Water Conservation Fund – U.S. Forest Service Forest Legacy Program, the N.C. Clean Water Management Trust Fund and the former N.C. Natural Heritage Trust Fund.
  • What is the intent of natural resources management at Headwaters State Forest?
  • Management at Headwaters State Forest will focus on conserving the lands that surround the upper reaches of the East Fork French Broad River. Maintaining and improving water and soil quality, promoting native forest communities and wildlife, and protecting rare species are among the primary themes of natural resources management at Headwaters State Forest.
  • How will Headwaters State Forest promote learning about forests and natural resources?
  • Headwaters will demonstrate different forest management techniques for the public, students, forest managers, and industry. Management of Headwaters State Forest will also encourage research on the property and the N.C. Forest Service will make available resources to assist with educational efforts by schools, colleges, and other natural resource management organizations
  • Are hunting and fishing allowed?
  • Yes. Most of Headwaters State Forest will be open to the public for hunting as part of the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission’s Game Lands program. All waters will be designated as Public Mountain Trout Waters and classified as Wild Trout Waters. No special permit is needed beyond the required N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission license(s). Go to the Wildlife Resources Commission Website for more information.
  • What do I do if I have an emergency? What do I do if I get lost?
  • Seek cell phone service and call 911. This property is rugged and remote and visitors should have contingency plans prepared prior to leaving their house and starting their activity. Use of Headwaters State Forest is at your own risk. Have a plan! Let somebody know where you are going and when you expect to return.
  • What public facilities are available at Headwaters State Forest?
  • None. There are no bathrooms, visitor’s centers, telephones, etc. All trash must be packed out.
  • Is there cell phone service?
  • Cell phone service is very poor or non-existent throughout most of Headwaters State Forest.
  • Will parking lots be developed for access?
  • Yes. A few, small access points will be developed across the property in the future. Parking is limited at this time. It is illegal to park on the road; if parking on the side of the road, vehicles must be completely off the pavement. Do not block access gates when parking.
  • What kind of recreational activities are possible?
  • Headwaters State Forest will be open to foot travel. Hiking, hunting, fishing, and wildlife viewing are examples of recreation opportunities that will be possible on the forest. The emphasis of recreation management at Headwaters will be low-impact, dispersed recreation with the goal of providing visitors an undeveloped, primitive setting.
  • Will mountain biking and horseback riding be allowed?
  • No. The N.C. Forest Service allows mountain biking and horseback riding at DuPont State Recreational Forest. Only foot travel is allowed at Headwaters State Forest.
  • Can I drive my vehicle or off-highway vehicle on the roads and trails in Headwaters State Forest?
  • No. Only foot travel is allowed on the roads and trails of Headwaters State Forest.
  • Can I bring my dog to Headwaters State Forest?
  • Yes. Dogs must be leashed at all times.
  • Is Headwaters State Forest the same as DuPont State Recreational Forest?
  • No. The two State Forests are managed under two separate management plans with different objectives and goals. Some primary differences at Headwaters State Forest for recreational users familiar with DuPont State Recreational Forest include:

    • No mountain biking or horseback riding allowed.
    • No public facilities such as bathrooms or a visitor’s center.
    • Limited parking.
  • Can I get a special use or commercial use permit for Headwaters State Forest?
  • Commercial use permits will not be issued in the near future for Headwaters State Forest. Special use permits will be limited to activities related to education, research, and training exercises at this time. Further work is needed to develop a permitting system and is a near future priority for management at Headwaters State Forest. Contact the N.C Forest Service for more information.
  • Are there opportunities to volunteer at Headwaters State Forest?
  • Not at this time. Opportunities to volunteer at Headwaters State Forest will be considered in the future and will depend on resource availability.
  • Where can I get more information?
  • Contact the N.C. Forest Service. Michael Cheek (information below) is the public point of contact for Headwaters State Forest. Additional information will soon be available on the N.C Forest Service website.

    Michael Cheek, Assistant Regional Forester
    N.C Forest Service, Region 3
    (828) 665-8688 x 201