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Old-growth Forest

Old-growth Forest

by Steve on August 26, 2009

OldGrowth

Click to enlarge.  No it’s not the land of the little people or Gulliver’s Travels.  I picked up this card the other day at my local hardwood dealer (post-card mailer they sent out with monthly specials listed on the back).  The men are full size, it’s the log that’s giving you trouble because it dwarfs (heh) anything you’ve ever seen outside of California’s protected Redwoods or Sequoias.  We don’t see trees like this – haven’t in my lifetime anyway.  They were gone by the early 1900’s.  Logged off by rail and river.

OldgrowthMaps

Not much left these days.  There’s plenty of reclaimed forest protected by the NPS but what passes for old-growth in most parts is second-growth, short of the century mark.  You can still get your arms around most of it – maybe the size of the core cut in the photograph.  Damn shame really.  I’m sure back in the day the boys never imagined they would run out of virgin stands of timber.  Probably seemed impossible.

The good news is you can still find/buy old-growth timber today.  In most cases the only way to get logs out of the woods was to send them down-river.  Some of those logs were so dense they sank to the bottom of the lakes and rivers that flowed out of logging country.  The same properties that made these logs sink make them highly prized finds today.  Deprived of oxygen and in many cases sunlight, they didn’t rot.  Several outfits specialize in the recovery and processing of “sinkers”.

Most of the pine lumber you see at the big-box retailers was milled from trees that were mere weeds compared to the giants of the 1800’s.  When you think about how quickly US old-growth forests were cut and hauled off without benefit of modern power equipment it truly is astounding.

{ 1 comment }

Kath August 27, 2009 at 10:41

On — geez, I guess it’s on the History Channel — they have one of those reality type shows with the logger guys. You’ve probably seen it.

But they have this one cranky old guy and his much-yelled at son who do recovery of logs from the water. Only reason I watched and saw that much was bec. I didn’t know the logs were still good to use. Never thought of that!

I’d rather watch Ice Road Truckers or — oh, crap, what’s the title, Most Dangerous Catch — something like that, with the fishing boats.

But I grew up out in the country with lots and lots of woods and farms and fields. And, no, I could not EVER imagine it would not still be there when I was a kid.

Hope some of it is still there.

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