Hemlock Bluffs Nature Preserve and Stevens Nature Center

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Prepared by: Dwayne Jones

Supersedes: 5/26/2005

Adopted by Council:  11/15/2012

Effective: 11/16/2012


To adopt an official policy for the operation of Hemlock Bluffs Nature Preserve and Stevens Nature Center, a public recreation/environmental education facility administered by the Town of Cary in partnership with the State of North Carolina designed to protect the unique natural communities and serve the environmental education needs of Cary residents and the region.


This policy, upon adoption by the Town Council, shall be applicable to the operation and use of Hemlock Bluffs Nature Preserve and Stevens Nature Center until such time that the policy statement is altered, modified or rescinded by the Town Council.


The Town Council of the Town of Cary hereby establishes the following policy:

1.         Facility:  The facility consists of the following components:

a.         Hemlock Bluffs Nature Preserve - a unique natural community of Eastern hemlocks and other vegetation unusual to the area.  A system of trails and boardwalks located throughout the facility allow public visitation and environmental education.

b.         Stevens Nature Center 

                        (1)       Exhibit Hall/Gift Shop

                        (2)       Classroom

                        (3)       Outdoor Education Pavilion

2.         Facility Usage/Stevens Nature Center:  The following priority shall be established for scheduling this facility:

a.         Town sponsored programs and activities

b.         Programs and activities co-sponsored by the Town and other approved sponsors

3.         General Hours of Operation:  The Hemlock Bluffs Nature Preserve and Stevens Nature Center shall be available for use during times as established by Standard Procedure: Hemlock Bluffs Nature Preserve.  The Department Director or designee shall reserve the right to alter the hours of operation due to weather or for the health and safety of the public or employees.

4.         General Rules for Use of the Facility: 

a.         An employee of the Department shall be on duty in the Stevens Nature Center during all hours of operation and whenever the center is open to the public.

b.         The following shall be prohibited within or on the premises of the facility. 

(1)       Smoking (due to the delicate balance of nature and the damage a fire might cause, all smoking, open fires, or combustible materials are prohibited in all areas of Hemlock Bluffs Nature Preserve).

(2)       Possession and consumption of liquor, alcoholic beverages and illegal drugs.

(3)       Weapons of all kinds in the Stevens Nature Center except law enforcement officers in the execution of their duties and those used in environmental education as approved by the Department Director or designee.

(4)       Animals of any kind are not allowed in the Stevens Nature Center except those serving the needs of the handicapped and those used in environmental education.  All domesticated pets on trails in the Hemlock Bluffs Nature Preserve must be kept upon a leash not to exceed six feet in length.

(5)       Motor vehicles, bicycles, skateboards, and rollerblades on the trails and boardwalks.

(6)       Any type of behavior that is detrimental to the normal operation of the facility or the safety of the public or employees.

(7)       No person shall cut, break, move, take or otherwise injure, destroy or deface any tree, shrub, or plant without written permission from the Department Director or designee.

c.         Food and beverages are permitted only in designated areas.

d.         Persons or groups using the facility shall be responsible for the breakage, loss, or damage to the facility and equipment and shall bear the full replacement cost for such breakage, loss, or damage. 

e.         Persons or groups using the facility shall be responsible for any personal items brought into or upon the premises of the facility and shall remove same at the end of each use and shall return any Town-owned equipment to its designated place within the facility as directed by the facility supervisor. 

f.          Persons or groups violating any of the general rules are subject to immediate suspension from the facility and prosecution in the event of a law enforcement violation as provided in the Code of Ordinances of the Town of Cary. 

g.         The facility shall be open only to persons who are upon the premise for specific programs, activities, functions or other official Town business.

h.         The facility is a Registered State Natural Heritage Area and is leased to the Town of Cary by the State of North Carolina.  In addition to the listed notes of use for the facility, all users must comply with any applicable laws or regulations or conditions of use imposed by the State.

i.          The Department Director or designee may implement any other action deemed necessary to protect the health and welfare of the public, employees or the facility. 

5.        Sale of goods

            a.         The Town may offer food, beverages or other items for sale.

b.         Town staff may work with outside vendors to provide the sale of goods and/or services related to events for the duration of events held on the premises subject to agreement.

c.         No other vendors may provide and/or sell food, beverages, goods and/or services without prior written approval from the Director or designee.

6.         Fees shall be those as adopted by the Cary Town Council in the annual budget.