At 29,335 acres, the Emily and Richardson Preyer Buckridge Reserve is both the largest single property in the Coastal Reserve and its only inland site. Located approximately 15 miles south of Columbia in Tyrrell County, the site is situated between Alligator River and Pocosin Lakes National Wildlife Refuges. This site is also a Dedicated Nature Preserve, authorized by G.S. 143B-135.250.
This Reserve site is part of the East Dismal Swamp, a wetlands complex that encompasses more than 320,000 acres in Dare, Tyrrell, and Washington counties. The majority of the site contains non-riverine swamp forest, peatland Atlantic white cedar forest, and pond pine woodlands.
Scattered remnant bald cypress and Atlantic white cedar stands occur in deep organic soils, while sweet gum grows in the rare mineral soils and black needle rush rims the perimeter of the site. Most of the oldest Atlantic white cedar forest has been cut, but there is an area of about 4,000 acres that represents the most extensive contiguous example of this forest type in the state. Buckridge maintains habitat for several rare, threatened, or endangered species. Confirmed rare species on site include the red wolf, red-cockaded woodpecker, bald eagle, American alligator, timber rattlesnake, and pigmy rattlesnake. Habitat for Atlantic and shortnose sturgeons, and high priority neotropical migrant birds is also maintained at Buckridge. Certain migratory birds, such as the black-throated green warbler, Swainson’s warbler, and prothonotary warblers, are dependent on southeastern-forested wetlands of the coastal plain for breeding.
Visiting the Site
The Buckridge site may be accessed from N.C. 94 by way of U.S. 64 in Columbia. Traveling south on N.C. 94, three routes give a visitor access to different portions of the site. For visitors with a boat, Frying Pan Landing is approximately 10 miles south of town, while Gum Neck Landing is further south in the community of Gum Neck. Both are N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission ramps and free to the public. Fifteen miles south of Columbia, N.C. 94 intersects with N. Gum Neck Road, which leads to Grapevine Landing Road. It bisects much of the Reserve and offers the easiest way to get a glimpse of Buckridge for visitors by car.
Visitors should be aware that Buckridge Coastal Reserve is part of the N.C. Game Lands program, so hunting is allowed at the reserve seasonally. Regulations and details about hunting seasons can be found on the NC Wildlife Resources Commission's website. Hunters should review the Buckridge game land boundaries before visiting the site to identify where hunting is allowed.
Be a responsible visitor: check out the reserve rules and policies before your visit.