As with past Reunions, the Field Trip Committee is planning to offer optional day tours around Asheville for Wednesday, September 26, 2018. The committee is led by Linda Brett, retired R8 Forest Management Director and past Forest Supervisor of the National Forest in Texas. Prior to R8, Linda served in the WO-policy analysis and was a District Ranger in R5.
The selection of the field tours are intended to reflect the place and culture of the Appalachian Mountains, and its special connection with Forest Service history. We are working on the first of several tours. The first tour - the Biltmore Estate tour connects the birthplace of Forestry in the U.S. through the life and conservation legacy of young Gifford Pinchot, the Vanderbilt Family and the Weeks Act. This is a uniquely designed tour of the Behind-the-Scenes Biltmore Estate. Linda is working with Biltmore Historian, Bill Alexander and Biltmore staff for this special access, set on the landscape of the grounds and forests of the historical Estate. The focus is on young Pinchot's first forest "duty station," his personal connection with the Vanderbilt family and their conservation vision that led to the first Weeks Act tract carved out from the Estate.
We hope to also include in this tour package, ticketed admission to the Biltmore House that can be used later that day or week, at your leisure. Our intention is to keep the optional tour costs similar to tours offered for past Reunions in Vail and Albuquerque. You will also have the option to purchase lunch on the Estate at one of the lovely restaurants.
In the very near future, the committee will be meeting with "The Cradle" to begin to develop a tour for which the Reunion theme is based. Just for fun, we are thinking of concluding this tour with a visit to the newly established Sierra Nevada Brewing Company, which draws water partially from Forest watersheds. It is a flagship brewery and restaurant, and a great open space to socialize on a fall afternoon among the Appalachian hardwood colors.
As the tours are developed, we will post updates on the Reunion webpage!
Field Trip Update (June 26, 2017)
Throughout this past Winter and Spring, Field Trip Chair Linda Brett has worked with the Cradle experts and Author Marci Spencer to create a memorable experience in the field. Check out Romantic Asheville.
Plans are for the participants to board a tour bus on Wednesday morning at the Crown Plaza hotel. The day will begin with a drive along the Blue Ridge Parkway, enjoying the Fall Appalachian Forest colors. Participants will arrive at the Cradle of Forestry - Birthplace of Forestry in America, nestled in the Pisgah National Forest. Upon your arrival you will meet and tour with Cradle experts and Marci Spencer. Marci recently authored the book, Pisgah National Forest: A History. Marci will share an enjoyable and informative history of the Forest and Cradle.
Light refreshments are anticipated to be provided by nearby Schenck Job Corp Center, during the Cradle tour. After the Cradle tour, the bus will depart for a collegial meal, and if desired, drink at the Sierra Nevada Brewery. This eastern flagship brewery was completed in 2014. The state-of-art Brewery sits on over 30 acres along the French Broad River.
The restaurants specializes in high quality small plates (tapas) in an open and spacious setting. A variety of excellent brew tours are offered at the Brewery and Linda is working with Sierra Nevada management to select a high quality optional tour.
After this educational and fun-filled day with friends, the bus will return you safely to the Crown Plaza hotel. As specific field trip details continue to be finalized, we will keep you informed!
Update on the Biltmore Field Trip (March 2, 2017)
On a sunny, cool February morning, Field Trip Chair Linda Brett and I met with Biltmore horticulturist Parker Andes at the Estate. Parker was gracious enough to spend the day showing us possible stops for the "Behind the Scenes" Field Trip. Our intention is to include a separate pass to access the Biltmore House in this Field Trip package, to use at your leisure. The 250-room Biltmore house is the largest privately owned home in America.
The Biltmore Estate is currently over 7,000 acres and is divided by the French Broad River into the east and west sides. The east side holds the Biltmore House, gardens, winery, restaurants, forest stands and the grounds designed by Frederick Law Olmstead. After you cross the estate bridge over the French Broad River, you enter the west side, here lies much of what makes the Biltmore Estate sustainable. The estate was always "Farm to Table." The west side grows hydroponic greens for the restaurants, is the site for the apiaries, chickens, pigs, vineyards, and forests envisioned by Olmstead and then managed by Carl Schenck and Gifford Pinchot.
We also visited possible estate locations for a lunch stop and soaked in some beautiful views from the Estate. We and the Biltmore historian and horticulturist are very enthusiastic about this field tour and providing you an historical and fun day with your friends. The difficult part will be deciding which stops to include within the limited time frame.
Stay tuned for more field trip details, Linda Brett will be describing the Cradle Field Trip in a future web update.