ATLANTIC BEACH, Carteret Coutny - Your Christmas tree could get a second life at Fort Macon State Park. Ranger Paul Branch says wind from the ocean constantly erodes the sand dunes protecting Fort Macon.
"Then it leads to very rapid erosion, and you'd be surprised how much sand moves around at this place," Branch said.
That's why the park takes donations of about 1,500 Christmas trees every year. Rangers lay trees along the coast to help collect sand that would otherwise be blown away.
"You can already see from last year how these trees are stopping the sand, starting to building up a little bit," Branch said. "Also another thing it does, wind-born seeds, it gives them a place to start rooting."
Branch says without these dunes, and the tree donations every year, seagrass could not grow on the dunes and water would take over the park.
"There are times when Fort Macon was almost washed away," he said.
And it's a safe, environmentally friendly way to dispose of your tree.
"It provides a great way to use that tree after you're through with it," he said. "Get it back to nature."
You can donate your old trees, with all the decorations removed, at For Macon State Park through the end of January.