Nestled in Pink Beds Valley is the Cradle of Forestry in America, the birthplace of science-based forest management and a living legacy made possible by George and Edith Vanderbilt of the nearby Biltmore Estate. Some 87,000 aces of the Vanderbilt’s “Pisgah Forest” tract became the nucleus of the Pisgah National Forest, established in 1916.
This 6500 acre historic site was created by Congress in 1968 to “preserve, develop, and make available to this and future generations the birthplace of forestry and forestry education in America.”
Today the Cradle of Forestry is jointly managed by the US Forest Service and the Cradle of Forestry in America Interpretive Association and is open to visitors from mid-April to early November. As you enter the main gate (4 miles off the Blue Ridge Parkway at Milepost 412) you will be rewarded with the opportunity to explore the past, present, and future of environmental sustainability and stewardship – brought to visitors through paved interpretive trails, interactive exhibits, film, music, drama, guided tours, nature programs, craft demonstrations, and special events. A sustainably designed Forest Discovery Center with its gift shop and café welcomes visitors to the historic structures and a relaxing walk through the woods or neighboring Pink Beds Valley.