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North Carolina

North Carolina State Parks

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USA Parks
North Carolina
Coastal - Eastern Region
Bladen Lakes State Forest
Cardinal ©
Small Boy Fishing ©
Gone fishin.
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4470 NC Highway 242 N
Elizabethtown, North Carolina   28337

Phone: 910-588-4964
Email: park email button icon
Bladen Lakes State Forest is a picturesque natural treasure nestled in the heart of North Carolina. This sprawling forest offers a diverse and enchanting landscape, characterized by its serene lakes, dense woodlands, and abundant wildlife. Adventurers can explore its extensive trail system, immersing themselves in its peaceful ambiance while enjoying activities such as hiking, biking, fishing, and camping. With its towering trees, vibrant flora, and tranquil waterways, Bladen Lakes State Forest beckons nature enthusiasts and outdoor lovers to escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life and embrace the beauty and tranquility that this captivating destination has to offer.
History of the Area
Bladen Lakes State Forest is located in Bladen County, North Carolina. Its history dates back to the early 1800s when the area was primarily used for farming and timber production.

In 1917, the North Carolina General Assembly established the State Board of Forestry to address the deforestation crisis in the state. This led to the creation of several forest reserves, including Bladen Lakes State Forest. However, it wasn't until 1935 that the state officially acquired the land and designated it as a state forest.

During the 1930s and 1940s, the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) played a significant role in developing the forest. CCC workers built many of the forest roads, fire towers, and other infrastructure projects that are still in use today.

Bladen Lakes State Forest also played a role in World War II. In the 1940s, the U.S. Army used the forest as a training ground for soldiers. Many training exercises were conducted, including mock battles and bombing runs. The remnants of some of these activities can still be found in the form of trench systems and bomb craters.

The forest has been managed for multiple purposes, including timber production, wildlife habitat conservation, and public recreation. Today, it covers approximately 33,000 acres and is managed by the North Carolina Forest Service. It offers various recreational activities, such as hunting, fishing, hiking, and camping.
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Bladen Lakes State Forest is located near Elizabethtown, Fayetteville

1. Bay Lakes Paddle Trail: This trail is a water-based route that winds through the forest's various lakes and ponds, offering hikers an opportunity to explore by canoe or kayak.

2. Singletary Lake Loop: A 3-mile loop around Singletary Lake with moderate difficulty level, this trail offers stunning views of the lake and surrounding pine forests.

3. Jones Lake State Park Trails: Located within Bladen Lakes Forest boundaries are trails in Jones Lake State Park which include Cedar Loop Trail (0. 7 miles), Salters Nature Trail (4 miles) featuring diverse flora & fauna along its path; additionally there's also Sweet Gum Swamp Boardwalk providing easy access for birdwatching enthusiasts.

4. Turnbull Creek Educational State Forest Walking Trails: These educational walking paths offer interpretive signs about local wildlife species as well as forestry practices used within North Carolina state lands.

5. White Oak River Canoe Route: It provides paddlers a unique perspective on the area's natural beauty while navigating down White Oak river flowing through dense vegetation cover.

6. Bay Tree Hiking Pathway: An approximately two mile long pathway winding across different terrains including marshy areas near bay trees showcasing rich biodiversity present in these ecosystems.

7. Bluff Pond Bird Watching Track: Specifically designed track for avid bird watchers where one can spot numerous native birds inhabiting pond surroundings.

8. Cypress Grove Interpretative Walk: Short walk but highly informative due to presence of several markers explaining significance of cypress groves found here.

9. Sand Ridge Wildlife Viewing Area: As name suggests it allows visitors chance to observe variety wild animals living amidst sand ridges.

10. Holly Shelter Game Land Paths: Although primarily meant for hunting activities during certain seasons, these pathways provide excellent hiking opportunities rest time year .

11. Green Swamp Preserve Tracks: Multiple tracks crisscrossing preserve region famous rare plant communities like Venus flytrap etc. , making them must visit spots for nature lovers .

12. Carolina Bay Lakes Trail: This trail offers a unique hiking experience as it takes you around several of the forest's bay lakes, providing opportunities to see diverse aquatic life and bird species.

13. Longleaf Pine Restoration Area Walk: A short walk through an area where efforts are being made to restore longleaf pine ecosystems; interpretive signs provide information about this important ecological work.

14. Black River Paddle Route: Another water-based route that allows hikers chance explore scenic beauty Black river while paddling their way down stream.

15. Fire Tower Lookout Path: Short path leading up fire tower which provides panoramic views entire state forest region.

Visitor Comments, Memories and Reviews
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1. Start by heading south on US:17 S/US-74 W toward NC-133 N.
2. Continue to follow US:74 W for approximately 20 miles.
3. Take exit 416B onto Martin Luther King Jr Pkwy and merge onto MLK Jr Pkwy (NC:87 S).
4. Follow NC:87 S for about 30 miles until you reach Elizabethtown.
5. In Elizabethtown, turn left onto Broad Street (NC Hwy 41) at the traffic light near McDonald's.
6. Continue straight on Broad St./Hwy 41 South through downtown Elizabethtown for approximately two blocks.
7. Turn right into Nature Conservancy Lane just before crossing over a bridge that spans Tory Hole Pond.

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North Carolina

North Carolina State Parks