Nearly four decades ago, vast swathes of the 8,600-acre Waynesville watershed were laid bare, the trees timbered for profit and the soil harvested to build the earth-filled dam now holding back the reservoir.
Fast forward to 2019, and the landscape has changed dramatically. There is no more bare soil, and no more open canopy. It’s a full-grown forest, sunlight filtering through a green canopy below which the only sounds are those produced by the birds, insects and wind. The white pines planted to stabilize the stripped soil have thrived, perhaps too much. In 2014, a good many of them were cut down during a thinning conducted on a 50-acre portion of the property, as the seedlings were planted too close together to serve them well as they grew larger. But white pine is still a common species in the 8,600-acre watershed.