Had a nice, nocturnal hike through Nags Head Woods, an ecological preserve on the Outer Banks.  Tracking footprints in the dark through sand dunes and marshland.  Strange to see enormous oaks, hickories, and beech trees, some hundreds of years old, growing in the sand.

Also interesting, in light of our current economic climate, was the story behind Nags Head Woods’s designation as a National Natural Landmark in 1974.  Seems the whole area was slated for the same bulldozing, asphalting and condo-spawning that has overtaken so much of our loveliest terrain.  Then the economy tanked and the developers withdrew, leaving the opportunity for preservationists to move in.

Sometimes when there is no money to be had, those of us with other things on our minds than making money can reap a handsome profit.  So says Nags Head, anyway.

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