50 Wilderness Sites Across America
Wildcat Falls at Slickrock Creek, Joyce-Kilmer Slickrock Wilderness (Courtesy of Jeff Moore via Flickr)
Wildcat Falls at Slickrock Creek, Joyce-Kilmer Slickrock Wilderness (Courtesy of Jeff Moore via Flickr)
Forest Trail, Joyce Kilmer Memorial Forest (Courtesy of Natalia Figueroa via Flickr)
An expansive view of Joyce Kilmer Memorial Forest (Courtesy of Flickr user sister beer)
Trail view in Joyce Kilmer Memorial Forest (Courtesy of Flickr user Kid Cowboy)

Joyce Kilmer-Slickrock Wilderness

Old-growth forest, 60 miles of trail, herbaceous plants

smithsonian.com

Location: North Carolina, Tennessee
Size: 17,394 acres
Year Designated: 1975
Fast Fact: Named for the poet and New York Times journalist Joyce Kilmer, who died in WWI.

Joyce Kilmer worked as a staff reporter for the New York Times from 1913 to 1918, but he is perhaps best known for his most famous poem, "Trees," which contrasts the artificial nature of poetry with the organic splendor of trees.

Kilmer wrote the poem in New Jersey, not North Carolina, but he would have been equally inspired by his namesake wilderness. Throughout the Joyce Kilmer-Slickrock Wilderness grow beautiful old-growth forests, which managed to escape the logging that ruled the area in the late 19th century. Some of these oaks, tulip poplars and hemlocks are mammoth, measuring six meters in diameter. Yellow pine, sycamore and dogwood also grow among the wilderness’ forests.

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