Dupont State Forest – Disappearing structures

Triple Falls
Triple Falls

Today I went scouting for my Carolina Mountain Club hike with Beth at Dupont State Forest.

It was another beautiful day. The waterfalls were really running because we’ve had so much rain.

Three waterfalls (Triple Falls, High Falls, Bridal Veil Falls) and three lakes (Lake Dense, Lake Alford and Lake Julia) will make a great hike.

The recreational forest, located between Hendersonville and Brevard, is known mostly for its awesome waterfalls. But there’s so much more to Dupont.

Old Camp Summit building
Old Camp Summit building

The land has a varied human history and went through many hands before the state obtained it. There are at least two cemeteries and a hundred miles of trail, mostly old roads.

Besides the Dupont company, Camp Summit, a ritzy summer camp, had been in business for twenty years. They built Lake Julia, the largest lake in the current forest. Here’s what we discovered.

Several buildings were left on the property, accessible by an easy bushwhack. I led a couple of hikes that included the buildings.

Old Camp Summit building
Old Camp Summit building

But when we went to find them this time, the Camp Summit buildings were gone. All that was left were rusted I-beams and burnt wood. A few bricks were on the ground.

It was obvious that the NC Forest had burned the structures. I am so glad that I took pictures of the decrepit buildings, while I still could.

When we found a ranger, I asked him what happened to the buildings. He confirmed that the NC Forest Service burned them because they were a safety hazard.

“How did you know?” He asked.

“We walked over there,” I said.

What's left of the Summit buildings
What’s left of the Summit buildings

The ranger thought we had taken a trail which clearly said “No unauthorized entry” but we hadn’t. We went off-trail.

He tried to intimidate me by telling me that that was illegal and I would be fined and maybe even thrown out of the forest.

Well, he was wrong.

There’s nothing in all the rules and regs on the map that says that hikers have to stay on the trail. His behavior was so different and belligerent, compared to National Park Service rangers, who really do want you on the land and try to make you welcome. I could have pulled out a piece of paper and gotten his name, but he probably would have walked away.

Another change.

On the Lake Julian Road, the old clubhouse was removed. The area was just cleared now. No need for a picture of a flat, empty space, like a missing tooth.




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