In March 1915, a bill was passed in both houses of the State Legislature naming Mount Mitchell as the first state park in North Carolina. The bill was largely encouraged by Governor Locke Craig, the 53rd Governor of North Carolina. He acted in response to concerns from the citizens of North Carolina regarding deforestation.
The namesake of Mount Mitchell was Dr. Elisha Mitchell. Dr. Mitchell, a science professor at UNC, measured elevations of the Black Mountain region until he met an untimely and unfortunate death after falling off a cliff over a large waterfall. Mitchell is buried on the summit of the mountain. Mount Mitchell is the highest point east of the Mississippi River. The second highest point, Mount Craig, was named in honor of Governor Craig. Read more about North Carolina’s first state park in Chronicling America and on the website of the N.C. Department of Parks and Recreation. Additional information about North Carolina woodlands is available from The Forest History Society.