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Bladen and Cumberland Counties
Topographical maps are available by contacting:
NC Geographical Survey.
1612 Mail Service Center
Raleigh, NC 27699-1612.
N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission
512 North Salisbury Street
Raleigh, NC 27611
In 1998, the State of North Carolina purchased approximately 8,000 acres of the Horseshoe Lake natural area in Bladen and Cumberland Counties from Canal Industries, Inc. The tract is now managed by the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission as the Bladen County Game Land and is open to the public for hiking, fishing, boating, birding, and special permit hunting. The Nature Conservancy assisted the State with the acquisition of the Horseshoe Lake property. In addition, Dohn Broadwell is donating a series of conservation easements to The Nature Conservancy that will eventually protect 1,915 acres adjacent to the game land.
A visitor to one of the country's most extensive Carolina bay complexes, the Horseshoe Lake natural area, will be rewarded with many sights that are uncommon in North Carolina. Rounding a bend in this horseshoe-shaped Carolina bay near Fayetteville, you might see an anhinga perched in a tree, black and white wings spread wide, or thousands of yellow pitcher plants floating on a soggy vegetation raft in the middle of the bay.
Horseshoe Lake is located near other ecologically significant state-owned land including Jones Lake State Park, Bushy Lake State Natural Area, and Bladen Lakes State Forest. These natural areas comprise a vast expanse of unique natural communities considered nationally significant by the N.C. Natural Heritage Program.
The largest bay in the area, called Horseshoe Lake or Suggs Millpond, is best explored by small boat. The expansive, partially water-filled Carolina bay is dominated by unusual vegetation, such as floating and rooted aquatic plant beds, floating bog mats, and pond cypress stands, that may have been created naturally after deep peat fires or possibly developed from beaver ponds. The lands surrounding the bay contain other rare natural communities, including pocosin, Atlantic white cedar forest, and pond pine woodland. The rim of the bay is characterized by pine flatwood, sandhills scrub communities, and an array of rare plants, including populations of Venus flytrap, white wicky, and threadleaf sundew. In addition to the rare anhinga, Horseshoe Lake is home to waterfowl, American alligator, fox squirrel, pine barrens treefrog, and mammals such as black bear and bobcat that require large expanses of land.
Hiking / Canoeing / Birding
Heading south from Fayetteville on I-95, take exit 49 and go east on NC 53/210. Follow NC 53 after it splits to the right from NC 210 after about 2.8 miles. After about 8 miles turn left onto SR 1327 just past the community of Jerome. Take the right fork when SR 1327 seems to split where the pavement ends, this is still SR 1327. After about 4 miles, look for a dirt road to the left. Take that road to get to the game land. At press time, the Wildlife Commission was in the process of marking the game land boundaries, so look for Wildlife Commission signs.