In the Forest Discovery Center view an 18 minute movie about George Vanderbilt, Frederick Law Olmstead, Gifford Pinchot, Carl Schenck, and learn the story of the beginning of forestry in America.
The 6,500 acre Cradle of Forestry Historic Site near Brevard, North Carolina, commemorates the beginning of forest conservation in the United States. On this site in 1898, Dr. Carl Schenck, chief forester for George Vanderbilt’s Biltmore Estate, founded the Biltmore Forest School, the first forestry school in America.
The Cradle of Forestry preserves many original structures associated with Pisgah Forest and the Biltmore Forest School (1898-1913), first in the U.S. to train professional foresters. The one room community school and church (large photo with riders) became the forestry school’s classroom.
Some 87,000 aces of the Vanderbilt’s “Pisgah Forest” tract became the nucleus of the Pisgah National Forest, established in 1916.
The Cradle of Forestry offers many summer programs, including the popular Songcatchers’ Music Series which showcases traditional Appalachian music in an outdoor amphitheater (Sundays afternoons in July).
Today the Cradle of Forestry is managed by the US Forest Service and is open to visitors from mid-April to early November. Paved interpretive trails, interactive exhibits, films, music, drama, guided tours, nature programs, craft demonstrations, and special events give visitors the opportunity to explore the past, present, and future of environmental sustainability and stewardship.
A sustainably designed Forest Discovery Center with its gift shop and café welcomes visitors to the historic structures and to a relaxing walk through the woods or neighboring Pink Beds Valley.
The Blue Ridge Heritage Trail is a program of the Blue Ridge National Heritage Area Partnership.