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Cary is currently under a Stay-at-Home order in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Most public-facing and staffed facilities are closed to the public, including Town Hall. All playgrounds are closed but greenways, parks, and park restrooms remain open at this time. Some services have been canceled or are limited. Learn more.

Controlled burn March 2019 at Hemlock Bluffs Nature Preserve

Keeping the Bluffs Fire Safe

As part of its long-term fire management plan for Hemlock Bluffs Nature Preserve, the Town of Cary will perform its annual prescribed burn at the bluffs sometime between January and April 2020, weather permittingThe North Carolina Forest Service will implement and supervise the burn, which will measure 2-5 acres, or the size of a football field. Town staff will offer logistical assistance and a Town of Cary fire truck will be present on-site during the burn. While certain sections of select trails will close for the day, the preserve and Steven’s Nature Center will remain open and visitors are encouraged to enjoy as usual.

Hemlock Bluffs Nature Preserve is a registered State Natural Area, and the Town of Cary is bringing the necessary resources and experts to bear on continuing a prescribed fire management program focusing on fuel reduction and wildfire prevention. Burns implemented in prior years were a huge success. “Safety is our top priority, so trails will be well-signed and patrolled by natural resource managers and preserve staff as needed,” said Mark Johns, Operations and Program Supervisor at Hemlock Bluffs Nature Preserve.

Wildfires are a common threat to structures in many areas of North Carolina, especially during drought and times of high winds. Prescribed burns are a proven and safe way to reduce fuel loads in forests and other areas.

The notification window of the burn may be only hours, depending on weather conditions. Citizens who wish to obtain more detailed information on the burn can contact Mark Johns at: mark.johns@townofcary.org.

2019 Annual Prescribed Burn

On March 13, members from the Hemlock Bluffs Nature Preserve staff, the NC Forest Service, NC State Parks, and the Town of Cary Fire Department conducted the 2019 controlled burn at Hemlock Bluffs Nature Preserve. As a part of Hemlock Bluffs’ natural resource management plan, this burn is used to reduce the build-up of dead vegetation on the forest floors, which can serve as fuel for wildfires. Prescribed burns are also used to reduce competition, release seeds, and add vital nutrients for many plants and animals. These burns promote the growth of many plants, including wild blueberry and huckleberry, which produce fruits eaten by birds and other wildlife.

Special guests at the 2019 exhibit dedication event

The Friends of Hemlock Bluffs Celebrate the Completion of the First Stage of Exhibit Enhancement

The first stage of an upgrade and renovation to the exhibit hall in the Stevens Nature Center was completed in winter 2019. The Friends of Hemlock Bluffs held a dedication event on March 6 to say “Thank You” to grant donors, partners and Friends for their support. 

This most current enhancement was supported in large part by a generous gift from the Jandy Ammons Foundation. 

We are continuing to forge ahead with upgraded displays and interactive exhibits to reach and teach the next generation. The Duke Energy Foundation has provided start-up funding for the second phase of the project. The Friends continue to seek further support and to explore how we all can contribute to the next phase of renovations.

Want to keep up with “What’s New at Hemlock Bluffs”?

Sign-up for our email list by managing your email subscriptions to include the Stevens Nature Center or call (919) 387-5980 to receive our monthly program calendar.