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Year of the trail: To celebrate, here are 6 Brunswick places to walk, bike or paddle

Picture from StarNews Online

By Jamey Cross – Wilmington StarNews – February 1, 2023

It’s the Year of the Trail and North Carolinians are looking to get outside and discover more in 2023.

The statewide trails campaign – led by the Great Trails State Coalition – is the “largest statewide celebration of trails and outdoor recreation in North Carolina history,” according to its website. Hoping to boost outdoor recreation tourism and promote diversity and inclusion on trails, the effort has been adopted in several localities across the state.

While trails in coastal Brunswick County prove no match for the hiking available in the state’s mountains or foothills, there are dozens of miles to explore all the nature the county has to offer.

Whether you prefer walking, biking or paddling, here are six places to find Brunswick’s can’t-miss trails.

Green Swamp Preserve
Famous for its orchids and carnivorous plants, the Green Swamp covers more than 17,400 acres near Supply.

Explore the swamp’s rare animals (Henslow’s sparrows and Hessel’s hairstreak butterflies) and dense wetland on a walk along the flat, 1.3-mile Green Swamp Preserve Trail.

Ev-Henwood Nature Preserve
The University of North Carolina Wilmington acquired this 174-acre preserve in 1991.

Located near Winnabow, the preserve is largely used for research and educational opportunities through the university. However, the preserve is free and open to the public.

Some 15 trails are featured along two self-guided learning trails, both taking around two hours to complete.

There’s just one catch: if you’re fond of walking with your furry friends, dogs are not allowed at Ev-Henwood.

Brunswick Nature Park
Located on River Road in Town Creek, just 10 miles from Leland, the Brunswick Nature Park features 912 acres of undeveloped wilderness to explore.

The park features 3.5 miles of hiking trails, 7.2 miles biking trails, and access to the Brunswick County paddle trail.

Boiling Spring Lakes Preserve
More than 6,600 acres in size, the Boiling Spring Lakes preserve features a three-mile hiking trail and a bounty of flora and fauna.

Look out for the rare, endangered red-cockaded woodpecker on your next walk.

Oak Island Nature Center
Open Memorial Day to Labor Day, the Oak Island Nature Center features a tree trail, butterfly garden and dock. During the open season, the center features several family and kid-friendly events.

Westgate Nature Park
If you’re looking for outdoor fun for the entire family, Westgate Nature Park is the place to be.

Located in Leland, this three-acre park offers a 0.3-mile accessible asphalt trail, wooden boardwalk, and nature-themed playground.

Jamey Cross covers Brunswick County for the StarNews. Reach her at jbcross@gannett.com or message her on Twitter @jameybcross. [Original Article]