Bolin Forest, ‘Our Smoky Mountains’

Incredible Natural Resource

Bolin Forest, along with Bolin Creek that flows through it, is an incredible natural resource in the middle of our rapidly urbanizing Carrboro and Chapel Hill. Former N.C. Botanical Garden director Peter White has called this area “our Great Smoky Mountains National Park.” A beautiful and large tract of land that serves as a significant water resource, it shelters hawks, owls, herons, woodpeckers, box turtles, deer, beavers, coyotes and numerous other birds, as well as the rare four-toed salamander. This 425-acre forest, still intact to date, protects us from further climate change as the forest provides us with a wide stretch of tree canopy that acts as a carbon sink. Bolin Creek, in addition, flows into Jordan Lake, the water supply for more than a half million people in our area.

UNC Conserves Carolina North

Over the past three decades, elected leaders have worked successfully with UNC-Chapel Hill to protect much of this area for future generations. The Carolina North Development Agreement preserves the most sensitive areas for conservation, ensuring any future campus development will center on the airport runway and those already disturbed parts of the university’s nearly 1,000-acre Horace Williams tract. As a result, more than hundreds of acres will be protected. This acreage is located just off Seawell School Road.

Adams Tract, First Step

The Town of Carrboro and Orange County made a visionary move in 2003 when the two recognized how incredibly unique and valuable this forest was and thereby purchased a 27-acre tract, known as the Adams Tract, with Clean Water Act Trust monies. The now-named Adams Nature Preserve sits adjacent to Wilson Park, and serves as the gateway to the magnificent Bolin Forest. This move acknowledged how important Bolin Forest, Bolin Creek and its tributaries are to the town’s future and its preservation.

Moving Toward a Nature Preserve

Adjoining the UNC land is the Craig Preserve, located on the west side of Seawell School Road. The Craig Preserve, so named by the Friends of Bolin Creek, is a beautiful beech tree forest that includes portions of Bolin Creek, privately held for more than 48 years by landowner P.H. Craig.  Friends of Bolin Creek seeks to conserve this land by including it, along with the UNC several hundred acres and the Carrboro Adams Nature Preserve, as part of a permanent forest and creek preserve.