Cradle of Forestry is a 6500 acre National Forest Historic Site in North Carolina. It is located within Pisgah National Forest on scenic Highway 276 near Brevard, NC. America’s first school of forestry known as Biltmore Forest School was established over here in 1968. Dr. Carl Schenck, a German Forester, began the first college for forestry in America – the Biltmore Forest School in 1898. The school was opened and operated at the direction of George Washington Vanderbilt II, builder of the Biltmore Estate in Asheville.
The Cradle of Forestry offers a snap shot of life at America’s first school of Forestry. There is a Forest Discovery Center complete with interactive exhibits, movie hall, Gift Shop and a Cafe.You can watch an 18-minute movie on Vanderbilt and ride a fire fighting helicopter simulator.
There are 2 interpretive trails – Biltmore Campus Trail and the Forest Festival Trail, each is 1 mile long and is paved. The Biltmore Campus Trail passes seven historical buildings, including a schoolhouse, commissary, and student quarters. The Forest Festival Trail explores Dr. Schenck’s forestry experiments, a portable saw mill, and a logging locomotive that you can climb aboard.
The admission fee is $5 for adults and free for children. For more details, please visit the official site here.
We visited Cradle of Forestry in Fall 2009 during our visit to Pisgah National Forest. It is a beautiful place to spend at least half a day. The trails are paved which makes it accessible. Here are some photos from our trip. Click on the thumbnails to view larger images.