Early in the 19th century railroads were being built throughout the expanding United States. Western North Carolina was growing as well. Asheville, a crossroads for agriculture, was also emerging as a magnet for tourists seeking the healing climate, loggers looking to harvest timber, and miners interested in the large deposits of minerals.
Old-Growth forests conjures up visions of the great forests that once covered most of eastern north America, and of towering trees undisturbed by logging and human settlement. They provide a vital link to our environmental past and are the preferred and sometime only habitat of a number of species.
Pisgah National Forest, founded in 1916, covers much of North Carolina’s northwestern mountains. Pisgah was the first national forest created from purchased land rather than from the public domain. Many of its half-million acres were purchased from the widow of the Biltmore Estate’s creator, George W. Vanderbilt.