Together, we can protect our parks

Our Outer Banks national parks are a vital part of our unique community. They protect the nature, history, culture, and spirit of freedom you think of when you make your way here each year.

Outer Banks Forever is the official nonprofit partner of our Outer Banks national parks. We help you make an impact by raising funds and awareness for park projects and programs that are only possible with your partnership.

Below you’ll find out current list of projects and programs you can support to help make our Outer Banks national parks more accessible and create new ways for you and your loved ones to experience them.

Learn more about our park projects below! 

Questions about our park projects? Email Jessica Barnes, our Director, at:

OnGoing Projects

Adopt A Sea Turtle Nest

One of the most awe-inspiring reasons we all love Cape Hatteras National Seashore is that its pristine beaches are a perfect home for our sea turtle friends. You can help us protect and enhance this special place by symbolically adopting your very own sea turtle nest!

Adopt A Pony

If you love Ocracoke Island, then you’ve likely stopped by to visit with the island’s most popular residents, the Ocracoke ponies! Now, you can symbolically adopt one of these amazing creatures and help fund their care and maintenance.

Junior Rangers

Five Junior Rangers (three on left, two on right) stand in front of the first flight photograph at Wright Brothers National Memorial.

Each year, thousands of kids who visit our Outer Banks national parks pledge to protect and continue to learn about these parks, as well as share their national park stories with friends and family members. These Junior Rangers, from earning their first badge to earning their hundredth (or more), represent the next generation of national park lovers and stewards. We support the Junior Ranger programs in our parks by covering the costs of printing Junior Ranger books and the creation of Junior Ranger badges. 

Love the Beach, Respect the Ocean

We help raise awareness of the importance of beach and ocean safety through this local partnership that includes engaging locals and visitors on social media and through a seasonal text message alert system that keeps each of us informed on how to safe while on the beach and in the water. 

Current Projects

Pathways to Your National Parks

The Cape Hatteras Lighthouse photographed against a blue sky with clouds on a sunny day with a sand dune and sea oats in the foreground.

Whether you enjoy walking, running, or cycling, we need your support to help build new, paved multi-use paths in all three parks that will create new and safer ways for you and your family to explore these special places. The first pathway will connect Route 12 to Old Lighthouse Beach and the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse. Along the route you’ll learn about local wildlife, fishing and watersports in the Outer Banks, and walk step by step along the route the lighthouse itself took when it was moved in 1999 to its current site. We’re also working to fund the installation of brand new, accessible restroom and shower facilities at the Old Lighthouse Beach Access! 

 Funding Needed: $100,000 for new restroom and shower facility 

Freedom Trail at Fort Raleigh

Fort Raleigh National Historic Site may be best known as the site of the “Lost Colony,” but it was also part of the Underground Railroad and home to more than 3,000 freedom seekers during and after the Civil War. The Freedom Trail will provide a new way for you to learn about this story of hope and resilience as you make your way through maritime forest to view the Albemarle Sound.

Funding Needed: Project fully funded!

Artist in Community

Our Outer Banks national parks have long inspired artists from around the world with their beauty and history. You can help us support local Outer Banks artists and artists from around the nation  in creating art inspired by our Outer Banks national parks during two 4-week residencies each year. They will also host events for you to learn new art techniques and inspire our community.

Views From Your Parks: Webcam Project

You can help bring our parks’ amazing views right into your home by helping install webcams on the Wright Brothers Monument (pictured) and the Waterside Theater at Fort Raleigh!

Update: The Cape Hatteras Lighthouse webcam has been temporarily removed due to lighthouse restorations.

Funding Needed: $5,000 

Earth Science "Every Kid Outdoors" Teachers Workshop

Some of our park staff are headed to Denver, Colorado, this fall to teach and Earth Science curriculum workshop for fourth grade teachers! This day-long workshop will be based on Next Generation Science Standards, including lesson plan development and field studies. We are supporting this workshop by printing lesson plans for our park partners and providing stipends for teachers attending. 

Funding Needed: Program fully funded!

Educational Exhibits at Fort Raleigh National Historic Site

New educational exhibits will help improve your understanding of the life of the colonists on Roanoke Island and their known experiences to better connect us to the humanity of the Raleigh expeditions. This project will provide a new 3-D touchable map of the earthen fort for outdoor display, new educational signs throughout the park, historic props for programming, and marking the foundation of the newly discovered Joachim Gans’ metalworking shop. 

Funding Needed: $37,700 

Updated Park Movies at Fort Raleigh National Historic Site

This project will create two new 9 to 12-minute educational park movies for the Visitors Center that highlight the importance of all of Fort Raleigh’s stories. One film will focus on the early history of Roanoke Island, including Carolina Algonquian culture, English attempted settlement, colonist stories, and more, and a second film that will focus on modern history at the site, including the Underground Railroad and the Freedman’s Colony, Reginald Fessenden’s radio experiments, and more.  

Funding Needed: $60,000-$70,000 

The Wright Flight Academy

We helped Wright Brothers National Memorial launch The Wright Flight Academy in 2023 in partnership with First Flight High School. Junior and Senior students are currently learning how to build an FAA-certified airplane in a new workshop built at the park. Check out our YouTube channel for a series of videos we’re helping the park produce to document this inspirational new program! 

Funding Needed: Project fully funded! 

Completed Projects

Views From Your Parks: Cape Hatteras Lighthouse

With support from our partners at Surfline and the Outer Banks Visitor’s Bureau, you can now enjoy the beautiful view from the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse from anywhere in the world!

Update: The Cape Hatteras Lighthouse webcam has been temporarily removed due to lighthouse restorations.

Expanding Digital Learning at Wright Brothers National Memorial

You helped expand our park’s digital learning program to include a new online video series, live in-classroom virtual field trips, and new digital partnerships with other aviation history parks including the National Aviation Heritage Area and Dayton Aviation Heritage National Historic Park!

Kayak Launch at Oregon Inlet

A family enjoying the new Oregon Inlet Kayak Launch. One youth is standing on a paddleboard and one youth is in a kayak while an adult looks on.

Your support helped build a mobility-friendly kayak launch at the Oregon Inlet Fishing Center that provides a safe way for non-motorized water sport enthusiasts to experience the beautiful Pamlico Sound!

Education Garden at Fort Raleigh

The new education garden at Fort Raleigh highlights the importance of agriculture in our community and includes crops that were cultivated by the Carolina Algonquian peoples, Europeans, and members of the Freedmen’s Colony on Roanoke Island. You can visit the garden next to the Visitors Center to better understand the important stories of the people who shaped our unique Outer Banks community. 

Signal Tower at the Historic Hatteras Weather Bureau Station

With support from the Outer Banks Visitors Bureau, we helped fund the rebuilding and installation of the coastal warning signal tower that was once a cornerstone of the Hatteras Village community. The tower, stationed behind the Historic U.S. Weather Bureau Station in Hatteras Village, once again flies weather signal flags that signify wind and weather conditions.

Open OutDoors for Kids Field Trips

Each year, students across North Carolina learn about the state’s history, including the important stories of American Indian peoples, English exploration, the Freedmen’s Colony on Roanoke Island, and the Wright brothers’ first flight, which our Outer Banks national parks preserve. With support from the National Park Foundation, this program provides funding for field trips for students in our surrounding counties.