A petition circling in our area is trying to keep a popular walking and biking trail from closing.
The U.S. Forest Service is set to shut down a five-mile area at Island Creek Trail in the Croatan National Forest. The trails are user-made, and are located on archeological sites that the Forest Service must preserve.
Deborah Walker, Acting Ranger of the Croatan National Forest said the trails were found during a routine check by a forest service archeologist.
"When he went back this year, he saw several trails going through the archeology sites and that raised several red flags in his mind."
Walker said the remains are more than 500 years old, and tell the story of old settlements. She said walking and hiking on the sites is detrimental to their value.
"If we start damaging that site, then we start losing pieces to the puzzle," Walker said.
A petition to keep the trail open has been signed by more than 300 people, including trail user Rose Brown.
"I just don't think they should (shut it down)," Brown said. "There's no other place to hike around here except going to Havelock."
The Forest Service is working with the public to come up with a solution for the lost trails. A new trail site will be open this fall at Flanners Beach, which is located off Highway 70 near Havelock.
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