Nantahala National Forest
The Joyce Kilmer Memorial Forest
165TH INFANTRY, RAINBOW
DIVISION, SOLDIER AND POET,
AUTHOR OF "TREES", BORN IN
NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J., DECEMBER
6, 1886, KILLED IN ACTION IN
FRANCE JULY 30, 1918.
THIS MEMORIAL WAS INITIATED
BY BOZEMAN BULGER POST,
VETERANS OF FOREIGN WARS
AND WAS SELECTED BY THE
U. S. FOREST SERVICE.
This simple biography
of Joyce Kilmer is engraved on a
bronze plaque in the heart of the Joyce Kilmer Memorial Forest.
Joyce Kilmer was educated at Rutgers College and Columbia University, where he graduated in 1908. He taught high school for a year, and then launched out on his writing career. He took up editorial and journalistic work in New York City, rising rapidly to prominence as an accomplished journalist. From 1913 to 1918, he served on the staff of the New York Times and contribated mean- while to many magazines.
It is as a poet, however, that Joyce Kilmer is chiefly remembered. His love of the common and beautiful things, especially in Nature, found a simple and delicate expression in verse.
Through most of Kilmer's poems and articles runs a strong religious thread. There is a deep, underlying sense of humility, and a worship of things simple and clean and eternal. He sensed the dignity and the God-given unity of all living things, whether man or tree.
I think that I shall never
A poem lovely as a tree.
A tree whose hungry mouth is prest
Against the earth's sweet' flowing breast.
A tree that looks at God all day
And lifts her leafy arms to pray.
A tree that may in summer wear
A nest of robins in her hair.
Upon whose bosom snow has lain;
Who intimately lives with rain.
Poems are made by fools like me,
But only God can make a tree.
From - Trees and Other Poems by Joyce Kilmer
Copyright 1914 by Doublday and Company Inc.
This Forest is one of the most impressive remnants of our Nation's virgin wilderness. Here, where the headwaters of great rivers rise, immense trees grow in the natural set- ting that was theirs when this region was the unexplored hunting ground of the Cherokees.
Many of the huge trees are hundreds of years old. Some of them are twenty feet around the base and more than a hundred feet high. They include yellow poplar, hem- lock, sycamore, basswood, dogwood, beech, several species of oak, and many others.
In addition to the trees, there is an out- standing variety of shrubs, vines, ferns, mosses, lichens, liverworts, and herbaceous plants. In the spring wild flowers take ad vantage of sunlight which will not be avail able after the hardwood trees are covered with shade producing leaves.
Rhododendron, mountain laurel and azalea are to be found in bloom in the late spring and early summer.
Though this forest is undisturbed by man, it is ever-changing. Some trees die so others may live. Many species of vegetation would be eliminated without occasional openings in the treetops to admit sunlight. Insects and plant diseases take their tolL At many places on the forest floor you will see remnants of massive American chestnut trees which, prior to 1925, composed a large part of the timber stand. The chestnut blight disease, accident ally introduced from Asia, has now killed all of the mature trees. Occasional sprouts may still be found.
The memorial tract is maintained in its primitive and natural state. No plants living or dead may be cut or removed.
The Joyce Kilmer Memorial Forest is part of the 14,000-acre Joyce Kilmer-Slickrock Wilderness. This area lies in the watersheds of Little Santeetlah and Slickrock creeks, which are separated by the ridge between Stratton Bald and Haoe. There are more than 60 miles of hiking trails in this wilderness that follow ridge tops or cool mountain streams. Hunting and fishing are permitted in accordance with state laws.
Click for Topographic Maps of the Joyce Kilmer/Slickrock area from Topozone.com
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