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along the Blue Ridge. Most of them are depreciating from erosion. While no longer in forest, they are fundamentally forest lands, and their earning power can only be reestablished by replacing the forest to which they are naturally adapted. While scarcely any of the remaining timbered land is as valuable for agriculture as for timber, under the present system a large portion of it is certain to be cleared.
LUMBERING AND FIRE.
The following table shows the area of forest in the mountainous part of each State, with the area and percentage of cut-over and virgin land:
TABLE 3.--- Forested area of the Southern Appalachian region.
Of the 58,583,000 acres of timberland, 17 per cent is uncut, while 83 per cent is cut over. The uncut timber as a rule is in the higher, more inaccessible parts of the mountains. Occupying the ridges and higher slopes, it is unequal in quality and stand to the timber of the lower slopes and coves. The cut-over lands are in all stages and conditions of reproduction and growth. From some of it has been removed only the best species, such as walnut and poplar. From most of it the chestnut and oak, which form the main body of the forest, have also been cut.
Over practically all of it, whether cut over or not, fires have burned repeatedly and destroyed a large proportion of the young trees, which, if allowed to grow, would now represent growth of from one to fifty years. In like manner the undergrowth and the humus, both vital parts of the forest, have suffered great injury. Following fire, insects have at times wrought great local damage.
Lumbering is going on more extensively in the hardwood forests of the Southern Appalachians than ever before. While in the past seven years the hardwood cut has decreased in West Virginia, Kentucky, and Tennessee, the diminution of cutting has been chiefly in the more level parts of these States. In the mountains, where heavy cutting has not been going on for so long, the cut is probably as heavy or heavier than ever. In North Carolina cutting in the mountains has been heavy enough to increase the output of the entire State.
There has been little tendency on the part of the lumberman to conservative cutting. The usual belief is that, because of the danger
from fire and the high taxes on lands with standing timber, it does not pay to cut lightly and protect the land for a second crop. Hence the lumberman cuts the timber as heavily as possible, gets as much money out of it as he can, and then transfers his operations to another tract. It is the same principle as the mountain farmer adheres to when he abandons a worn-out field for a new one.
Lumbering is attended with almost as much waste as ever. Actual measurements in average operations of hardwood tie making show that from 75 to 82 per cent of the whole tree and from 43 to 73 per cent of the logs used is wasted. We realize that the waste is enormous when we consider that probably 20,000,000 ties, each containing 2; cubic feet, are cut in this region every year. Railroad ties are only one product. The manufacture of lumber and the making of telephone poles and cooperage stock are attended with waste almost as great.
The only industry that uses the forest without much waste is the tannin-extract business, which, while using up the mature timber, is open to objection in that it takes the chestnut and oak forests almost clean, young trees and all.
Several active influences are thus constantly operating to reduce the area and deteriorate the quality of the Southern Appalachian forests. Clearing, destructive lumbering, and fire are far the most prevalent and damaging, but grazing, mining, and insects contribute to the injury in a local way. Although the area of the forest is much less than formerly, these agencies are at work more actively than ever before. Their combined influence, if unchecked, is sufficient practically to obliterate the commercial forest of the Southern Appalachians within the next sixteen years. All that is needed for this result is a continuation of present conditions.
CONDITIONS IN THE WHITE MOUNTAINS.
The White Mountain region is drained by five large rivers—the Connecticut, the Pemigewasset, the Saco, the Androscoggin, and the Kennebec. The watersheds of these streams form a very rough and rugged region broken up into many short mountain ranges separated by deep, narrow valleys. The White Mountains proper, the most rugged and elevated portion, cover about 812,000 acres. Seventyfour peaks reach a height of over 3,000 feet, and of these eleven are over 5,000 feet. The tallest, Mount Washington, rises to an altitude of 6,290 feet, and is among the tallest peaks east of the Mississippi River.
A characteristic of the topography is the great irregularity of arrangement of the mountains. With the exception of the Presi
. dential Range, there are no long ranges. The greatest number of peaks are in irregular groups, or isolated. The three main ranges, the Presidential, the Carter-Moriah, and the Franconia, have a general northeast and southwest direction.
The Presidential Range is the most important. In it are included nine of the eleven peaks with elevations above 5,000 feet. It is popularly considered as extending only from Mount Madison on the north to Mount Webster on the south, and includes the following peaks: Madison, the three Adamses, Jefferson, Clay, Washington, Monroe, Franklin, Pleasant Dome, Clinton, and Webster. This stretch of country is about 15 miles long by 5 miles in breadth and contains about 50,000 acres.
This range is the source of five rivers, by which it is drained the Saco, the Ammonoosuc, and Israel, tributaries of the Connecticut, and the Moose and Peabody, tributaries of the Androscoggin.
The underlying rock is granitic gneiss. By disintegration and mixture with organic matter it forms a loamy sand. The depth of the soil varies with the elevation, aspect, and gradient. In the valleys and on the lower slopes the soil is generally deep, with little outcropping rock. With ascent in altitude and increase in gradient the depth increases, till on the steep upper slopes there are only immense masses of bare outcropping rock and scattered bowlders.
Next to the Presidential Range, the Carter-Moriah Range is of the most importance. It runs parallel to the Presidential Range and is separated from it by the Glen Ellis and Peabody rivers. The highest peak is Carter Dome, with an elevation of 4,860 feet, and there are eight peaks in all, with elevations of over 4,000 feet. The general character of the soil and underlying rock is the same as on the Presidential Range. The range is about 20 miles long and from 2 to 7 miles wide. It is entirely surrounded by the five rivers by which it is drained-the Peabody and Glen Ellis rivers on the west, the Wild and the east branch of the Saco on the east and south, and the Androscoggin on the north. The Peabody and Wild rivers flow northeast into the Androscoggin, and the Glen Ellis flows into the Saco.
The northern part of the White Mountain region, in Coos County, N. H., is flatter than the White Mountains proper, and contains many lakes and low mountains with wide rolling valleys between. The Connecticut Lakes, the headwaters of the Connecticut River, lie in the northern part of this region. These lakes are small. The protection of the watershed around them is therefore of greater importance than if they were large and formed a greater storage area for water.
The area in Maine includes 700,000 acres in Oxford and Franklin counties. This entire region is very rough and rugged, containing no regular ranges of mountains, but being broken up into a great number of irregular peaks and ridges. The five Rangeley lakes, the headwaters of the Androscoggin River, lie in the southern part of this region. North of these lakes, in the Magalloway, Cufsuftic, and Kennebago watersheds, the country is extremely rough, including a great number of tall mountain peaks, extending up to the Boundary Mountains between the United States and Canada. The extreme eastern portion of this area lies in the Dead River watershed, the extreme headwaters of a tributary of the Kennebec River. The land in this watershed is flatter than to the west and contains many small lakes, ponds, and bogs. For this reason the protection of the watersheds is not of so great importance as in the more mountainous country to the west, and the main watershed of the Kennebec River has not, therefore, been included in the proposed boundary lines.
The entire region is essentially a forest country. That the land is, for the most part, better suited to forest production than to agricultural use is evidenced by the once cultivated lands which have now come up to forests of second-growth spruce and pine. Where repeated fires have not kept back the young growth these give good promise for the future. Thousands of acres of once cleared land have been abandoned throughout the White Mountains, and a smaller area of land is now farmed than fifty years ago. Only along the intervales and valley bottoms is good farming land found.
The farm land in the Saco drainage basin, which contains the largest area of cultivated land in the White Mountain region proper, lies chiefly in the eastern and southern portions. The soil is sandy and poor, and except right along the streams the farming is not good. The principal crops are clover and timothy hay, oats, rye, wheat, corn and potatoes, peas and beans. There are a few orchards, usually overgrown and neglected.
North of the White Mountains proper practically no land has been cleared for agricultural purposes, and in the greater part of this country there are no settlements of any kind save the logging camps and an occasional hunter's cabin or summer hotel or camp.
Originally the entire northern region, including the White Mountains proper, was covered with a dense forest of conifers. It was primarily a spruce country, and the spruce here attained fine dimensions. White pine, too, covered large areas and was mixed with spruce over much of the region. Balsam occurred in mixture on the upper slopes and the lower, moister localities. There was originally very little fine hardwood forest except south of the main ranges of the White Mountains.
In the White Mountains proper, red spruce and balsam are the prevailing species, and reach the highest elevations on the mountains. North of the White Mountains these trees with white cedar, and around the Connecticut Lakes with white spruce, are the chief conifers. Lumbering has brought about a great change in the species. Hemlock and white pine, once common at low elevations and along the valleys, are now of but little importance in the forest. Yellow birch, sugar maple, and beech are the commonest of the hardwoods and have greatly increased in numbers on the cut-over land. But little of the original forest is now left. Where there was formerly a heavy stand of spruce and balsam there is now a hardwood forest with a little spruce in mixture. Where fires have occurred there is a tangle of wild red cherry, yellow birch, and aspen.
Hardwoods occur on the lower slopes and deeper, better soils. Here yellow birch, sugar maple, and beech are now the characteristic trees, with considerable spruce in mixture. The spruce forms a better timber tree on these slopes than in any other situations. These hardwood slopes rarely extend above an altitude of 2,400 feet. The forest is, as a rule, dense and clean, with a heavy shade. The ground cover consists chiefly of witch hobble, mountain maple, and mountain ash. The shade is too heavy for good softwood reproduction, but the reproduction of hardwoods, particularly of sugar maple and beech, is often very thick, with a dense matting of young seedlings covering the ground. Very little of this type is now left in virgin forest in the White Mountain region itself, since it was easily lumbered.'
Spruce and balsam occur at present on the steeper slopes where the soil is shallow, and the hardwoods do not thrive so well. Unmerchantable spruce and balsam are found on the extreme upper slopes and finally run out into a scrubby growth near the summits. The stand is usually dense. Where the forest has been undisturbed the ground cover is moss. The balsam reproduction is often very thick and the spruce reproduction generally fair.
Spruce slopes cover the greatest area of any of the forest types in this region. Where these slopes are cut over, if fire is kept out, the softwoods return in the second growth. Where fire runs over the ground after lumbering, however, in many cases the entire soil is burned and washed away and the process of return to forest conditions is very slow. In some cases, as on the Sugar Loaves, in the township of Carroll, it will never be complete.
There is practically no real swamp land in northern New Hampshire, although in places the spruce flats approach such a type. There are, however, small areas of swamp of spruce bogs, chiefly in the northern part of Coos County. These have a very dense, scrubby growth of black and red spruce and balsam. In Maine such bogs are more common, and a number of swamps are found, particularly in the Cufsuftic watershed.
LUMBERING AND FIRE.
Six large lumber and pulp companies are now engaged in logging operations in this region, besides a large number of smaller concerns. But little virgin spruce timber is now left, and at the present rate of lumbering it can last but a few years longer. As far as possible these companies get their present supplies by purchasing stumpage on small holdings in order to preserve the timber on their own lands as long as possible, and owing to the fact that stumpage can now be bought cheaper than it ever can again. When these small holdings are lumbered in this way, they are almost always "skinned” to the last merchantable stick. Owners of the smaller tracts themselves often cut their woodlands in the same manner in order to get as much present revenue as possible. Throughout the mountains the worst destruction has been done on the high slopes, and fire has often followed with terrible results.
Clean cutting is practiced on all the steeper slopes. The spruce logs are rolled down the slope to the road below over the merchantable stuff and the hardwoods, which are first felled down the slope and thus form a good rolling bed. The hardwoods are left lying on the ground unused. The result is a veritable fire trap that lasts for years. In 1903, 84,250 acres of land were burned over in the White Mountain region. While this land was for the most part cut over, a conservative estimate would place the amount of damage at something over $200,000. This was a particularly bad year for fires, but the same conditions of drought may occur at any time, and, without proper protection, the area burned over may even exceed that burned