Prohibited activities

Read our Recreation Impact Statement from August 2020 to learn about the significant negative impacts caused by unauthorized recreational activities.

The following activities are prohibited on the Duke Forest:

  1. Any off-trail activities
  2. Access after sunset or before sunrise
  3. Off-leash dogs
  4. Camping and/or campfires
  5. Hunting and/or carrying weapons
  6. Operating motorized vehicles
  7. Rock and tree climbing
  8. Group activities not pre-approved
  9. Removal or damage of vegetation
  10. Disturbing scientific research
  11. Horseback riding and mountain biking off of graded and mowed roads
  12. Geocaching, terracaches, and letterboxes (see below)
  13. Metal detecting (see below)
  14. Hobbyist drone flights (see below)

Geocaching, Hobbyist Drone Use, and Metal Detecting are not allowed

The primary mission of the Duke Forest is to serve as a living laboratory and outdoor classroom for teaching and research. While public recreation is permitted, these activities must not conflict with teaching and research projects or with the natural and historical values of the Forest.

Due to safety and research integrity concerns (including protection of research and natural areas; preservation of cultural and archaeological sites; maintenance of trails and the creation of unauthorized trails; safety of visitors and liability; and the overall adherence to Forest Regulations and Safety Guidelines) placing and/or searching for geocaches, terracaches, letterboxes, or any other form is strictly prohibited in all divisions of the Duke Forest. Similarly, flying drones and/or metal detecting is not allowed.

Hobbyist drone use is not permitted within or above the Duke Forest without expressed, written, and exceptional permission. Please refer to Duke University’s Drone Policy.

Any caches found will be considered abandoned property and will be removed and discarded. Any persons found flying drones or metal detecting will be reported to local law enforcement.

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