Coastal North Carolina communities are collecting old Christmas trees and sticking them in sand dunes to combat beach erosion.
After stripping the ornaments and untangling the lights, coastal residents can recycle their trees at the Fort Macon State Park. Park officials will stake the trees along the sand dune line in areas where the beach is eroding. Officials expect to receive more than 1,000 trees this year.
The retired Christmas trees serve the same purpose as fences without the expense. Park officials say the trees' needles collect blowing sand and can promote beach vegetation growth.
Residents can drop trees off at the Fort Macon bathhouse through mid-January.
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