CARTERET COUNTY — Gene Huntsman, president of the Carteret County Wildlife Club, was honored April 15 by the Richard Dobbs Spaight Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution.
At the monthly meeting, Mary Lynne Keener, the chapter’s conservation committee chairperson, presented the DAR National Conservation medal and certificate to Huntsman for his lifelong dedication to getting the public outdoors and into the natural beauty of eastern North Carolina.
His commitment to this goal is most easily recognized by hikers on the Neusiok Trail, a 22-mile hiking trail that runs between the Neuse and Newport rivers, which is the longest hiking trail in the Croatan Forest.
Huntsman conceived of the trail around 1970, and ever since, has led County Wildlife Club members and other volunteers as they hacked out the trail by hand, then built boardwalks and bridges over wet areas. Later, the club added three shelters with firepits, which are much used by overnight hikers.
Huntsman also spearheaded routing and construction of the 11-mile Weetock Hiking Trail, an 11-mile trail near Haywood Landing north of Cape Carteret, which runs through quite different terrain, and in the spring, features massive blooms of bloodroot, mayapple and buckeye.
In accepting the award, Huntsman talked about his love of the outdoors and emphasized the importance for everyone to get out, walk a trail and truly see all the beautiful things that nature has to offer in eastern North Carolina.