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NC Guard partners with NC Forest Service at DuPont State Recreational Forest

Cedar Mountain

 

In a forest so beautiful the movies "Last of the Mohicans" and "The Hunger Games" filmed there how do you build a road with professional expertise and minimal ecological impact? Why, you call out the Guard.

“We are very happy to have the Guard,” said Jason Guidry, DuPont State Recreational Forest supervisor.

North Carolina National Guard soldiers with North Carolina Forest Service partners transformed a tangle of roots and mud into a soon to be finished service road at DuPont State Recreational Forest, located in Cedar Mountain.

“The capabilities of the North Carolina National Guard sets the standard as an agency partner,” said Guidry.

The 875th Engineer Company, headquartered in North Wilkesboro, with a detachment in Lexington, brought bulldozers, backhoes and other heavy equipment and years of experience the mission this April. Leaders carefully supervised the construction. They planned the movement of some of the largest vehicles in the Guard while maintaining the smallest possible footprint in one of the most beautiful areas of North Carolina visited by more than 300,000 people per year.

“We wanted to stay inconspicuous and out of the public’s way,” said Army 1st Sgt. Timothy Ashley, a senior leader with the unit.

The 1,000-foot road snakes uphill through the thick forest. Soldiers carefully leveled and graded the ground preparing it for the hundreds of tons of gravel needed. Large drainage pipes were hauled into place and buried beneath the road to control erosion and prevent damaging runoff. Young soldiers drove eight-wheel drive diesel-powered Heavy Expanded Mobility Tactical Trucks carrying everything needed at a modern construction site along a dirt road just inches wider than the truck.

“The soldiers got a lot of hands on training and showed the public how we give back to the community,” said Army Sgt. Michael Roach, a horizontal construction sergeant with the unit.

When finished, the gravel road will improve parking for nearly 80,000 visitors per year, traffic flow and public safety providing a safer route for large vehicles away from the many visitors to the park for years to come.

“The improvements mean more and better parking, ease of movement and better safety so the public can enjoy these natural wonders,” said Ashley.

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Contact: Sgt. Fst. Class Robert Jordon
Phone: (919) 664-6242

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