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North Carolina Forest Service 100th Anniversary

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In 1909, John Simcox Holmes was hired by the North Carolina Geological Survey as the state's forester, responsible for annual reporting of the condition of the state's forests. During the legislative session of 1915 he was officially awarded the titles of State Forester and State Forest Warden, and given specific wildfire control responsibilities in addition to his work cataloging and assessing the state's forests. 1915 thus marks the "birth" of the North Carolina Forest Service.

John Simcox Holmes
J.S. Holmes, the first North Carolina State Forester
While Mr. Holmes was given authorization to hire what were then known as "forest wardens", there was no funding associated with the positions. The N.C. Forest Service was really an agency of one. Finally, in 1921 the legislature authorized spending for fire control; a grand total of $3,000. The first Chief Forest Warden, William Darrow Clark, was appointed then as well.

The limited money granted in 1921 did not allow for statewide fire suppression, but 4 counties (Avery, Buncombe, Jackson and New Hanover) dedicated matching funds with the state for fire control within their jurisdiction. Particpation by counties in wildfire cooperation would vary throughout the decades, but eventually all 100 North Carolina counties signed agreements that allowed the NC Forest Service to provide forest protection and management assistance.

The N.C. Forest Service began tree nursery operations in 1927, and started providing landowners with advice on Forest Management in the 1930s. An Insect and Disease Control program was initated in 1951.

The NC Forest Service has gone through many changes throughout its 100 years, but it still continues its core missions of wildfire control and the protection of the state's abundant and important forest resources.

This page updated: Thursday, January 26, 2017 11:11

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