Jockey’s Ridge celebrated at Dune Day event

Published 4:14 pm Tuesday, August 22, 2023

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Friends and supporters of Jockey’s Ridge State Park celebrated Dune Day on August 15, marking 50 years since Carolista Baum stopped a bulldozer from removing sand from Jockey’s Ridge, and beginning a community-wide effort to protect and preserve the dune as a state park.

Dune Day festivities began at 4 p.m. with live music from Mojo Collins and Craig Honeycutt. Hot dogs and shaved iced were available for purchase, and Tortuga’s Lie donated a 1718 brewery keg. All proceeds went to Friends of Jockey’s Ridge, a local volunteer nonprofit that supports the efforts of Jockey’s Ridge State Park.

“It’s a very special place,” said Joy Greenwood, park superintendent. “Every single sunset is unique and beautiful. It’s really what Carolista and all the people in the community did – they preserved and protected this unique natural feature in the State of North Carolina.”

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Greenwood said that during the COVID-19 pandemic, the park welcomed over 1.8 million people each year. Jockey’s Ridge is the most visited state park in North Carolina.

“When you think about how many people that is over the years,” Greenwood said, reflecting on the millions who have made memories at this special location. “There are families who come up to watch the sunset every single night during their vacation.”

“If Jockey’s Ridge would have been developed,” Friends of Jockey’s Ridge board member Al Friedman added, “we would all be standing in somebody’s yard right now.”

The state park was created in 1975 with 152 acres. Today the park encompasses 426 acres.

Ann-Cabell Baum, daughter of Carolista Baum, is one of the newest board members of Friends of Jockey’s Ridge. She remembers the summer day when she and her brother and sister were playing as usual on the sand dune, and they heard the excavator.

“All we did was go tell mom and she fixed it. Don’t all people’s moms do whatever they need to do to make things right?” Baum asked.

“She really was a force to be reckoned with. But she didn’t just do this for three little kids, she did it for everybody … [If she could see] all the little kids here today, my mom would be over the moon. She would say, ‘Okay everybody, we’re going over the dune!’”

Dune Day was scheduled to wrap up with a community sunset climb up the ridge. When impending weather put off the climb, Baum quietly said, “That’ll be ok. We’ll have the opportunity tomorrow morning, and tomorrow mid-day, and forevermore.”