Buildings - Steve Norman, U.S. Forest Service - © 2016
Beverage - Steve Norman, U.S. Forest Service - © 2016
Art - Steve Norman, U.S. Forest Service - © 2016
Buildings - Steve Norman, U.S. Forest Service - © 2016
Buildings - Steve Norman, U.S. Forest Service - © 2016
Ghosts - Steve Norman, U.S. Forest Service - © 2016
Martin - Steve Norman, U.S. Forest Service - © 2016
Walnut Cove - Steve Norman, U.S. Forest Service - © 2016
Fragmentation - Steve Norman, U.S. Forest Service - © 2016
Greenway - Steve Norman, U.S. Forest Service - © 2016
Buildings - Steve Norman, U.S. Forest Service - © 2016
Art - Steve Norman, U.S. Forest Service - © 2016
Amphitheatre - Steve Norman, U.S. Forest Service - © 2016
Buildings - Steve Norman, U.S. Forest Service - © 2016
Buildings - Steve Norman, U.S. Forest Service - © 2016
Bear - Steve Norman, U.S. Forest Service - © 2016
Art - Steve Norman, U.S. Forest Service - © 2016
Buildings - Steve Norman, U.S. Forest Service - © 2016
Buildings - Steve Norman, U.S. Forest Service - © 2016
Cabin - Steve Norman, U.S. Forest Service - © 2016
Shortia - Steve Norman, U.S. Forest Service - © 2016
Kudzu - Steve Norman, U.S. Forest Service - © 2016
Buildings - Steve Norman, U.S. Forest Service - © 2016
Buildings - Steve Norman, U.S. Forest Service - © 2016
Art - Steve Norman, U.S. Forest Service - © 2016

Field Trips

Below is a list of all currently planned field trips. Use the dropdown to view only full or half day field trips.

Additional fee and pre-registration will be required. Sign up early, space is limited! Once field trip capacities are reached, be sure and add your name to the waitlist; we may offer other trips based on demand.

Half Day
  Tuesday, April 5 - 1:00pm to 5:00pm

F01. Fragmentation and management challenges along the Blue Ridge Parkway

Trip leaders: Steve Norman, USDA Forest Service; Jim Fox, University of North Carolina, Asheville

The forests of the Southern Appalachians include extensive areas of National Forest, National Park and State jurisdiction, yet in recent years residential development has expanded toward their edges and has resulted in considerable forest loss and fragmentation. Through selected stops, this half-day expedition will explore the forest and cultural history of this interface and address the various threats to wildlands that managers increasingly face. These include conversion of forest land, reduction of core areas, invasive plants, plant poaching and restrictions on prescribed fire management.

Prepare for rain; wear appropriate footwear for modest hiking; No food provided.

Fee: $35
F02. Asheville’s urban ecosystem: balancing development with green space and quality of life

Trip leaders: Stephanie Worley Firley, USDA Forest Service; Matt Hutchins, University of North Carolina, Asheville

On this half-day field trip, we will explore aspects of Asheville’s urban ecosystem to understand current challenges and opportunities in the aftermath of devastating floods from 2004’s Hurricanes Frances and Ivan and in the face of rapid growth from an influx of new residents and visitors. We will learn how partners around the city are working to realize a vision for environmental and community sustainability, including the city’s evolving greenway network from the eyes of city planners and grassroots advocates, The Botanical Gardens at Asheville with its emphasis on plants native to the Southern Appalachians, and promoters of urban community sustainability.

Prepare for rain; wear appropriate footwear for modest hiking; No food provided.

Fee: $30
F04. A walking tour of Asheville’s downtown architecture and history

Self-guided

Asheville’s remarkable urban architecture reflects its long history as a regional economic center and a tourist destination. This self-guided tour will introduce you to the history of Asheville as revealed by its surviving landmarks. Beginning at the Thomas Wolfe house, next to the Renaissance hotel, the loop takes you by architectural legacies of Asheville’s Golden Age including a diverse assortment of Art Deco buildings and the Basilica of St. Lawrence, in addition to leading examples of Asheville’s remarkable hotel expansion phenomenon of the last decade.

Prepare for rain; wear appropriate footwear for street walking

Fee: $0

Half Day
  Tuesday, April 5 - 1:00pm to 5:30pm

F03. Asheville’s local brewing landscape

Trip leader: Mark Endries, USDI Fish and Wildlife Service

Asheville has become the craft-brewing center of the Southeast. Boasting more breweries per capita than any other US city, the Asheville area is home to 21 craft breweries including major beer production facilities for Oskar Blues, Sierra Nevada, and New Belgium. To support this burgeoning industry, the surrounding landscape is developing the capacity to locally grow and supply supportive ingredients including barley, hops, and yeast. On this tour we will explore this local component to the craft-brewing scene. We will see how barley and hops are grown by local farmers, a malt house to see floor-malting techniques to convert barley into malt, and a brewery to learn how breweries use these local ingredients to make local beer sustainably. Participants must be 21 years of age or older.

Prepare for rain; wear appropriate footwear for modest hiking; No food provided.

Fee: $35

Full Day
  Thursday, April 7 - 8:00am to 5:00pm

F05. Wildlife along the Blue Ridge

Trip leader: Lars Pomara

Wildlife viewing will be the focus of this trip along the Blue Ridge in the Pisgah National Forest. The southern Appalachians are host to incredible salamander diversity, and a formidable array of breeding and passage migrant birds return to the region during spring migration. We will visit the Pink Beds loop trail to wander among old-growth Eastern White Pine groves and natural forest openings created by the beaver colony occupying the valley, and listen for drumming Ruffed Grouse. We will attempt the spruce-fir zone by bus if winter weather permits, or alternatively visit a pristine stream in the Shining Rock Wilderness. The variety of habitats generated by dramatic topography, natural disturbances, and active management supports diverse wildlife and affords beautiful vistas.

Prepare for rain; wear appropriate footwear for modest hiking; Food/drink provided.

Fee: $60
F06. Forest biodiversity, disturbance and culture in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Trip leaders: Kevin Potter, NC State; Steve Norman, USDA Forest Service

The Southern Appalachians host remarkable biodiversity and breathtaking scenic beauty; at the heart of the region is Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the largest national park in the eastern United States and the most-visited in the country. Participants in this field trip will learn how geology and climate have converged to create this biodiversity hot spot (home to about 100 tree species), and how finer-scale environmental conditions determine the distribution of forest communities in the area. With an emphasis on native conifer species, participants also will see how anthropogenic disturbances – including introductions of nonnative insects and disease – have altered forest ecosystems of the region. Finally, we will learn about the human history and distinctive culture of the park area. Weather permitting, stops will feature riparian forest, high-elevation spruce-fir forest (including a hike to Clingmans Dome, the second highest point in eastern North America), historical buildings, and the Museum of the Cherokee Indian.

Prepare for rain and cold high-elevation temperatures; wear appropriate footwear for modest hiking; Food/drink provided.

Fee: $60
F07. Vanderbilt’s Estate, Olmstead’s grounds and birth of American forestry

Trip leaders: Danny Lee; USDA Forest Service; Biltmore historians

We will explore the sustainability vision and legacy of George Vanderbilt through a full-day tour of the Biltmore Estate, just south of Asheville. By nurturing early forestry training and education through the Biltmore Forest School, Vanderbilt was instrumental in the early development of forestry as a profession in America. After his death, much of his estate eventually became part of sections of the Pisgah National Forest and Blue Ridge Parkway. Estate historians will provide a guided tour of this aspect of Vanderbilt’s influence. In the afternoon, we will take a self-guided tour of his mansion and grounds. The Chateauesque-style mansion is the largest privately owned house in the US, and the grounds were designed by Frederick Law Olmsted.

Prepare for rain; wear appropriate footwear for home and estate tour; Food/drink provided.

Fee: $130