History and Culture of the Southern Region


Gifford PinchotOf all the locations across the Southern States and Puerto Rico, some have asked, "Why Asheville?" Our 2018 Reunion site is tucked away in the very western corner of North Carolina in the Southern Appalachians and many have noted, not a straight shot for travel.

The reason is very simple, this corner of North Carolina - Asheville, The Biltmore Estate, and the Pisgah National Forest are all intricately tied to our early Forest Service history and particularly the Weeks Act.

Upon this landscape, the historical figures of George and Edith Vanderbilt, young American forester Gifford Pinchot and German forester Carl Schenck helped initiate professional forestry in the United States.

Edit  Vanderbilt

The Vanderbilts carved out more than 85,000 acres of the Biltmore Estate to create the first National Forest created under the Weeks Act - the Pisgah National Forest. The Weeks Act, complimented the Reserve Act, by enabling the purchase of private lands for creation of National Forests in the East. "Weeks Act" National Forests truly made the Forest system a National Forest System.

If you would like to see a brief timeline of Pisgah National Forest beginnings, please click on the Pisgah Conservancy chronology.

If you would like to a more in-depth read of the Weeks Act, please click on the Forest History Society's Weeks Act research piece.


New Echota Historic SiteNew Echota State Historic Site | State Parks & Historic Sites

New Echota is one of the most significant Cherokee Indian sites in the nation and was where the tragic “Trail of Tears” officially began. In 1825, the Cherokee national legislature established a capital called New Echota at the headwaters of the Oostanaula River.

Learn more about this important part of southern history.