Celebrating the woman who faced a bulldozer to save Jockey’s Ridge

Carolista Baum with Jockey's Ridge in the background. [Photo courtesy N.C. State Parks]

On Aug. 15, 1973, Carolista Fletcher Baum stood in the path of a bulldozer removing sand from Jockey’s Ridge and refused to move. The driver talked with Baum and left the dune unscathed that day. But after he left, Baum took the distributor cap so the machine would not start.

Local groups had talked about protecting the large dune from development for years, but it was Baum’s act of civil disobedience that made it a reality.

On Aug. 14, the Friends of Jockey’s Ridge celebrate patron saint Carolista Baum’s birthday at the group’s annual Dune Day celebration.

After the confrontation with the bulldozer, Baum helped form the People to People to Preserve Jockey’s Ridge, raising money and organizing petition drives to capture the attention of state and local lawmakers, according to the North Carolina Department of Natural and Cultural Resources.

That same year, the Division of Parks and Recreation issued a report in favor of preserving Jockey’s Ridge as a state park, and a year later the dune was declared a National Natural Landmark. When the General Assembly appropriated funds to create the park in 1975, the preservation of the dune was secured for generations to come.

Dune Day festivities take place Aug. 14 from 4-6 p.m. at Jockey’s Ridge, with live music from Mojo Collins, special guest speakers, celebratory refreshments, crafts, park history, wildlife programs and raffle prizes. The event is free and family friendly.

For more information, see friendsofjockeysridge.org

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Kari Pugh is digital director for OBXToday.com, Beach 104, 99.1 The Sound, 94.5 WCMS and Classic Rock 92.3. Reach her at [email protected]