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The Michaux State Forest is named in honor of Andre Michaux, a French botanist, dispatched by the King and Queen of France in 1785 to gather plants for the Royal Gardens. He and his son Francois Andre Michaux discovered and named a host of flowers, shrubs and trees previously unknown in the newly independent United States.

The Michaux State Forest can boast many of its own firsts in Pennsylvania forestry. The first forest tree nursery was established in Mont Alto in 1902. The State’s first wooden fire tower was erected in 1905 and the first steel fire tower in 1914. In 1903, the Pennsylvania State Forest Academy was established at Mont Alto. It was the first of its kind in the state and only the second in the nation to train professional foresters. Prior to this, foresters went to Europe for training.