Timber Question, The
The Central, Jan. 17, 1871
Original Date
  • Bookwood Historical Collection, Star Lake

The rapidity with which the forests of America are disappearing is one of the most striking facts of the day, and yet few seem to heed it. It is stated that the Main [sic] forests have already been bereft of almost the entire old growth of trees. New York, which twelve years ago exported large quantities of lumber has now become an importer from Canada and and [sic] the West. In the year 1869 the amount of timber cut in the three States of the Northwest, viz. Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin, was the enormous sum of 1,284,029,356 feet. To obtain this 883,031 acres, or 1,380 square miles, were stripped of their forests. It is estimated that in those States there are remaining about fifteen and a half million acres of timber land, which it is computed, will yield about 32,362,500,000 feet of timber. At the present increased rates of consumption this will last about twenty years. We must, then look to the Pacific coast and to replanting for future supply. Coming nearer home, it is found that even in a mountain county, like Albermarie county, Va., timber is growing quite scarce; though the county is without any considerable town within its limits. In lower Virginia, where the timber is not particularly good, parties of northern lumberman have been for some years denuding the forests. In our own city dealers informs [sic] us of the difficulty of obtaining particular kinds of wood once quiet [sic] plentiful. Turning to the great area between the inhabited portion of the Pacific States and the population in the Missippi [sic] Valley, the growth of timber is scarce and small. There are long slopes of prairies and even mountains, without a shrub. Nor must we look to Mexico for help in case of need. That country is rich in many respects, but is defiant [sic] in timber. Stone Fences there are as common as wood fences in the United States. Hence the importance of keeping up our forests and of replanting trees. The labor would be very light if systematically organized. There has been some very serious writing of late about the exhaustion of the British coal fields and the consequences of such a fact on the productive industry of that country. A matter that concerns us much more intimately is what will the next generation do for timber.