Longleaf Pine illustration with NCFS Shield Turnbull Creek Educational State Forest

Longleaf Pine illustration with NCFS Shield Turnbull Creek Educational State Forest

History of Turnbull Creek ESF

Turnbull Creek Educational State Forest found its humble beginnings as part of Bladen Lakes State Forest, which today spans over 32,000 acres in and around Bladen County. The Educational State Forest’s 890-acre portion was originally designated as an education area that visitors could drive through and see forested stands and some exhibits. In 1987 it was carved from Bladen Lakes State Forest, and officially known as Bladen Lakes Educational State Forest. You could imagine the confusion between the State Forest and the Educational State Forest to visitors and mail carriers. In July of 1993, the name was changed to Turnbull Creek Educational State Forest in efforts to avoid confusion and to highlight Turnbull Creek, which is a major boundary and feature of the forest. Over time, exhibits and classes have been added to the education forest, which is boasted as the only educational state forest in the coastal region of North Carolina.

Turnbull Creek Educational State Forest has been utilized by many agencies and entities throughout its history as a place for forestry research, having cultural and historical significance for naval stores history and native longleaf pine ecosystems, and being utilized as a landing zone for military aircraft in years past. Today, Turnbull Creek Educational State Forest hosts groups of all ages and sizes for classes on forest-related topics. It is also open to visitors for self-guided tours and hiking its trails and is considered a demonstration forest to show forest landowners and stakeholders how to manage property for their land management objectives.

Forest Features

  • Outdoor Education Workshops
  • Picnic Facilities
  • Charcoal Grilling Stations
  • Ranger Conducted Classes and Activities
  • Naval Stores Exhibit
  • Fire Control Exhibit
  • Forest Products Exhibit
  • Tree Identification Trail
  • Driving Paths
  • Wildlife and Birding Observation Deck
  • Longleaf Pine Ecosystems
  • Red-Cockaded Woodpecker Nesting Areas
  • Turnbull Creek, Jones Lake drain, and frog ponds

Location:

Public Access
Hours of Operation:

March 1 through October 31
Tuesday-Friday 9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Saturday & Sunday 11:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m.

November 1 through end of February
Tuesday-Friday 9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Saturday & Sunday Closed
Closed designated N.C. state holidays including Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Veterans Day, Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years

Maps: