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jockey’s ridge celebrates 40 years this month

It’s hard to miss Jockey’s Ridge, the giant sand dune in Nags Head. On any given day it’s abuzz with hangliders, kite flyers, photographers, sunset gazers and just regular folks. The long trek up is rewarded by one of the best views on (and of) the Outer Banks with the mighty ocean to the east and majestic sound to the west. Hard to believe the dune was scheduled for demolition in the 70’s! Jeff Hampton, writing for The Virginian-Pilot, tells the tale of Jockey’s Ridge, and how it became a state park.

jockey's ridge

Jockey’s Ridge State Park. Chris Bickford Photography

“Carolista Baum stood before a bulldozer in the summer of 1973, defying the driver to keep scooping sand from Jockey’s Ridge for a planned condo complex.

The man told her he would stop but would return the following day. She waited until he left and removed the bulldozer’s distributor cap, remembered her daughter, Ann-Cabell Baum Andersen, a real estate agent in Raleigh.

“She did not take ‘No’ for an answer,” she said of her late mother.

Two years later, the tallest natural sand dune on the East Coast became a state park. Set along U.S. 158, Jockey’s Ridge draws more than a million visitors a year, consistently making it the most popular state park in North Carolina.

This year, the park turns 40, and the celebrations are coming. Music and activities are planned for May 31.”

Read the rest of this story about Jockey’s Ridge on The Virginian-Pilot!

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