Biltmore could be made to prove what America did not yet understand – that trees could be cut and the forest preserved
That was a quote from Dr. Carl Schenck, a German forester who came to work for George Vanderbilt in the late 1800s. He brought with him the seeds of what became the first school of forestry in the United States. This history and the concept of sustainable forestry is captured at the Cradle of Forestry in Pisgah National Forest.
I took my two granddaughters to the Cradle of Forestry mostly because I hadn’t been there for a long time. It consists of a building and two one-mile trails.
The Biltmore Campus Trail winds through the Biltmore Forest School where Schenck held his classes. This shows Schenck’s office, house and the student quarters. From what I can surmise, he was the only teacher. He lectured, held hands-on “labs” and even preached on Sundays. His was the ultimate one-room, one-teacher school house for college-aged students.
The Forest Festival trail shows how Pisgah was managed. But, let’s be real – as they say – all the kids and their adults flock to the portable sawmill and the logging train.
The plaques around the sawmill point out how dangerous a sawmill was. You could lose a finger or even a whole hand. Isn’t that gruesome? And my older granddaughter had to take a picture of the sign.
In the building, there are serious and fun exhibits on managing forests today. But I noticed that most visitors came without children.
This excursion would be coupled with a visit to Looking Glass Falls and other Blue Ridge Parkway sites.
So would a visit to the Cradle of Forestry be a good excursion for the ATC Biennial, next year?