Mecklenburg County Park and Recreation’s Natural Resource Division will recognize Prescribed Fire Awareness Month with a 5K trail run on Feb. 15, 2014, at Latta Plantation Nature Preserve.
The trail run will begin at 8:30 a.m. at the Nature Center
, near the entrance of the preserve, and will take runners through eight different areas that have been burned in different years. One area includes the Latta Prairie, which is burned annually to reduce the encroachment of trees in order to protect populations of two federally endangered plant species in the prairie.
The race is $25 until Feb. 5 and $30 from Feb. 5 until Feb. 12. A kids’ race will also take place and cost $5 per entrant. Register online here
. Registration includes a t-shirt and post-race refreshments. Packet pick-up will take place at REI-Northlake on Feb. 14 from 4-6 p.m. Smokey the Bear will attend the race to encourage runners and present awards. Free nature tours will be led by Latta Plantation Nature Center staff following the race.
Every year the Natural Resources Division burns approximately 300 acres to enhance wildlife habitat, forage and encourage native species. Most burns take place in the Mountain Island Lake area in Huntersville where the County manages approximately 7,000 acres of nature preserve. Spring is the most likely time citizens will see burning activity, and although the burns are helpful to nature, some of the larger burns emit considerable smoke plumes.