Forestry has been a large part of our state’s industry beginning in the colonial times. The North Carolina Forestry Museum in downtown Whiteville walks us through what made North Carolina pines so important to building the state and local economy.
You wouldn’t think a yellowish, honey-looking goop would be so valuable, but raw resin collected from our long leaf pines is the main ingredient for tar, turpentine and rosin.
“Modern historians have likened these products, collectively known as naval stores to the importance of oil to the United States today,” said Harry Warren of the NC Forestry Museum.
It was used for everything from soaps to medicines to the tar that helped build the great wooden sailing ships dating back to the colonial era when Wilmington was arguably the country’s largest ship manufacturers in the country.
It was the mainstay of building and maintaining our states industry, carrying forward to modern times.
Columbus County still relies on forestry for jobs. Manufacturers like International Paper have a mill in Riegelwood.
“My dad was a forester. He couldn’t dissuade me so I followed in his footsteps,” said second-generation forester Butch Blanchard.
Blanchard said the NC Forestry Museum not only helps people understand the role the profession played in our past, but it also forges a relationship with nature to ensure the maintenance and protection of an important resource.