Scenic USA - North Carolina

Jockey's Ridge

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Jockey's Ridge -  Jockey's Ridge State Park, Outer Banks, North Carolina

Photo by Monnie Ryan
Monnie's Zenfolio Gallery

     Jockey's Ridge, spread over 400 acres, is the largest sand dune on the eastern coast. Located in Nag's Head, this huge dune is one of a string of dunes on North Carolina's Outer Banks. Seasonal winds keep the top layer of the dune in an ever-changing state. This living dune, constantly shifting, is unable to support any vegetation, although the lower reaches of Jockey's Ridge harbor small plants and sparse grasses. These small trees spread out their roots as much as 40 feet in search of moisture and nutrients.
     As these two dune explorers head out toward the summit they quickly discover a loose top layer of sand, making it difficult to walk. Surprisingly, the underlying dune holds a significant amount of moisture, aiding the dune in retaining its shape. For those with a keen eye, tiny figures climb closer to the summit, claiming a short-lived title of king of the mountain before they return to the bottom.
     A modern day epic battle of save the dune brought about the creation of Jockey's Ridge State Park. Carolista Baum is credited for being the first to stop a developer's bulldozer. A local movement was then created to save the dune, leading to the establishment of a state park. Jockey's Ridge was proclaimed a National Natural Landmark in 1975 and the North Carolina park now encompasses 420 acres.

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