History & Culture

Timeline of Significant Events for National Forests in NC:

1898 – Gifford Pinchot and George Vanderbilt established the Biltmore Forest School on Biltmore Estate land in Transylvania County; it becomes the nation’s first school of forestry.

1911 – Weeks Act is signed by President Wilson, authorizing the federal purchase of Eastern lands for restoration protection; 5 of the original 11 federal purchase units designated are it North Carolina.

1916 – The first major tracts of land are acquired by the Forest Service in NC, including the Biltmore Forest tract.

1916 (October 7) – Pisgah National Forest is formally established – the first eastern National Forest created from acquired lands – it is also designated as a National Game Preserve. (The Ocala NF in Florida was established in 1908 on Public Domain lands.)

1920 – Nantahala National Forest is formally established – includes land in NC, GA and TN.

1921 – Appalachian Forest Experimental Station (now Bent Creek) is established – one of the first 2 research stations in the Eastern US.

1931 – Uwharrie Purchase Unit is established.

1933 – Coweeta Experimental Forest (Coweeta Hydrologic Laboratory) is established. Manages the longest continuous environmental study on any landscape in North America, and one of the world’s oldest gauged watershed sites.

1936 – Croatan National Forest is established; the present borders for the Pisgah, Nantahala and adjacent state national forests are established (July 9).

1933 - 1942 – Civilian Conservation Corps establishes 24 camps across the National Forests in NC, building numerous administrative and recreation structures, trails and bridges that are still in use today.

1961 – Uwharrie National Forest is established.

1964 – First federal Wildernesses are established, including 2 in NC (Linville Gorge and Shining Rock); a total of 11 FS Wildernesses have now been designated in the state.

1968 – Cradle of Forestry (site of the original Biltmore Forest School) is given special Congressional designation as an educational and historical area.

1974 – First NC Wild and Scenic River (the Chattooga) is designated – a total of 3 Wild and Scenic Rivers have now been designated in the state.