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Ingles Open Road: Cradle of Forestry

We’re visiting a gorgeous park in the heart of a national forest. The birthplace of an industry, and the home to some of the most beautiful and diverse plant and animal life you’ll find anywhere. Welcome to the Cradle of Forestry.

Located near the charming town of Brevard, North Carolina and smack in the heart of the Pisgah National Forest, the Cradle of Forestry is home to 6,500 acres of beautiful Blue Ridge woodland, educational interpretive sites, and a rich history to share with all who visit.

What we know today as the Cradle of Forestry began in 1898 as the Biltmore Forest School. George Vanderbilt was growing the Biltmore Estate – acquiring 125,000 acres – and he needed some help caring for the property. I have trouble just keeping the weeds down at my house.

Vanderbilt hired Gifford Pinchot in 1891 and Dr. Carl Schenck in 1898 to help manage his sprawling estate. It was here in an area known as the Pink Beds that Schenck started the first forestry school in America, training young men on the responsible growth, care, and harvesting of trees.

This was the first scientifically managed forest land in the United States. Classes took place here and out among the trees of the surrounding area. Today, you can explore the school house and other historic structures.

There is certainly a lot of history to explore – from cabins to steam engines.

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And inside the Discovery Center you can take in a number of interactive exhibits on forestry, the Biltmore Forest School, Community Science interactive activities and more.

But the beauty of nature beckons as well. Here you can amble through 3 miles of educational trails featuring historic logging and milling equipment, and of course the gorgeous environs of the Blue Ridge Mountains.

The Blue Ridge Parkway borders the entire northwest side of the area, so beautiful automotive adventure can be a great complement to your ambulatory activities. However you choose to explore the Cradle of Forestry, one thing is for sure: you’re in for a great time.

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