[Fig. 21(9)] Rushing waters. Massive boulders. Towering hemlocks. Lush rhododendron. In addition to its pristine beauty, Curtis Creek Area holds the distinction of being the first national forest land purchased east of the Mississippi following the Weeks Act of 1911. This law, which was used to create new national forests, authorized the purchase of public lands in order to protect watersheds of navigable streams, especially in the east.
The roadway to the 8,100-acre tract in the Pisgah National Forest follows Curtis Creek as it flows from its headwaters farther north. A sign at the entrance offers a dedication to Chase P. Ambler, a prominent pulmonary physician and outdoor enthusiast who was committed to the establishment of additional national forest lands. A small campground within the area hosts seven sites and three trails leading through hardwood forest to the ridges that surround Curtis Creek. These are backcountry trails that are not blazed and are sometimes difficult to follow. As a result, the lure of such isolation should be balanced with good maps and a compass. The trailheads for Hickory Branch Trail and Snooks Noose Trail are in or near the campground, while the third trail, Mackey Mountain Trail, starts where FR 482 meets FR 1188. The trails do not connect. Stretches of the creek north of US 70 are wide with a broad flood plain that make access easy for fishing. This section is hatchery supported. The section of the creek adjacent to FR 482, where the creek is smaller and flows faster, is classified as Wild Trout Water.
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