Native Americans called it a pocosin, which in their language meant "swamp on a hill." A more accurate assessment of this seemingly flat area that rises slightly in the center might be "raised bog." Over thousands of years, organic matter (basically black muck) accumulated to form a pocosin, an area highly acidic and deficient in nutrients that produces a unique biological occurrence. The thickness of the muck varies from several inches at the edge to several feet at the center. Growth on the outer rim is typically pond pine with a dense understory of titi, the shrub Zenobia (unique to pocosins), and an impenetrable jungle of greenbrier vines. Toward the center of the waterlogged goo, trees thin and grow more stunted, and shrubs and vines diminish, their tangled roots providing the only footing. Thus you'll find the trailless Pocosin Wilderness in Croatan National Forest near the coast of North Carolina. People come to see the flora (no other national forest boasts the insectivorous Venus flytrap) and fauna, but there is no place to camp or even easily hike through the muck. Avian life abounds here on the Atlantic Flyway, with many water-related birds, hawks, owls, woodpeckers, and flycatchers. Biting insects also thrive, along with alligators and poisonous snakes.
Leave No Trace
How to follow the seven standard Leave No Trace principles differs in different parts of the country (desert vs. Rocky Mountains). Click on any of the principles listed below to learn more about how they apply in the Pocosin Wilderness.
Digital and paper maps are critical tools for wilderness visitors. Online maps can help you plan and prepare for your visit ahead of time. You can also carry digital maps with you on your GPS unit or other handheld GPS device. Having a paper map with you in the backcountry, as well as solid orienteering skills, however, ensures that you can still route-find in the event that your electronic device fails.
Motorized equipment and equipment used for mechanical transport is generally prohibited in all wilderness areas.
This includes the use of motor vehicles, motorboats, motorized equipment, bicycles, hang gliders, wagons, carts, portage wheels, and the landing of aircraft including helicopters.