Jockey's Ridge

Fact Sheet

brochure Jockey's Ridge - Fact Sheet

Fact Sheet for Jockey's Ridge State Park (SP) in North Carolina. Published by North Carolina State Parks.

Activities Jockey’s Ridge State Park is located in Nags Head in the Outer Banks. It is home to the Atlantic coast’s tallest living sand dune, which reaches heights of over 60 feet. The park covers 426 acres and is made of three unique ecosystems: the Roanoke Sound, the dune system and the maritime forest. It is a premier spot for kite flying, sandboarding and enjoying beautiful sunsets. Experience the Park! GPS: 35.9642, -75.633 Jockey’s Ridge State Park 300 W Carolista Drive, Nags Head, NC 27959 252-441-7132 Fun Facts You can find fulgurites, which are glass tubes formed when lightning hits the sand.* *If you find a fulgurite, please do not remove it from the park. • White-tailed deer • Brown pelican • Fox • Coyote • Osprey ■■ The park was established in 1975. ■■ The dunes were formed 3000-4000 years ago, and were historically an important landmark for mariners ■■ Dunes are an example of medano, which is a huge hill of shifting sand that lacks vegetation ■■ The dune acts as a huge sponge, pulling water from the underlying water table. Only the top layer (approximately 6 inches) of the dune remains dry and moves while the wet sand helps the dunes retain their shape. ■■ Jockey’s Ridge is an example of a back-barrier dune. This refers to the formation on the landward side of the Outer Banks where large volumes of sand were deposited by winds and waves. ■■ Jockey’s Ridge was once part of the back barrier dune system that reached to False Cape, Virginia. ■■ In 1973 portions of the dunes were slated to be flattened for residential development. Carolista Baum was instrumental in saving the dunes by planting herself in the path of the bulldozer to shut down the operation. ■■ In 1974 the dunes were declared a National Natural Landmark by the National Park Service. Due to the seasonal shift in wind direction, the dunes constantly change shape and size. Plant life in the maritime forest includes shrub thicket for vines, live oak and loblolly pines The year-round prevailing winds make Jockey’s Ridge a great place for kite and model plane flying and hang gliding ■■ Seven natural communities are documented within the park: dune grass, estuarine fringe pine forest, interdune marsh, live dune barren, maritime evergreen forest, maritime shrub, and tidal freshwater marsh. MNQPV Legend says the name “Jockey’s Ridge” came from the early inhabitant’s practice of capturing and racing wild ponies in the area.

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