North Carolina Confederate Veterans Memorial Forest, Pisgah Forest, Waynesville
The memorial forest is comprised of 125,000 red spruce and balsam trees set every six feet on a
125 acre site in the Pisgah National Forest.
A temporary wooden marker was placed in 1942. A bronze plaque replaced it in 1956. This plaque was stolen in 1979 and the forest remained unmarked until 2001 when a wooden marker much like the temporary 1942 marker was placed. This 2001 plaque somewhat misnamed the memorial by adding the word “Veterans” to its title.
NORTH CAROLINA / CONFEDERATE VETERANS MEMORIAL FOREST
THE UNITED DAUGHTERS OF THE CONFEDERACY IN / COOPERATION WITH THE UNITED STATES FOREST SERVICE / PLANTED THIS 125 ACRE FOREST AS A LIVING MEMORIAL / TO THE 125,000 SOLDIERS NORTH CAROLINA PROVIDED THE / CONFEDERACY. THIS 125,000 RED SPRUCE TREE FOREST / WAS PLANTED OVER A THREE-YEAR PERIOD 1941-1943.
THE MEMORIAL FOREST WAS DEDICATED / AUGUST 11, 1956 / REDEDICATED BY / UNITED DAUGHTERS OF THE CONFEDERACY /AND / SONS OF CONFEDERATE VETERANS / AUGUST 11, 2001
United States Forest Service
July 12, 1942. Rededicated: August 11, 1956. Rededicated: August 11, 2001.
35.302730 , -82.904960 View in Geobrowse
Butler, Douglas J. Civil War Monuments, An Illustrated History (Jefferson, NC: McFarland & Company, Inc., 2013), 200-202
Harvey, Shannon. "Highways and Byways of the Past: Women’s Groups and Memorial Forests Along the Blue Ridge Parkway,” in Driving Through Time: The Digital Blue Ridge Parkway. From "Documenting the American South", http://docsouth.unc.edu, (accessed June 12, 2016) Link
Parris, John. “Balsam Trees Whisper In Trees, A Memorial To N.C. Men In Gray,” Asheville Citizen Times (Asheville, NC), August 10, 1956, (accessed May 29, 2016) Link
“Forest Is Dedicated To N.C. Of Confederacy,” Asheville Citizen Times (Asheville, NC), July 13, 1942, (accessed May 29, 2016) Link
“North Carolina Confederate Memorial Forest,” The Historical Marker Database, HMdb.org, (accessed May 24, 2016) Link
Red Spruce and Balsam trees
United Daughters of the Confederacy, North Carolina Division
The main 1942 dedication ceremony took place at the George Vanderbilt Hotel in Asheville
followed by a smaller ceremony at the forest necessitated by wartime gasoline rationing. About
100 people attended the ceremony at the hotel with Josephus Daniels, former Navy Secretary
during World War One, providing the keynote address. During his speech he told those
gathered that the “wrongs inflicted upon a brave and helpless people” by those who “brought
the horrors of reconstruction on the heads of a prostate South” were “nothing compared to the
“treatment now being given” in German-occupied Europe.
The ceremony at the forest was unusual for the time in that women filled all the roles. Mrs. E.L. Fisher North Carolina U.D. C. President when the agreement was signed presided over the ceremony. Mrs. Paul Borden of Goldsboro gave the invocation; Mrs. Walter Woodard from Wilson provided “Readings from the U.D.C.” and Mrs. Glen Long sang “Trees.” Mrs. R.O. Everett of Durham, the current U.D.C. president gave the dedication speech before presenting the forest to H.B. Bosworth, Pisgah National Forest Supervisor who was the only adult male on the program.
The now stolen bronze plaque was unveiled on August 11, 1956. For this ceremony the U.D.C. was joined by the State Literary and Historical Association and the Western N.C. Historical Association. The current wooden sign was dedicated on August 11, 2001 thanks to the efforts of a former U.S. Forest Service Ranger Jim Holbrook who had only learned of the forest after his retirement.
The concept of a memorial forest was approved by the North Carolina U.D.C at their convention
in 1939. On August 2, 1940 the U.D.C. and United States Forest Service signed a cooperative
agreement which outlined the plans to honor North Carolina’s Confederate troops while
assisting the Forest Service in reforestation and restoration of natural resources in their
Southern Region. The Daughter’s interest in conservation and inspiration for the forest may
have been influenced by the Daughters of the American Revolution which had encouraged its
members in each state to plant a “Jubilee Forest” to honor that organizations 50 th anniversary.
The D.A.R. dedicated their North Carolina Golden Jubilee Forest in May 1940 with the planting
of 50,000 trees near Devil’s Courthouse in Pisgah National Forest. This forest is only a few
hundred feet from the Confederate forest but not as well known.
For the Confederate forest one acre of trees was to be planted by the Forest Service for each five dollar donation raised by the U.D.C. which was given a choice of locations that ranged from the Croatan National Forest on the coast to Nantahala National Forest in the far western part of the state. The site finally chosen had been logged in the early 1900’s leaving a barren, flood- prone mountainside. This location was picked because it was on the route of the Blue Ridge Parkway then under construction. By the summer of 1942 enough funds had been raised to plant a tree for each of the 125,000 men who had fought for the Confederacy.
The sign for the memorial forest is located at milepost 422.8 on the Blue Ridge Parkway near Waynesville, NC.
The North Carolina Confederate Memorial Forest has trees that now stand over fifty feet tall.