Americ's First Forestry School.
October 15, 2015
If you want to get out in the
Blue Ridge Mountains for a day fraught with pioneering
spirit, then you have to visit the Cradle of Forestry,
located in the Pisgah National Forest near Brevard NC. With
6,500 acres of preserved mountain land, this birthplace of
forestry in America was purchased in the 1900s by nearby
Biltmore House owner and developer George Vanderbilt. His
spouse, Edith, practically donated the land to the U.S.
With more than a century of forest preservation and culture, the Cradle of Forestry provides insight to how early forestry worked in the 19th and 20th century. Walk along the Biltmore Campus Trail and discover neat forestry events. Check out the 1915 locomotive which rests along the Forest Festival Trail.
My family trip to the Cradle of Forestry was on a Wednesday afternoon last summer. I remember as a kid how we would walk a trail and find old cabins furnished with the wares of the day. Just inside each cabin, there was a button you could push to hear a message about the cabin and how the early pioneers lived. This time, we didn't walk the cabins trail, but instead chose to walk one of the paved nature walks.
There are two paths you can walk - one is about a mile long and the other is two miles long. There is plenty of neat things to see, including an old locomotive, trout pond, etc. I also enjoyed the little signs with labels of names of various plants, bushes and trees the lined the path.
Walking either trail is perfect for families, elders, and just about anyone who is looking for an interesting, knowledge-filled hike. There were benches here and there one could rest upon. Bring a bottle of water, though.
There is also an open-air theatre where a live band was decorating the great outdoors with some down-home blue-grass music as several dozen onlookers relaxed and gazed.
"With more than a century of forest preservation and culture, the Cradle of Forestry provides insight to how early forestry worked in the 19th and 20th century."
After walking the path with my family and taking a load of pictures (below), we entered the beautiful museum where very nice forestry volunteers explained the various exhibits. After the kids crawled through a cave and checked out the different stuffed animals, and took a ride in a "real" forest service helicopter over wood land fires, we visited the cafeteria where we got something to drink and snack on, and then eased outside where we relaxed in rocking chairs and smelled the fresh Blue Ridge Mountain air!
It was a splendid day for all! If I'm not mistaken, because it was a Wednesday, we got in for free. Other days I think it costs only a few dollars a person.
The Cradle of Forestry is definitely worth a visit if you are in the area. Plan a trip that takes you on a picnic at nearby Pink Beds, followed by a couple hours at the Cradle of Forest Museum, and end it with a splash down Sliding Rock!
For now, I'm just going to post the images (lots of them!) I shot while at the Cradle of Forestry...
Built by the grandson of the famous Cornelius Vanderbilt, the Biltmore House is America's largest private residence.
Carl Sandberg Home