Pisgah National Forest Established, 1911

On March 27, 1911, the first land purchased under the newly enacted Weeks Act created Pisgah National Forest.

The Weeks Act, named for Massachusetts Congressman John Weeks, allocated $9 million in federal funds for the purchase of 6 million acres of land in the eastern U.S. that was specifically to be used for conservation.

Named for Buncombe County’s Mount Pisgah, which in turn was named for the peak from which the Bible says Moses viewed the promised land, the forest’s history is deeply connected with that of the neighboring Biltmore Estate. German experts hired by George Vanderbilt to manage Biltmore’s lands founded the nation’s first school of forestry in the area in 1898, and the bulk of the forest’s land came to the federal government in 1915 when Edith Vanderbilt offered to sell 86,700 acres of Biltmore property for a relatively small sum to ensure that land was preserved.

Today the forest includes more than 510,000 acres that stretch across 15 counties in the western part of the state.

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