Saturday, July 23, 2022

Free N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission Programs and Activities

When's the last time you did something new and adventurous? Played outside and learned a useful skill from a fun and knowledgeable guide? Spent time with your friends or family appreciating the beauty of nature? Local opportunities to do all of the above are easier and more accessible than you might think. 

A couple weeks ago we went river snorkeling at DuPont State Recreation Area. Before that, we took an intro-to-fly-fishing course in Pisgah National Forest. Last summer, our daughter participated in a kid's trout fishing camp along the Davidson River. Before that, we took a Hellbender salamander class at the Pisgah Center for Wildlife Education (now closed due to flooding). 

Fun, right? All thanks to the free public programs provided by the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission (NCWRC), a remarkable state government agency created by the General Assembly in 1947 to conserve and sustain the state’s fish and wildlife resources through research, scientific management, wise use and public input. The NCWRC is the regulatory agency responsible for the enforcement of North Carolina’s fishing, hunting, trapping and boating laws.

As part of their mission, the NCWRC hosts many educational opportunities to encourage people of all ages to help sustain North Carolina's wildlife and habitats by learning more about them. The programs are offered at no cost and all gear and equipment is provided. Many are located in Western North Carolina, about a two-hour drive from uptown Charlotte, but the NCWRC operates statewide (here are interactive maps of descriptions and locations of many of the things the agency manages). 

So far, our family has focused on aquatic programs, but NCWRC provides a wide variety of activities and resources. Perhaps you'd like more information on birding. Maybe you'd like to go geocaching. Or how about getting involved in conservation programs? NCWRC is responsible for regulating, managing and teaching residents about hunting, trapping, fishing, boating and more. 

Now, our kids have their eye on a fly-tying camp. Meanwhile, I'm interested in checking out a virtual program on "how to take amazing fishing photos" and the "fish preparation and cookery" workshop. So many cool opportunities! 

Next time you're looking for a fun, educational, free (your hunting and fishing license dollars at work!) adventure, check out all that the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission has to offer. Not only are they doing good and important work to protect and preserve wildlife resources, but they're also giving us every reason to get out, explore, play and learn to appreciate the natural beauty of our delightful state. 

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