PAC hike Sept. 29 to visit Bent Creek Experimental Station in Pisgah Forest

Published 6:03 pm Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Hikers pose for a photo during a previous PAC hike. (photo submitted by Pam Torlina)

The first of Pacolet Area Conservancy’s (PAC’s) five hikes this fall will be Friday, Sept. 30. Hikers will enjoy a six-mile hike at Bent Creek Experimental Station in Pisgah National Forest.
PAC Land Protection Specialist Pam Torlina will lead hikers on the Hardtimes Loop in the northern area of Bent Creek. The hike is easy to moderate and begins by following the course of Bent Creek. After crossing the creek, the trail ascends and intersects with the Mountains-to-Sea Trail for a short while and briefly parallels the Blue Ridge Parkway.
Eventually, hikers reach and enter the North Carolina Arboretum through the back fence. Hikers follow the Old Mill Trail back to the Bent Creek Trail and out of the Arboretum. This trail also offers distant views of the Biltmore Estate and the Asheville skyline.
Located in Pisgah National Forest, Bent Creek Experimental Forest became an experimental site for forest management in the 1920s. The nearly 6,000 acre Experimental Forest is the oldest federal experimental forest in the east. It was established to conduct research on silvicultural practices, initially to experiment with ways to rehabilitate cutover and abused lands, but also with the intention to find ways to promote sustainable forestry and provide a site for field demonstrations of forest management practices.
Bent Creek Experimental Forest houses the headquarters and a research laboratory for the care of Southern Appalachian hardwoods, the North Carolina Arboretum and Lake Powhatan Recreation Area.
The Experimental Station has been used for many studies, including oak ecosystem restoration, hardwood regeneration, fire ecology, growth and yield, forest stand dynamics, invasive plant species, American chestnut restoration, wildlife response to forest management practices and more.
It continues to conduct research on current issues that threaten or enhance the health and productivity of forests.
Though research is the primary purpose of Bent Creek Experimental Forest, it also functions as a recreational facility, offering trails for hiking, equestrian use and mountain biking, as well as swimming and camping (at Lake Powhatan Recreation Area).
If you are interested in attending the PAC hike at Bent Creek Experimental Station, please contact the PAC office to sign up by phone at 828-859-5060 or email at
Hikers should wear appropriate clothing and footwear; bring a bag lunch and/or snack and plenty of water. Hikers are asked to bring any personal medication that they may require.
In case of inclement weather, please contact the PAC office by 8:15 a.m. on the day of the hike to see if the hike will take place.
Hikers will meet at the Columbus Bi-Lo at 8:30 a.m. to start the approximately 45-minute drive to Bent Creek Experimental Station.
If you cannot make this hike but would like to attend other hikes, please visit PAC’s website at or visit PACs Facebook page, “Pacolet Conservancy,” for information on upcoming hikes.
The next hike is scheduled for Oct. 14 at Montreat, where PAC Land Protection Specialist Torlina will lead hikers to Lookout Rock.
– article submitted
by Pam Torlina

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