Taking down your live Christmas tree doesn’t have to be the end of its use.
Beach communities and local organizations are giving a new purpose to trees once they are disposed of after the holidays.
The Town of North Topsail Beach, which saw major erosion and damage to the dune system during Hurricane Florence, will use the discarded trees it collects to help in dune restoration.
“You put them on the beach and they are sand catchers and it helps build the dunes,” said Mayor Dan Tuman.
Tuman said the town hasn’t collected trees in recent years but there was a renewed interest to do so.
“We’re starting fresh; if it works we may continue it,” Tuman said.
The town is working on larger initiatives like a berm push to restore the dune system, Tuman said, but they are hopeful the Christmas tree collection will help as well.
Trees can be dropped off at the beach access at 315 New River Inlet Road about a half-mile from the town hall building. Trees can be left at the far end of the lot for three weeks after Christmas. All lights and decorations must be removed from trees prior to disposal.
There are also several locations along Bogue Banks where discarded trees will help restore dunes.
Fort Macon State Park has collected Christmas trees for many years and there is a particular need for them this year due to erosion from Hurricane Florence.
“We need them now more than ever because of damage along our beach,” Ranger Ben Fleming said.
Fleming said they are not sure how many trees to expect this year since so many residents were personally affected by the storm and may not have put up trees. The park plans to concentrate on restoring the inlet beach around the fort and depending on how many trees they receive may use along other parts on the beach as well.
Fleming said signs will be in place to direct people to where to dispose of trees. They can be dropped off daily between 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.
According to information from the Town of Emerald Isle, oceanfront residents are permitted to place old, natural Christmas trees in the dunes in front of their homes to help promote sand accretion.
Trees may also be dropped off at the Eastern Ocean Regional Beach Access at 2810 Emerald Drive between Dec. 26 and Jan. 11. The Surfrider Foundation’s Bogue Banks Chapter will be using the trees to restore the dune structure.
For those who want to help wildlife, Possumwood Acres Wildlife Sanctuary, 119 Doe Drive in Hubert, can also recycle Christmas trees for use at their wildlife shelter.
They use real trees in the cages to help insulate them and for other purposes. Trees can be dropped off at Possumwood any day between 11 a.m. and 5 p.m.
Reporter Jannette Pippin can be reached at 910-382-2557 or Jannette.Pippin@JDNews.com.