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Gifford Pinchot was the first forester in America. He was born in 1865. He was born in Simsbury, Connecticut. When he was a child he loved to play outdoors in the water. He would rather collect bugs and worms than go to any of his parent’s get-togethers in a white suit. Gifford’s father, James Pinchot liked the outdoors, too. They liked to go on trails and scavenger hunts together.
How It All Began
Shortly after he graduated, he traveled
to France and England to meet professional foresters. Finally, Gifford
was getting the firsthand experience he needed. In France, Gifford learned
everything he needed to Know about harvesting trees. In England Gifford
attended many classes for foresters. The more he learned about the forest
the more he loved it. Gifford returned to the United States. There he met
his lovely wife, Cornelia Bryce. They were married on August 14, 1914.
George W. Vanderbilt’s estate took up more than 7,000 acres across the French Broad River in North Carolina. He had farms, but because of poor soil, his crops never grew. Gifford was offered the job of managing the forests by George Vanderbilt and he accepted in December of 1891. He had a big challenge. He would have to manage forests that had been burnt, slashed and over grazed.
And to top it all off, Biltmore would be
the first American woodland to be managed by a forester. Gifford had to
prove that forestry worked. First Gifford would have to get out into the
forest. He counted and sorted and logged the trees. Gifford became a great
Gifford decided he had worked for George
so long that he was ready to start his own business… and that’s just what
he did. He contacted people who had struggling forests
Gifford worked so hard he was given the
privilege of Chief Forester in 1898. Gifford took his job very seriously
and traveled near and far managing forests and making them better.
George W. Vanderbilt had bought hundreds of thousands more acres to add to his lot. He needed Gifford again to manage his forests. Gifford gladly agreed.
Soon after Gifford died in 1946 Vanderbilt’s
lot became Pisgah National Forest.