Like a good walk through the wilderness, DuPont Forest: A History doesn’t take the most straightforward route to its destination. The newest offering from Asheville-based outdoors writer and occasional Xpress contributor Danny Bernstein navigates the proverbial switchbacks through over 200 years of stories about the land that now comprises DuPont State Recreational Forest in Henderson and Transylvania counties.

A discussion of Cherokee rock carvings is shortly followed by a guided tour of the forest’s three most popular waterfalls. Praise from the many mountain bikers who use its trails sits close to a mention of how The Hunger Games safely filmed Jennifer Lawrence running across Triple Falls. Archival photos of DuPont’s silicon manufacturing plant, which once dominated the property, rub shoulders with Bernstein’s own shots of modern-day hikers.

Where the book arrives, Bernstein says, is an appreciation of how the forest’s history remains accessible to the present. “In Pisgah [National Forest] or the Smokies, it’s very difficult to know exactly who owned the land before it became public. With DuPont, it’s not,” she explains. “You can trace all of the land to somebody who sold it or gave it away to the state.”

Bernstein will debut DuPont Forest: A History in Asheville through a virtual event hosted by Malaprop’s Bookstore/Café on Thursday, Sept. 17. The livestreamed conversation will also feature Holly Kays, the Waynesville-based outdoors editor and news reporter for Smoky Mountain News.

Table of Contents

Links to the past

Danny Bernstein headshot