DuPont State Recreational Forest, Gorges State Park and Pisgah National Forest are three crown jewels located in Transylvania County, providing first-class outdoor opportunities and attracting visitors from across the county and beyond, and playing a major role in the local economy. These three public lands receive either state or federal funds but can’t rely on them to meet all the demands of visitors. Three volunteer groups —Friends of DuPont Forest, Friends of Gorges State Park and The Pisgah Conservancy — each help their respective entities to meet their goals. The Friends of DuPont Forest is dedicated to supporting the 11,000-acre DuPont State Recreational Forest, which straddles Transylvania and Henderson counties. The Friends of DuPont Forest provide volunteers who work on projects, such as trail upgrades. Friends of the Falls was the precursor to Friends of DuPont Forest and was formed in 2000. The group’s efforts helped lead to the preservation and public access to the iconic High Falls, Triple Falls and Bridle Veil Falls and their eventual addition to the state forest. For more information, go to www.dupontforest.com. Formed in 2011, the nonprofit Friends of Gorges State Park fundraises and financially supports park programs, provides volunteers at the visitors center, helps with the development of facilities and generally promotes public awareness about the state park, which covers roughly 8,000 acres. Like the other groups, members of the Friends of Gorges State Park are there to provide “extra support” to the small numbers of state and federal employees who oversee and manage these huge swathes of land. For more information, go to www.friendsofgorges.org. The Pisgah Conservancy is a nonprofit formed and dedicated to improve the Pisgah Ranger District of Pisgah National Forest. The Pisgah District comprises 162,000 acres, including the portions in Transylvania County. Among The Pisgah Conservancy’s goals are to provide volunteers who support recreation through cleanup efforts, habitat improvements, and the maintenance and construction of trails, buildings and parking lots. For more information, go to www.pisgahconservancy.org. For more information about all local activities, go to www.transylvaniaexplorer.com.