The Legacy of Bent Creek

Logging of BentCreek in early 1900s

The earliest known inhabitants of the Bent Creek basin are from the early Archaic period 8,000 years ago. The Cherokee are thought to have occupied two large campsites near the creek starting about 500 B.C.. Around 1795, when European settlers began moving into the area, the creek was named for a horseshoe-shaped bend near the French Broad River. By 1900, the basin had been divided into 73 tracts. More than 100 homes and 20 businesses stood on locations ranging from 5 to 500 acres. By then, the entire area had been logged, and about a quarter of it was cultivated or had been turned into pasture.

Between 1900 and 1909, George Vanderbilt acquired the basin and adjacent lands, which would become the vast Biltmore Estate. Later, Bent Creek basin and much of Vanderbilt's other lands were sold to the U.S. Government for $5 per acre. Those lands would become much of what we know today as the Pisgah National Forest. In 1925 the Forest Service set aside 1,100 acres of the Bent Creek area for research by the Appalachian Forest Experiment Station, which Congress had established in 1921. In 1931, Congress authorized the Community Works Administration to construct small office buildings for research on forest management, entomology, pathology, and hydrology

In 1935, about 5,200 acres were added and the Experimental Forest now includes most of the Bent Creek Watershed. Specific research plots are being developed to showcase proven forest management practices and demonstrate new research findings to land managers, landowners, researchers, students, and the general public. The Bent Creek headquarters office and the Resistance Screening Center for fusiform rust share thearea, and the North Carolina Arboretum has been established on 424 acres to the southwest.

Bent Creek Experimental Forest

Bent Creek Experimental Forest
1577 Brevard Road
Asheville, NC 28806

Phone: (828) 667-5261
Fax: (828) 667-9097