The newly donated 476-acre property, commonly known as the “doughnut hole” was the site of a DuPont plant from 1956 until 2002. The plant was demolished in 2006, and since 2013 the N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, the N.C. Department of Environmental Quality and the N.C. National Guard — among other agencies — have been working with DuPont to accomplish the donation.
Planning is underway to determine how the 476 acres might be used. Possibilities include parking, hunting and a shorter route to Bridal Veil Falls, as well as partnerships with the N.C. National Guard to provide office space and low-impact training.
Public access could still be a few years away, however. The N.C. Forest Service must complete a long-range plan that meshes with DuPont Forest’s master plan and accounts for any sensitive environmental and natural areas.
Final remediation activities must wrap up, as well. For more than four decades, DuPont made high-purity silicon and X-ray films on the site, resulting in soil and groundwater contamination. The N.C. Division of Waste Management has been overseeing remediation activities — which are still DuPont’s responsibility regardless of the change in ownership — and earlier this year DuPont drafted a plan to conduct final cleanup activities. Once approved, this plan could take several years to carry out.
DuPont Forest is located between Hendersonville and Brevard and contains a variety of lakes, falls and trails that are visited by 750,000 people annually.