Hemlock trees in Hanging Rock State Park need our help. These important trees often
die when infested by an invasive insect, but the Hemlock Restoration Initiative (HRI), an Asheville-based
nonprofit program, can teach you how to get involved.
On February 15, HRI staff will lead a free guided hike beginning at the Moore’s Springs Trailhead. The
hike will wind through a peaceful eastern hemlock stand situated above the Dan River, and participants
will learn about basic hemlock identification and management strategies. Later that afternoon, HRI staff
will give a free hemlock treatment demonstration for anyone who wants to learn how to take care of
hemlocks on their own land.
For those interested in hands-on experience, HRI is recruiting volunteers for a February 14 workday.
Volunteers will work with HRI and state park staff to take tree measurement data and systemically treat
hemlocks with a safe and easy-to-handle tablet insecticide. This provides a great opportunity to step off.
the well-trodden Hanging Rock trails and see the forest from a new perspective.
“Our job to save hemlocks is far from complete,” said Margot Wallston, HRI director. “A large part of our
work now is educating individuals who aren’t aware of how simple it can be to protect a tree from
hemlock woolly adelgid and how successful restoration efforts have been.”
Native to Japan, hemlock woolly adelgid has been a major forest health concern in North Carolina since
the late 1990s when the invasive insect first spread into the state. Now the insect exists in every county
in North Carolina that has hemlocks, and infested trees often die within seven years. Hemlock trees are
a foundational species, and because of this, scientists and land managers are working hard to find long-
Hanging Rock State Park is one of the special places in our state where eastern and Carolina hemlocks.
grow side-by-side. Park staff have been actively working for several years to ensure both species remain.
a part of the park’s natural heritage.
Work to save North Carolina’s hemlock trees has ramped up in the past eight years since HRI’s creation
at the direction of NC Commissioner of Agriculture Steve Troxler. A recent increase in support from the
NC Legislature and the USDA-Forest Service has demonstrated that hemlock restoration remains a
If you would like to volunteer, join the hike, or attend the demonstration, go to
www.savehemlocksnc.org/events or email [email protected] You can also call the HRI office at
(828) 252-4783. Weather may cause the dates of these events to shift, so if you are interested in these
events but unable to attend on the scheduled dates, please contact us to be notified in case of changes.
The Hemlock Restoration Initiative’s mission is to work with a variety of partners to ensure that eastern
and Carolina hemlocks can resist the deadly hemlock woolly adelgid and survive to maturity on North
Carolina’s public and private lands.