FORT MACON STATE PARK, N.C. (WNCT) – The scent of pine will soon drift along the ocean breeze of the North Carolina coast, and it’s all thanks to Fort Macon State Park doing their part to support dune restoration.
“We always tell folks if you’re going to get rid of your Christmas tree take it down to Fort Macon, if you don’t want to take it I’ll be happy to come get it for you,” said Mike Luker, who brings his and his neighbors trees to Fort Macon every year.
Which is exactly what many folks are doing in hopes of knowing their old trees will be put to good use.
“We brought our Christmas tree because we do it every year and it’s so much help for the sand dunes they put them out and you can see them if you walk along the dunes you can see them from years past,” said Buddy Davis with his granddaughter Emily.
For nearly five decades, Fort Macon State Park helps protect the coast by asking community members to drop off their old Christmas trees.
Beach erosion costs the state millions, but the high mounds of sand that make up dunes help to stop it.
Now the trees will help save homes.
“We’ll take the tree once it’s dropped off and we’ll take it out Into the dune and basically put them in areas we’re having erosion all problems or having blowouts we’ll try to stabilize them and build up the dunes here in the park,” said Randy Newman, the Superintendent at Fort Macon State Park.
The trees come at no cost to the state and are one of the best natural ways to help restore the dunes.
Even kids are joining in on the fun.
“They use them for their mountains or their little dunes,” said Ella Daniels.
“You put them out and then like when the ocean comes up and get it, it will hit the Christmas trees and it’ll keep them in place so the water has to be stronger to get over them and every year it’ll build up,” said Clayton Daniels.
Newman says the branches of 1500 trees bind sand together and the trees feed the dune grasses as they decompose, but because they decompose they must be replaced every year.
Park rangers also say they often see many folks who forget their collectable ornaments on the trees and urge everyone to remove all decorations before dropping the Christmas trees off at the park.