Discover Unique Wildlife at Gorges State Park

Explore Specialized Species

It is no secret that Gorges State Park plays host to several unique ecological niches. Due to the geological and climactic features that encompass the park, specialized species have adapted to exist within the unique conditions of Gorges State Park. 

Spotted Salamander
Within Gorges State Park, spotted salamanders are an indicator of biodiversity and unique habitats. These salamanders thrive in the moist hardwood ecosystems of the Blue Ridge Escarpment that encompasses the park. Freshwater streams and springs provide ample habitats for these algae-loving amphibians. 

Bryophytes & Ferns
Bryophytes (mosses, hornworts, and liverworts) are non-vascular plants, meaning they have no roots. These unique plants play an important role in regulating forests through ecosystem services. Specialized fern species such as the Gorge Filmy-Fern, Appalachian Filmy-Fern, and Dwarf Filmy-Fern are characterized by leaves only one cell layer thick. In fact, the Gorge Filmy-Fern exists nowhere else on Earth except the southern Appalachians. Together bryophytes and ferns assist the forests in Gorges State Park by filtering water and nutrients, protecting surfaces and animals, and providing habitat for species like the Spotted Salamander. 

Oconee Bell
Also called Shortia, the Oconee Bell is a rare wildflower that exists only in special places within the southern Appalachians; special places like Gorges State Park. This flower is characterized by white and yellow frilled flowers atop red stems and evergreen leaves. Often growing in colonies, these plants can be found alongside streams that populate the Jocassee-Gorges escarpment. 

Learn More About Ecology at Gorges State Park

Consider This:

If specialized species rely so heavily on ecosystems thriving, what role do we as outdoor enthusiasts play in supporting these species?

Volunteer with Us!

Our volunteers make the functions of FOG possible. Sign up for our Volunteer List to hear about upcoming volunteer opportunities for FOG and Gorges State Park. 

To sign up, complete our Volunteer Interest Form.

Thank you! 
Welcome New Board Members!
FOG is pleased to introduce three new board members. Please join us in welcoming Julie Yao, Chris Scorsone, and Bill Weir. To learn more about them and all our board members, visit our website!

New Website
Have you been on our website recently? Our website has received a major face lift! This new site features simple messaging, clear explanations, and new information including our bylaws. Check it out! Huge thank you to Brendon Voelker for making this change happen and creating such a beautiful and functional site!

Celebrate Springtime Environmental Holidays
Earth Day - April 22nd
National Trails Day - June 3rd
Show your support for public lands, trails, and our natural resources by giving back to your local state park. Visit our website for more information.
It's Wildflower Season!
With early spring-like weather, wildflowers are on the move! Flowers like the Oconee Bell are predicted to bloom earlier than usual. Please remember to be respectful, remain on trails, and leave the forest as you found it to support the future production of our beloved native flowers. 

Book a Campsite Today!

Want closer access to hiking trails, fresh mountain streams, mountain views, and a state-of-the-art Visitor Center? Book a campsite at the newly completed Gorges State Park Campground today! Visit the park website for additional information, and be sure to double check your information during registration. 

New Rangers are Welcomed to Gorges
Gorges State Park is in the process of hiring two new rangers. Please join us in welcoming them to the team! Our rangers help protect natural resources, provide educational opportunities, and ensure safe recreation in our local state park. 

Become a Friend Today!

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Our mailing address is:
Friends of Gorges State Park
P.O. Box 92
Sapphire, NC 28774

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Friends of Gorges · P.O. Box 92 · Sapphire, NC 29774-0049 · USA

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