Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Cradle of Forestry, Pisgah National Forest, NC

Our next journey in our state travels with Eddie the Forester was to journey less than an hour from Asheville to the Pisgah National Forest and the Cradle of Forestry, birthplace of Forestry in America. Eddie rode on the bus with the teachers, and the kids and I met them at the Cradle for a very educational and fun day.

From the website:

Continuing a legacy of forest conservation history, the Cradle of Forestry offers a snap shot of life at America’s first school of Forestry along the Biltmore Campus Trail. You can also take a picturesque walk along the Forest Festival Trail complete with a restored 1915 logging locomotive, or take a ride with firefighters aboard a helicopter on their way to a roaring fire in the wilds of Idaho in the Forest Discovery Center Exhibit Hall.

Come explore the sights and sounds, check out the events and activities, and plan your adventure at the birthplace of Forest Conservation in America – the Cradle of Forestry.

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Welcome to the birthplace of Forestry in America. 

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Eddie and I and the kids demonstrate the massive size of this old saw mill blade.  And look more bears to continue our theme from New Bern. 

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This was an old North Carolina Forest Service helicopter used to get an aerial view of wildfires.  We took a ride to see a roaring wildfire in Idaho.  Forester Eddie has assisted with wildfires in Idaho and many other states out west.  

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A little history lesson learning about some of the important people who made sustainable forestry the thriving enterprise it is today.  John Muir , founder of the Sierra Club; Gifford Pinchot, First Chief of the U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service; Bernard Fernow, Chief of Division of Forestry; President Theodore Roosevelt, lover of forest and land preservation and founder of many national parks; and Dr. Carl Schenck, German Forester and founder of Biltmore Forest School. 

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The boys and I got creative building some unique structures with pieces of wood.  We also crawled through an underground tunnel and found this little rabbit nest.  Look at those cute little baby bunnies. 

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We took a walk on the Forest Festival trail.  The boys enjoyed some "horseback" riding and exploring the forest.  There were lots of little stations along the walk to capture children's fascination.  
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Early forestry involved using these mobile saw mills that could be pulled into the forest by horses and mules so that the logs could be cut onsite since there was no feasible way to carry the huge whole logs out of the forest.  It was more manageable for horses to carry cut lumber out of the forest.  It was, of course, very dangerous to operate these saw mills with their very sharp blades, and many serious and even deadly injuries were sustained in the business.  Building good roads to help carry the timber out of the forest to market was a very important endeavor undertaken by Dr. Schenck.
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Finally, we reached the 1915 logging locomotive.  You know trains are always a big hit with these boys.   Trains became a very important innovation in the forestry industry and made the job of getting huge logs out of the forest and to the mills much easier. 
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Along with the logging locomotive, this workhorse was a very important innovation for forestry advancement to help lift whole logs onto the train.  


The mountains of North Carolina boast some pretty extraordinary waterfalls.  We have explored some of these majestic beauties on other mountain explorations in the past, but we were still impressed by this one in the Pisgah National Forest.  It is located in a very scenic spot and is a popular spot for swimming and cooling off in the heat of summer.  We didn't pack our swimsuits, but the boys and I enjoyed cooling off our feet in the clear, cool mountain water.  While it felt good to just my feet, I think it would have been a little too cold for whole body immersion although there were some brave souls diving in.  We stopped to see the waterfall on the way to the Cradle, but we stopped again on our way back with Daddy with us to take a family picture.

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A beautiful spot to spend a hot summer day. 

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Evan ventured out further on the rocks while Brody, Mattox and I stayed by the edge.  He was very brave climbing over the rocks and did not fall in. 

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And some shots of our family at the falls.  I wish Eddie was on the other side of me since he is blocking much of the falls. 


  1. Every single post you write about your travels just makes me want to come back to North Carolina and follow in your footsteps. This looks like a beautiful place to spend some time.

  2. I totally agree with everything that Natasha said above. I hope you don't mind taking me to all of these places when I come to visit. I'm also totally obsessed with the name "Cradle of Forestry". It just sounds so cool. And what a cool place it is. I love it when they have interactive things to do, like the building blocks. And I know you were in love with those baby bunnies.

    Of course I have to mention the waterfall too. Gorgeous! Even if Eddie is blocking all of it. Ha ha ha!


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