Old Christmas trees find new purpose in Kitty Hawk

KITTY HAWK, N.C. (WITN) – Monday marked a new beginning for discarded Christmas trees along the outer banks.

Better Beaches OBX held its first ‘tree day’ of 2024 in Kitty Hawk, moving retired natural Christmas trees to their new homes where they will become sand fences along the dunes that front the ocean.

Volunteers met in the Ocean Boulevard Restaurant parking lot at noon to begin the task of moving the trees.

According to North Carolina Environmental Quality, natural Christmas trees may be used as a substitute for traditional sand fencing as long as they are free of decorations and placed in a way that meets the State’s rules for sand fencing.

According to the National Park Service (NPS), sand fencing on a beach or dune can help with building a new foredune or filling gaps in dune ridges. The fence reduces local wind speed and traps sand, with different fence configurations creating different dune forms and heights.

NPS officials say that the formation of dunes by sand fencing changes the highly dynamic zone between the beach and the dunes, an important habitat for nesting shorebirds and sea turtles.