Start receiving our award-winning magazine today!

Subscribe

Boiling Spring Lakes Preserve

6,942 acres in Brunswick County




Open to the Public

Yes

Things To Do

Hiking / Birding / Wildflowers / Rare Plants View All

Plan Your Visit

This property is owned by the Plant Conservation Program and managed by TNC. View All

Get Directions
Slideshow: Skip Pudney's amazing carnivorous plant and flower pictures!
LOCATION:

Coastal Plain; Brunswick County

GPS COORDINATES: (Head of BSL Community Trail)

Longitude: -78.06360581700
Latitude: 34.02126500390

TOPOGRAPHICAL MAP:

"Bolivia, Funston, Lockwoods Folly, Southport"
Contact: NC Geographical Survey
1612 Mail Service Center
Raleigh, NC 27699-1612.
(919) 715.9718
www.geology.enr.state.nc.us/

OWNERSHIP & ACCESS:

(owner)
Plant Conservation Program
NC DA - Plant Protection Section
1060 Mail Service Center
Raleigh, NC 27699
216 West Jones Street
Raleigh, NC 27603
(919) 733-6930, ext. 231

(manager)
The Nature Conservancy
Southeast Coastal Plain Office
2807 Market Street
Wilmington, NC 28403 
(919) 395-5000

CONSERVATION HIGHLIGHTS:

Located within the incorporated limits of the town that is its namesake, the Boiling Spring Lakes Preserve encompasses half of the incorporated area of the town. The establishment of the Boiling Spring Lakes Preserve is the result of a collaborative partnership between the North Carolina Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services' Plant Conservation Program, The Nature Conservancy, the City of Boiling Spring Lakes and the North Carolina Natural Heritage Program. The land is owned by the Plant Conservation Program and is managed by The Nature Conservancy.

In an average natural area, there are 8 to 10 species of plants growing in one square meter, but in the wetlands of Boiling Spring Lakes there are several times that number.  A bounty of rare flora and fauna is found in this landscape, including:

  • the federally endangered red-cockaded woodpecker
  • a variety of carnivorous plants (Venus flytraps, pitcher plants)
  • the endangered plant rough-leaf loosestrife
  • a variety of orchids
  • more than 400 vascular plant species
FURTHER READING:

Brunswick County may be well-known for popular beach towns like Ocean Isle and Sunset Beach, but botanists hold North Carolina's southernmost county in high regard for an entirely different reason - Brunswick County is home to the greatest number of rare plant species in the state - the Green Swamp region in particular.

Brunswick County is located in the heart of the Cape Fear region, which contains the richest flora along the Atlantic Coast north of Florida. The moderating effects of the Gulf Stream, the high occurrence of natural fires, the considerable amount of marl (limestone) underlying parts of the county, and the wealth of longleaf pine habitats and wetlands contribute to the region's extraordinary plant life.

Boiling Springs Lake wetland complex contains a fascinating cross section of the Cape Fear region's natural communities. Though the area's dense vegetation may look foreboding, this preserve offers a rare glimpse of a vanishing landscape. Located partially within the town of Boiling Spring Lakes, the natural area contains a mosaic of unusual geologic features. A series of parallel ridges and swales are the remnants of an ancient dune system. A large concentration of Carolina bays (elliptical wetland depressions) studs the landscape. Fire-dependent natural communities, including high and low pocosins (evergreen shrub bogs) and longleaf pine savannas and flatwoods on the ridges and bay rims, form an intricate mosaic of habitats.

Human activities, including development and road building, have fragmented the Boiling Spring Lakes natural area. Years of fire suppression have allowed wood plant growth to invade the open longleaf savannas and overtake many plant species. Conservancy land stewards are actively working to restore the Boiling Spring Lakes Preserve to its natural condition by conducting prescribed burns in longleaf and pocosin communities and replanting longleaf pines.

Hiking / Birding / Wildflowers / Rare Plants

The preserve is open year-round sunup to sundown.

The Boiling Spring Lakes Nature Trail allows visitors to walk through a portion of the more than 6,000 fragile acres that make up the preserve.

If you're spending time at Brunswick or New Hanover beaches, Boiling Spring Lakes Nature Trail offers an interesting break from sand and waves.  The trailhead is at the City of Boiling Spring Lakes Community Center.

Directions

The trail head is at the City of Boiling Spring Lakes Community Center.  From Wilmington, take US 17 South to US 87 South and follow signs for the Community Center. 

From South Brunswick beaches, take US 17 North to US 87 North and follow signs for the Community Center.

Discussion

Have you been to this preserve? Are you thinking of visiting? See what others are saying about their experiences and add your comments below.

Add Your Comments

Time for you to join the discussion. Tell us about your experience at this preserve. What plants and animals did you see? When did you go? You can help others plan their visit when you share your thoughts. And thank you for visiting one of our nature preserves!

comments powered by Disqus



Read our guidelines on posting comments




We’re Accountable

The Nature Conservancy makes careful use of your support.

More Ratings

x animal

Sign up for Nature eNews!

Sign Up for Nature e-News

Get our e-newsletter filled with eco-tips and info on the places you care about most.

Thank you for joining our online community!

We’ll be in touch soon with more Nature Conservancy news, updates and exciting stories.

Please leave this field empty

We respect your privacy. The Nature Conservancy will not sell, rent or exchange your e-mail address. Read our full privacy policy for more information. By submitting this form, you agree to the Nature.org terms of use.