The North Carolina Forest Service operates a system of six Educational State Forests (ESFs) designed to teach the public - especially school children - about the forest environment.

Since the first ESF opened in Johnston County in 1976, the ESF program has become very popular - so popular that teachers must make reservations months in advance to bring their students to the forest for environmental education classes.

Each forest features self-guided trails that include exhibits, tree identification signs, a forest education center and a talking tree trail.

Specially trained rangers are available to conduct classes for school and other youth groups. Teachers or group leaders choose from a selection of 30-minute programs that cover all aspects of the forest environment - from soil, water and wildlife to timber and forest management.

Link to Teacher's Guide to the ESF systemNorth Carolina's Educational State Forests offer a variety of classes compatible with teaching objectives listed in the NC Department of Education science curriculum.

State Forest Rules (PDF)

CESF photo Link to Clemmons ESF
The first of North Carolina's Educational State Forests, Clemmons opened in 1976 in Johnston County.

HESF photo Link to Holmes ESF
Holmes is located in Henderson County in the Blue Ridge Mountains, with rugged terrain, numerous rock outcroppings, and scenic vistas.

JLESF photo Link to Jordan Lake ESF
Chatham County's Jordan Lake is one of the newest members of North Carolina's Educational State Forest system.

MIESF photo Link to Mountain Island ESF
Straddling Lincoln and Gaston Counties, Mountain Island ESF is currently under construction and will open for general public access in the near future.

RMESF photo Link to Rendezvous Mountain ESF
Rendezvous Mountain in Wilkes County showcases magnificent mountain hardwoods in one of the state's most scenic settings.

TCESF photo Link to Turnbull Creek ESF
Turnbull Creek is located among Bladen County's numerous "Carolina Bays" -- mysterious land formations particular to this section of NC's Coastal Plain.

TESF photo Link to Tuttle ESF
Located in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains in Caldwell County, Tuttle boasts a wide variety of pines and hardwoods plus rolling terrain and clear streams.