Near Brevard in Transylvania County, North Carolina — The American South (South Atlantic)
What killed the trees? The balsam wooly adelgid, a pinhead-size insect native to Europe, is responsible. It began attacking the Fraser fir forests here in the 1970s. The red spruce, unaffected by the adelgid, survives in the midst of this devastated forest.
Airborne pollutants that change the chemical composition of fog, rain, and snow also might contribute to forest decline. Studies suggest these pollutants combine with moisture in the air to form “acid precipitation,” one of the factors suspected of slowing the growth of trees and making them more vulnerable to disease and insect damage.
Scientists are seeking ways to reverse this forest decline. Meanwhile it is possible that future generations of Fraser firs will develop their own defense against these destructive influences.
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The adelgid usually selects a 15 to 20-year-old tree as a host. It feeds by inserting a slender mouthpart through the tree’s bark. This feeding causes cellular changes in the tree that block the tree’s ability to transport life-sustaining fluids.
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in this topic list: Natural Features. In addition, it is included in the Blue Ridge Parkway series list.
Location. 35° 19.634′ N, 82° 57.907′ W. Marker is near Brevard, North Carolina, in Transylvania County. Marker is on Blue Ridge Parkway (at milepost 431), 8 miles south of Lake Logan Road (North Carolina Highway 215), on the left when traveling south. Marker is located On the Blue Ridge Parkway, at the Richard Balsam Overlook. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Brevard NC 28712, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 11 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Highest Elevation on Blue Ridge Parkway (a few steps from this marker); North Carolina Confederate Veterans Memorial Forest (approx. 3.8 miles away); Devil's Courthouse (approx. 4 miles away); Restoring A Forest (approx. 4 miles away); Looking Glass Rock (approx. 7.7 miles away); Rutherford's Expedition (approx. 9˝ miles away); Rutherford Trace (approx. 9.9 miles away); a different marker also named Rutherford Trace (approx. 10.2 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Brevard.
More about this marker. A picture of the needles and cones of Fraser Fir and Red Spruce appear on the marker. The sidebar includes an illustration of an adelgid feeding on the bark of a tree, along with the lifecycle of the insect, from egg to motile larva to resting larva to adult.
Credits. This page was last revised on November 30, 2020. It was originally submitted on August 29, 2012, by Bill Coughlin of Woodland Park, New Jersey. This page has been viewed 382 times since then and 9 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on August 29, 2012, by Bill Coughlin of Woodland Park, New Jersey.