Blue Ridge Country September/October 2020 - 52

sponsible for thousands of acres of forest
land. He sounded genuinely mystified by
MORE ON DUPONT
* Danny Bernstein's love of the forest has spawned a book: "DuPont Forest: A
what the company should do with all this
History," by Danny Bernstein, September 2020. 208 pages. $21.99.
property. He hired a professional forest
* DuPont State Recreational Forest, PO Box 300, Cedar Mountain, NC 28718
manager who planted mostly white pines
828-877-6527; dupontstaterecreationalforest.com
because white pines grow quickly.
* Friends of Dupont Forest, dupontforest.com
I talked with DuPont engineers, chemists, and hourly workers. They were a pleasure to interview: punctual at our meetOver the years, I had hiked many trails ings, exact with their words and making
Mountains National Park and as many on
the Blue Ridge Parkway, I could find none in DuPont Forest, some over and over sure that I understood them. No one said,
again. But when I decided to write about "Oh it's too technical." When they could
on this forest. How was that possible?
I got facts and recollections from many the forest, I created a spreadsheet of all the not remember or could not be precise,
sources and tried to fit in the jigsaw puzzle trails. I hiked methodically through this they said so. Children of DuPont workers,
that is DuPont Forest history. I spent two list, trying to understand the connections who are senior citizens by now, rememyears talking to people from all aspects of between trails. Even the trail names offer ber the freedom they had on the DuPont
DuPont Forest, past and present: DuPont a big clue that there is a long human his- land. As one told me, "DuPont was the
Corporation retirees, children of DuPont tory: Cart, Guion, Joanna, Micajah, Moore background of my whole life. It was your
job, your recreation, your life."
employees, North Carolina legislators, ... Who were all these people?
In the southeast corner, there's an airMost visitors gravitate to four easy-toNorth Carolina State Forest rangers, conservation leaders, Brevard natives, Friends reach waterfalls: High Falls, Triple Falls, strip and an aircraft hangar, vestiges of the
Hooker Falls and Bridal Veil. However, Summit Camps. Former campers, still nosof DuPont activists and forest users.
So little is written about working day- solitude can be found in other parts of talgic for the fun and friendship made in
to-day in large companies that I was fas- the forest. In the northeast section, off an the camps, have formed a Facebook page.
cinated by this aspect of the story. What unpaved road, I walked Plantation Trail A few bikers will ride the one-mile airstrip,
can we learn about industry's role in sav- which leads to, well, really nowhere. Du- but it's not as crowded as the waterfall
ing land and making it public? Both my Pont Corporation built the trails here and area. I live alone now, so I don't have
planted white pine when they much need for solitude on the trail. I'd
late husband and I worked for
owned the land. I uncovered a rather wave to the bikers zooming down
large, hierarchical organizaThe Covered Bridge
long memo written in 1962 by the trail, admire the horses and chat to
tions for our entire careers.
across the Little
River near High
A.B. Morrison, a new DuPont the hikers I meet. Somehow all those conThis made me curious about
Falls is a leftover
plant manager fresh from New stituents get along and give way on these
the role of the company in the
from a halted
Jersey who found himself re- multi-use trails.
creation of the forest.
development.
The X-ray plant has long closed,
though DuPont Corporation
is still doing environmental
BY JONBILOUS | STOCK.ADOBE.COM
cleanup in a small section of
the forest known as the donut hole. The land belongs
to newcomers, long-time locals and visitors from across
the state and the world.
Though the state forest has
existed for almost 25 years,
it's still a teenager-growing, spreading out, sometimes loud and crowded
and other times quiet, and
thoughtful. Its history is out
in the open and its future is
still being created.
My relationship with
DuPont Forest is like a longtime marriage. I may think I
now know all about the forest, but it will change, and I
will change. And I will keep
coming back.

52

BLUERIDGECOUNTRY.COM


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Blue Ridge Country September/October 2020

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