Thursday, April 28, 2011

Silviculture Students Visit Joyce Kilmer Memorial Forest

Fish and Wildlife Management Technology students recently visited Joyce Kilmer Memorial Forest as part of their Silviculture Course. Joyce Kilmer-Slickrock Wilderness, created in 1975, covers 17,394 acres (70 km2) in the Nantahala National Forest in western North Carolina and the Cherokee National Forest in eastern Tennessee, in the watersheds of the Slickrock and Little Santeetlah Creeks. It is named after Joyce Kilmer, author of "Trees." The Little Santeetlah and Slickrock watersheds contain 5,926 acres (23.98 km2) of old growth forest,[1] one of the largest tracts in the United States east of the Mississippi River.

The Babcock Lumber Company logged roughly two-thirds of the Slickrock Creek watershed before the construction of Calderwood Dam in 1922 flooded the company's railroad access and put an end to logging operations in the area. In the 1930s, the U.S. Veterans of Foreign Wars asked the U.S. Forest Service to create a memorial forest for Kilmer, a poet and journalist who had been killed in World War I. After considering millions of acres of forest land throughout the U.S., the Forest Service chose an undisturbed 3,800-acre (15 km2) patch along Little Santeetlah Creek, which it dedicated as the Joyce Kilmer Memorial Forest in 1936.[2]

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