Western North Carolina is deemed to be “First in Forestry” in the US. The Cradle of Forestry is 6,500 of beautiful forestland located in the Pisgah National Forest.
Founded in 1898, this was the start of forestry conservation and management in North America. Carl A. Schenck was the man responsible for implementing forestry education and the practices of silviculture among many other scientifically based theories. Invited over from Germany by George Vanderbilt, he was to work managing Biltmore Estate’s vast forestland on the property. After sharing his work and ideas with locals, men became very interested in learning more and becoming a part of this forestry movement. With the permission of Vanderbilt, Schenck opened the Biltmore School of Forestry on the estate grounds; establishing the first school of Forestry in North America. The lectured classrooms and student lodging were held in abandoned farm buildings on Biltmore Estate.
Following lectures, students would spend most of their time doing hands-on work in the forest directly applying the theories and practices they had just learned in the classroom. The school did not stay open long but the education and knowledge passed on would continue as young men were inspired to do more to preserve and produce the forests in Western North Carolina and surrounding areas. Schenck managed Biltmore Forest for 14 years restoring the abused/over farmed land into the luscious forest we see today, known as the Pisgah National Forest.
You can visit the Cradle of Forestry today to learn more and get an authentic feeling of how it was to be involved in Schenck’s movement; exploring the historic buildings, guided trails through the forest, see antique sawmills and other logging equipment used by the students of Biltmore School of Forestry back in 1898. If you’re interested in learning more and reliving some of our home’s historical past, visit the Cradle of Forestry located in the Pisgah National Forest!
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