The Early Forests -- First Lumbermen- -- Early Lumber Vessels -- Lake Lumber Districts -- When The Maximum Production Was Reached -- Rapid Denudation -- Present Sources Of Supply -- Lumber Tows -- Vessels In The Lumber Trade -- Decline In The Trade -- Receipts At The Principal Lake Ports -- Freight Rates -- Lumber Trade Of Canada -- Preservation Of Canadian Forests -- Exports To The United States.
WHEN the first settlers appeared on the Great Lakes the shores around them and the entire region to the north, south and west of the St. Lawrence river, Lake Ontario, Lake Erie, Lake Huron and Lake Michigan were covered with a dark, mysterious forest, with what then appeared to be an inexhaustible supply of timber and lumber. This region has since supplied to Canada and the United States an immense amount of both, for great and multifarious purposes. It is probable that eighty-five per cent. of the territory bordering on these four lakes, and also a large portion of that bordering on Lake Superior, was covered by forest trees of many useful kinds. And southwest to the Gulf of Mexico, and also westward along the Ohio river to the western boundary of what is now the Indian Territory, was a forest more magnificent than can be found at the present time outside of tropical regions. The present States of Michigan and Wisconsin were covered with what has since been the most profitable forest area of the country if not of the world. The rapidity with which this immense area has been denuded of its growing timber is one of the most remarkable of the phenomena of the industrial development of the United States.
It would be a matter of extreme difficulty to ascertain who were the first lumbermen in each part of the timber region surrounding the Great Lakes. The lumber business began at least as early as 1830, and lumber and timber were shipped down the lakes from Ohio, Pennsylvania and Ontario, in sailing vessels that in returning carried immigrants westward with their farming implements, furniture and provisions. In 1834 Harvey Williams, one of the pioneers of Michigan, built the first steam sawmill in the Saginaw valley. The lumber trade of Chicago began about 1830, and soon assumed considerable importance, for the city grew apace, and all branches of trade were developed with the growth of the place. In 1833 David Carver established a lumber yard in Chicago, bringing the sawn lumber across Lake Michigan, and being thus the first importer of lumber into the Chicago market. He owned a schooner named the David Carver, which was probably the first vessel engaged in the" lumber trade between St. Joseph (Mich.) and Chicago. In this vessel Mr. Carver brought his first cargo of lumber to Chicago in the summer or fall of 1833. It was a cargo of pine, and in some way got into the Chicago river and unloaded between LaSalle and Wells streets. The lumber was used in the construction of St. Mary's Catholic church, the first edifice of that denomination in Chicago.
For many years following 1837 the lumber firm of Taylor & Spaulding received lumber shipped to them upon a vessel known as the Commerce. The firm bought this vessel from Oliver Newberry, and soon after rebuilt it, changing the name to Hiram Pearson.
About this time Kinzie, Hunter & Co. and Jones, Clarke & Co. were here engaged in the lumber business, employing a fleet of vessels in the trade. Prior to 1839 vessels loaded with lumber would tie up close to the bank of the river and deposit their cargoes in a promiscuous pile, from which builders would make their purchases, assorting the lumber themselves. One of the vessels engaged in the lumber trade during those early years was the General Harrison, a little schooner, which plied between Chicago and points of the lake in Michigan, and brought in considerable quantities of white-wood lumber. This vessel could not get into the river on account of the bar across its mouth, and for this reason her cargoes were unloaded onto boats, scows and rafts, floated southward around the end of the bar, and then headed for deep water in the river.
Later, after the bar was removed, the General Harrison sailed up the river with her cargoes, which she brought from St. Joseph. In later years lumber began to be brought down to Chicago from Manitowoc, Wis.; Peshtigo, Wis.; Menominee, Grand Haven, Muskegon, and even from the Saginaw valley, Mich. The first cargo of Saginaw valley lumber which reached Chicago entered that port in 1847 or 1848, and it was also the first cargo of lumber reaching that port that had been cut with a circular saw, attracting much attention on this account.
In 1840 about 50 sail vessels, varying from 50 to 250 tons, were engaged in the fish and lumber trade on the upper lakes. The "lumber trade," in that year, as a newspaper then remarked, meant the carrying of pine plank, etc., from Canada and Green Bay to Chicago and its vicinity; and not the stave trade through the Welland canal, a branch which became very extensive.
Early in the season of 1844 there was a brisk demand for vessels wanted in the lumber trade on the upper lakes. Chicago, Racine and other leading points were improving so fast, and the demand for building material was so great, that good prices were offered for vessels to trade between Green Bay, Kalamazoo, etc., to the above points. Several crafts were chartered, while not a few old craft were transferred to that region.
Lake Lumber Districts. -- The Great Lakes lumber region for statistical purposes was long ago divided into districts, as the Georgian Bay district, the Lake Erie district, the Lake Huron district, the Saginaw Valley district, &c. As the lumber began to diminish in quantity from the districts bordering on the Great Lakes, other regions further to the northwestward were opened, and for years the Great Lakes region and the regions of the great Northwest have been classified as follows: The West of Chicago district, the Chicago district, the Railroad and Interior Mills district, the Saginaw district, and the Lake Erie district. The West of Chicago district is subdivided into the Duluth district, and eleven other districts, each traversed by a river or a railway; the Chicago district is subdivided into the Green Bay district, the Cheboygan district, the Manistee district, the Ludington district, the White Lake district, the Muskegon district, the Grand Haven district, and the Miscellaneous Mills district. The Railroad and Interior Mills district comprises the interior portion of the lower peninsula of Michigan. The Saginaw district is subdivided into the Saginaw valley district and the Lake Huron shore.
Without such a division as the above it would be exceedingly difficult to form reliable estimates of the amount of timber standing at any particular epoch, and of the amount of lumber cut and shipped by lake or railroad. About twenty years ago there was considerable excitement and discussion over the question as to how rapidly the timber was being cut away, and as to how long the forest supply would last. It was not difficult to ascertain the amount of the annual cut of timber, and if the amount still standing in the forest could be ascertained with anything like similar closeness of approximation, then it would be but a simple question of division to ascertain the number of years during which the supply would hold out. This was the method pursued by some very able writers on this question, and in 1876 these writers informed the world that twenty years more of such rapid destruction of timber as had then been going on since the close of the Civil war would pretty much exhaust the supply. For six years after these predictions were made the rate of lumber production steadily increased, reaching a maximum in 1882 in most of the districts into which the Great Lakes region was divided.
In the Saginaw valley, in 1865, there was cut lumber to the amount of 250,639,340 feet, which amount steadily increased with some fluctuations until 1880, when the amount sawn was 862,453,223 feet. In the West of Chicago district in 1873 the cut was 1,353,000,000 feet, while in 1884 it reached 3,448,646,757 feet. In the Chicago district in 1873 there was cut lumber to the amount of 1,220,819,000 feet, the maximum in this district being reached in 1889, when it was 2,481,358,356 feet. In the Railroad and Interior Mills district the cut in 1873 was 621,603,000 feet, and the output or product here remained quite uniform for several years, reaching its maximum in 1882, when it was 922,409,230 feet. In the Saginaw district, which includes the Saginaw valley and the Lake Huron shore, the cut in 1873 was 792,358,000 feet, and here the maximum was reached in 1888, when the product was 1,497,989,140 feet. The Lake Erie district began to be noticed in Chicago statistical tables in 1882, in which year the product was 54,528,380 feet, and in this district the maximum was reached in 1890, when it was 76,250,000 feet. In the Georgian Bay district in 1880 there were cut 505,756,488 feet of lumber, which was a little more than five-sixths as much as was cut in the Muskegon district, the amount here being then 591,201,649 feet.
The maximum product for the different districts was reached in different years. In the West of Chicago district it was reached in 1892; in the Chicago district in 1889; in the Railroad and Interior Mills district in 1882; in the Saginaw district in 1888, and in the Lake Erie district in 1890. The maximum total product of lumber for all these districts was reached in 1892, when it was 8,902,748,423 feet.
In the West of Chicago district the cut declined from the maximum of 4,688,840,186 feet in 1892,10 3,351,445,913 feet in 1896; in the Chicago district the decline was from the maximum of 2,481,358,356 in 1889, to 1,513,231,561 in 1896; in the Railroad and Interior Mills district the decline was from 922,409,230 feet in 1882, to 387,925,069 feet in 1896; in the Saginaw district the decline was from 1,497,989,140 feet in 1888, to 513,585,298 feet in 1896, and in the Lake Erie district the maximum was reached in 1896, when it was 71,925,107 feet. But in the entire region under discussion the decline in the product was from 8,902,748,423 feet in 1892, to 5,538,112,948 feet in 1896, which was the smallest total output since 1879, when it was only 4,806,943,000 feet.
Thus it will be seen that in all the districts which are wholly or in part connected with the Great Lakes, the product has been for several years gradually diminishing from year to year. But in the districts wholly in the Great Lakes region this decrease is made more evident by taking individual sub-districts. For instance, in the Saginaw Valley district the shipments of lumber decreased from 284,794,922 feet in 1882 to 68,773,117 feet in 1896, while the shingle output decreased from 304,925,590 in 1881 for the entire Saginaw Valley district to 38,180,750 in 1895. At one time Muskegon shipped about 800,000,000 feet per year, while at the present time as a lumber producer it is practically wiped off the map. The same is the case almost, but not quite to the same extent, with the Pere Marquette and the Manistee regions. The Menominee region is on the decline, and Marquette and Ontonagon now furnish little but pickings. And it will not be long before the Saginaw Valley and the Lake Huron shore will be practically dependent on Canada for their lumber. At the present time the Duluth district is the mainstay of the lake shipments, with Chequemagon Bay rapidly declining. The lower Chippewa and the Black river regions are nearly denuded of pine, and the same is true of the St. Croix. The White Lake, Ludington, Traverse Bay, Cheboygan, Manistique, St. Ignace, Marinette, Ontonagon and Wolf River districts are each either sliding down the scale or have become practically extinct as factors in the lumber market. As just stated, the supply for the Great Lakes lumber trade now comes principally from the Lake Superior region, and operations on the Wisconsin river, the Chippewa and the St. Croix and even on the upper Mississippi river are noticeably diminishing. And one by one the mills which derived their stocks from the territory around the Great Lakes and from the valleys of the streams falling into them, are dropping out, being dismantled or burned down. Such places as Muskegon, Ludington, Manistee, Traverse City, Alpena, Menominee, Marinette, Green Bay, Oshkosh and Escanaba, at the end of from five to ten years to come, will cease to be lumber centers, and the lumber trade of the Great Lakes, so far as they are concerned, may be practically extinct. Alpena, Osceola, Cadillac and Big Rapids are all in the metamorphic state, as will soon be the case with Cheboygan. Old Saginaw and Bay City have got past the change, and are entering on a period of prosperous manufacturing and trade. The handwriting is on the wall for Ashland, Wisconsin, as it was some time since for Escanaba and Ontonagon; but Duluth will be for years a large lumber center, for she has back of her yet immense resources in the forests of the Northwest. But all the cities of the Northwest must, in the course of a few years at most, cease to look to lumber as the main source of their prosperity, and turn their attention to agriculture and manufacturing.
Until within a few years the white and norway supply for Ohio markets largely came from Saginaw valley and Huron shore mills. But those resources are rapidly diminishing, and soon will be gone, except as the supply shall be lengthened out by logs from the north shore of Georgian Bay, in Canada. For five years the Lake Erie markets have increasingly resorted to the Green Bay and Lake Superior mills for lumber, and have also taken some hemlock from the northern ports of the lower Michigan peninsula. The norway of the Huron shore, which for years was the main dependence for dimension, or bill stuff, as it is called on Lake Erie, has been nearly exhausted. This forces the wholesalers of Toledo, Sandusky and Cleveland to go further up the lakes for bill stuff, and is one of the factors which is causing an increasing stress in the market for that class of product. The fact that Ohio and the further east is increasingly dependent on the Lake Superior country for pine is a reason why the supply will be wiped out sooner than many imagine. The whole distributing field eastward is now mainly dependent on upper Michigan and Lake Superior districts, while only a few years ago the chief supply came from lower Michigan.
The state forestry commission of Wisconsin has taken hold of the matter of reforestation and forest preservation in an energetic and practical way. The pine kings have promised to replant their lands, which have been despoiled, with pine trees a year old. It is estimated that they will cost $3 per thousand, and that that number is sufficient to cover an acre of land. The lumbermen have agreed to this providing the State will see that the fire law pertaining to forests is strictly enforced.
Lumber Tows. -- A remarkable feature of lake navigation is the system of towing barges, and, perhaps, the tows are not surpassed on any navigable waters in the world. A tow, extending over one mile in length, 5,480 feet, was in 1872 made up at Buffalo, consisting of the steamer Antelope, Capt. R. Valentine, and eight large lumber barges. The tow navigated Lake Erie during violent weather. After loading over 6,000,000 feet of lumber at the Saginaws the barges were towed back to Buffalo by the same steamer. Considering the violent state of the weather much skill must have been exercised to keep the tow in hand and from breaking up.
Vessels in the Lumber Trade. -- It is not possible to state the number of vessels engaged in the lumber trade on the lakes for the years that that trade has existed; but this number gradually increased from the beginning of the trade, when there were but few and all sailing vessels to about 1884 or 1885, when there were nearly 500 steamers and sailing vessels thus engaged, handling probably 8,000 cargoes per year. Of late years sailing vessels have been gradually giving place to steam vessels in this trade, as in most others, because steam is a more reliable motive power than wind, and a steam vessel is able to reach her destination either for lumber or with it, almost on schedule time. A steam vessel can also be much more easily managed during a storm, and can often enter a harbor without a tug. During 1871 there were about 10,000 arrivals of sailing vessels in Chicago to 1,000 arrivals of steam vessels, and it is altogether probable that the vessels bringing in lumber arrived in about the same proportion.
In 1882 the number of cargoes of lumber brought into Chicago in steam vessels was 1,994, and the number brought in in sailing vessels was 5,169. In 1889 the number of cargoes of lumber brought in in steam vessels was 2,168, and the number brought in in sailing vessels was 2,755. In 1896 the number of cargoes brought in in steam vessels was 1,021 and the number in sailing vessels was 1,079. The per cent. of steam vessels to the whole number in 1882 was a little less than 28, while that of sailing vessels was a little more than 72. In 1889 the proportion of cargoes brought in by steam vessels was 44 per cent., and of sailing vessels 56 per cent., while in 1896, the last year for which statistics for the entire year could be obtained, the proportion of cargoes brought in by steam vessels was 48.6 per cent., and of sailing vessels, 51.4 per cent.
Thus it will be seen that as the number of cargoes brought in in steam vessels increases the total number of cargoes decreases, from which it may be inferred that the size of the cargoes increases. In 1882 the average cargo amounted to 262,000 feet; in 1889 it was 294,000 feet, while in 1896 it was 371,000 feet.
Even of steam vessels there have been but few that have carried more than 1,000,000 feet of lumber at one cargo. Among these have been the Colin Campbell, which on May 12, 1882, brought into Chicago a cargo of 1,025,000 feet; the Brockway, which brought in a cargo of 1,466,000 feet, three days later, and on the 13th of July of the same year a cargo of 1,400,000 feet. Besides the Colin Campbell, in 1889, the propeller M. F. Butters, the propeller A. D. Hayward, the propeller Frank Woods, each brought in cargoes of more than 1,000,000 feet. In 1896 the propeller Madagascar, the propeller Norwalk, the propeller W. P. Ketchum and the propeller Linden each brought into Chicago cargoes of more than 1,000,000 feet.
Civilization has made and is making great and wonderful changes in the face of nature as well as in the face of man. It has driven the Indian from the east, south and north into the far west and northwest, and it is compelling the lumberman to follow in the footsteps of the Indian, by demanding of him the forests in which the red man made his home. Not many decades hence the great body of the lumbermen will be found in the far northwest and in Alaska, while only a few scattered ones will be engaged in their present occupation where there were many of them a decade ago, in the lumber regions of the Great Lakes.
The decline in the movement of forest products on the Great Lakes is largely due to the destruction of forests of white and norway pine on the shores of the lakes and on the banks of the logging streams flowing into the lakes. The enormous drafts that have been made during half a century upon the once seemingly unlimited supplies of Michigan, Wisconsin and Minnesota have in recent years well nigh exhausted the forests near the lakes and on the banks of the streams capable of floating logs. Stream after stream has sent down its last logs. The mills at Saginaw and other points on the Huron shore of the lower peninsula of Michigan are now in a large measure supplied with logs rafted from the Georgian Bay district of Ontario. The Kalamazoo, the Grand, the Betsie, and the Bear Rivers of western Michigan have ceased to be logging streams, and the White, Muskegon, and the Pere Marquette will soon join them. The Wolf river, of Wisconsin, that once carried down large quantities of good factory pine, will soon float no logs, and the cut of timber in the Green Bay shore district is on the decline.
With the depletion of the forests of white and norway pine contiguous to the lakes and near the rivers flowing into the lakes, the transportation situation has been radically altered. As the lumbermen have been forced to go farther and farther into the interior, the railroads have found it correspondingly easier to compete with the lake carriers. This has followed because in a great many cases it has not paid to haul the logs to the logging streams flowing into the lakes or to transport them directly to the mill at the lake side. The former plan has also been growing in disfavor for other reasons. Logs in some districts now have considerable value, and a good many are lost in floating them to the mills. Then, too, there may be delays in driving the logs because of ice or a lack of water. Now, as the cost involved in moving the logs from the remote districts to the lake shore is often sufficient to prevent such movement, the logs are sawed at mills located at interior points. From these interior mills the lumber generally goes to market by rail, for the cost of shipping by the combined rail-and-water route with its charges for transshipment is greater than that by the all-rail lines.
Altered methods of doing business at the mills also in part explain the greater rail movement. It is becoming the custom to sort lumber where it is sawed, and it is therefore possible to fill orders of consumers and country dealers directly from the mills. These consignments generally go by rail. Formerly the sorting was done by the wholesalers at the great distributing centers about the lakes, who bought supplies by the cargo and often made a large portion of their profits by a nice manipulation of the mixed stocks received. This revolution in handling lumber has worked itself out very fully on the Saginaw river, and a description of the change, in the words of E. D. Cowles, will be inserted: "A few years ago the manufacturer, with hardly an exception, sold his product by the cargo, and it was shipped by water to other cities, where the finer manipulation of the stock made business for large capital and armies of mechanics and laborers. Now the manufacturer sorts his stock, and sells it in car lots as wanted by the consumer. In other words, he combines the business of wholesaler with that of the retailer, and this accounts in large measure for the falling off in lake shipments. Local dealers who do not operate manufacturing plants also have established yards and buy lumber at interior points in the State and on this river, sort it up or convert it into box material or plain stock, and ship it out by rail to their consumers." The extent of the change in the kind of transportation employed in moving the lumber of the Saginaw river to market is made clear by the subjoined table:
The lumber the Saginaw river is a narrow strip of land less than half a mile wide and 18 miles long. Within this area there has been manufactured a larger amount of lumber than in any other district of equal area in the world. Since 1851, 22,943,072,900 feet of lumber have been cut. The rail shipments for 1897 are estimated. The table was compiled by E. D. Cowles, and is worthy of confidence.
Perhaps the ultimate destination of the lumber has in part changed during the period covered by the table, so that the lake carriers are not in so favorable a position to compete for it as formerly. Upon this point no information is at hand.
In some of the great lumbering districts the mills are now kept running during a large portion of the year on hard wood. The total output of the districts about the Great Lakes is in part maintained in this way. During 1897, 464,380,000 feet of hard-wood lumber were produced.
The change from pine to hard wood is of great significance, for hard-wood logs are so heavy that they do not float, and are therefore generally sawed at interior mills. It has already been pointed out that the lake carriers are at a disadvantage in competing with the railroads from the interior mills, for the local rail rates to the shipping ports are high and the lumber must be transshipped.
Many of the small vessels on the lakes are in the lumber business. They can navigate the rivers that are too shallow for the large vessels. Most of the vessels of the old schooner fleet have been transformed into barges, and are now engaged in the lumber traffic. Towing originated in the lumber trade. John S. Noyes, of Buffalo, was the pioneer who made this important departure. When the railroads were pushed westward to the principal lake ports, in the early fifties, the fine passenger and general cargo steamers that were then numerous upon the lakes lost a profitable business. In 1861, Mr. Noyes transformed two of these ships, which had long been idle, into barges. These vessels were the Empire and the Sultana. In 1862, he changed another vessel (the St. Lawrence) into a barge. These barges were towed by the tug Reindeer. Mr. Noyes' venture proving successful, towing increased rapidly, and about 1870 another important innovation was made; the tugs were supplanted by a propeller, which also carried a cargo.
It has already been stated that the movement of lumber on the lakes has been declining. Before many years it may be expected to fall off rapidly. Pine must continue to be, as it has been in the past, the main reliance of the vessel owners. The supplies that can be drawn upon are about as follows:
Mr. Andrews, chief fire warden of Minnesota, estimates that there are 20,266,475,000 feet of pine still standing in Minnesota, and others have raised his estimate. The authorities also differ on the amount of standing timber in Wisconsin and Michigan, but their estimates do not vary so widely as in the case of Minnesota. This is to be expected, for the resources of Michigan and Wisconsin are well known, while those of Minnesota are comparatively unknown.
As the output of pine lumber from logs cut in Michigan, Wisconsin and Minnesota during 1897 was nearly 6.000,000,000 feet, and in prosperous years has exceeded 8,000,000,000, it will readily be seen that the timber resources of these States will soon be exhausted. With the depletion of the timber supplies of Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, and the Province of Ontario, the movement of lumber on the lakes will lose its present importance.
In addition to the pine, there is a vast amount of hemlock and hard wood standing in Michigan and Wisconsin, and a limited quantity in Minnesota. A portion of. the lumber sawed from this timber will be carried to market by water.
A prediction as to the inroads that will be made into this supply during five years of active demand has been ventured by the Northwestern Lumberman, and is here inserted: "The pine of lower Michigan and the upper peninsula of that State will be well nigh gone [in five years]. A few of the old-mill concerns at Menominee-Marinette will still be sawing pine, but the majority will either have dismantled their mills or will be keeping them alive by cutting hemlock and the hard woods and working up cedar for shingles. The mills at the lesser points will not be cutting pine five years from now. Pine production will have been driven back to the west end of Lake Superior and into northern Minnesota. The red oak of Wisconsin will have been about cleared out. Scattering mills throughout the northern country from the Mississippi to the Soo will be pounding away on maple, elm, bass wood, hemlock, etc., with such overlooked groups of pine as may be encountered in scraping the land of timber. * * * Five years of prosperity, with the enormous demand which will result, will cause such a melting away of the northern forest resources as can scarcely be realized."
This picture may be somewhat overdrawn; but if the predictions made be verified forest products, which rank second among the commodities received at the lake ports during the last census year, will fall out of the first rank and be classed with the minor commodities five years hence.
What may be hoped for from attempts to reforest the pine lands can not be answered satisfactorily, for on this point the authorities differ. Some hold that pine does not grow at once upon land from which pine has just been removed, and some admit that pine will grow, but that the first growths will be low, scraggy, and full of knots, and therefore unfit for the manufacture of lumber. Other authorities insist that good pine can at once be reproduced if (1) forest fires are prevented and (2) the young sprouts be preserved from the depredations of live stock.
The policy of Canada, from the time of the organization of the present Dominion Government, has been directed toward the preservation of the forests, its method of procedure being to treat timber as a crop to be harvested when ripe, instead of before maturity or of being suffered to advance to over-maturity and decay.
Running from east to west across the Province there is an elevated region which is shown on the maps and generally spoken of as the "Height of Land," which forms the watershed between the St. Lawrence system and Hudson Bay. The principal variety of timber along this ridge is the white pine, the greatest of the timber trees of Canada. Northward is a vast forest of valuable timber extending around Hudson Bay and away to the arctic circle. This great extent of land, like that along the ridge, or "Height of Land," is for the most part unfitted for agriculture, but it is well fitted for the growth of successive crops of the variety of timber with which it is now covered, and is the principal source of the supplies for the manufacture of paper for the years to come. In order to protect this great source of wealth from wanton and accidental destruction it is only necessary to guard against fires, and to dispose of the timber as it matures; the principal requisite being to protect the cleared portions against being swept by forest fires, nature being abundantly competent and willing to do the rest.
With proper government supervision this great source of wealth will continue for generations, if not for centuries, to provide for the necessities of mankind, as well as to furnish a very large revenue to the government, a portion of whose policy consists in setting aside from settlement, as a permanent reserve, a portion of the Crown lands. "The Algonquin National Park" is a noted example of this kind, which comprises an area of 1,733 square miles, 150 miles from Toronto in a direct line, on the watershed which separates the streams flowing into the Ottawa river on the east and those flowing into Georgian Bay on the west.
It can not be stated how much timbered land still belongs to the Crown in Ontario, but according to a return made to the House, in 1893, there were about 21,000 square miles of pine lands under license and 24,410 square miles of pine lands still unsold, besides about 89,000 square miles of land more or less timbered, much of it well timbered, with a variety of trees, pine and spruce and other woods. According to the report of the commissioner of Crown lands, for 1894, the amount of timber of all kinds cut on the Crown lands for lumbering purposes was 60,695,250 feet for that year; and it was also stated that the natural increment of growth, taking the estimate of the United States forestry bureau (60 cubic feet per acre per year), as a correct basis for calculation, was about five times this amount, so that there was no danger to the timber reserve so long as the cut was not largely increased.
The white pine pervades the valleys of the Ottawa river and its tributaries, the valley of the Trent and the streams running into the Georgian Bay and Lake Huron, though in all these valleys it has been greatly diminished by lumbering and forest fires. The spruce abounds in Ontario, and its use is growing, especially in the manufacture of wood pulp, largely for export, and great inroads are being made upon it. The same remark applies to the hemlock, which like the tamarack, cedar and balsam fir, is plentiful and much used locally.
Of the hardwoods those of greatest commercial importance are the oak, elm, maple, beech, birch, butternut, hickory, cherry, but much of the hardwood forest has been cleared and used. The black walnut, white-wood, the buttonwood, the chestnut, the coffee tree, and some of the hickories, have become almost extinct.
George Johnson, in "The Forest Wealth of Canada," published in 1895, says: "The value of forest products consumed per capita may be estimated approximately. The value of our forest products, calculated from the census returns of 1891, was$80,071,415. For the fiscal year 1890-91 our imports of wooden articles amounted to $3,132,516, while for the same year our exports were $27,207,547, leaving for consumption in Canada $55,996,384, or a value of $15.59 per head. With respect to the quantities used the census returns show an aggregate of 2,045,073,072 cubic feet as the total cut for the year, of which 30 per cent. was exported, leaving 1,431,551,150 cubic feet for the annual home consumption. This is equal to 296.2 cubic feet per head of the population. B. E. Fernow, chief of the forestry division of the United States department of agriculture, estimates that the per capita consumption in the United States is 350 cubic feet annually.
There was originally in Canada one unbroken forest from Nova Scotia to the Lake of the Woods, a distance of 2,000 miles, covering an area of 315,000,000 acres. Through this great forest there ran the rivers Miramichi, St. John and the St. Lawrence, with its chain of Great Lakes, and its and their tributaries, the Saguenay, the St. Maurice, the Ottawa and others, and for 250 years, or ever since the settlement of Montreal in 1642, the axe, torch, the accidental fire have been making havoc in this vast region. It is probable that 50,000,000 acres have been in these several ways cleared of their timber, which has for the most part been wasted. And while the remainder is for the greater part under forest, it has been "deviled" by the lumbermen in search of merchantable timber; and besides this, there was at one time a great fire in the Miramichi valley, which swept with the fiercest energy over an area of more than 3,000,000 acres, leaving behind it blackened giant pines as a reminder of its destructive power for more than half a century; so that throughout the 260,000,000 acres not occupied by the settler, much has been thinned out. And after allowing for the areas occupied by the lakes and streams, there is probably 150,000,000 acres of timbered land, or about 45 per cent of the area of the Eastern Provinces still under forest.
With reference to the amount of pine territory in Canada, the Hon. James Skead, of Ottawa, estimates the total area north of the St. Lawrence and east of the Nepigon river as 311,711 square miles, or thereabouts. He divides the entire area in square miles as follows: 1. The Saguenay district, 27,000; 2. The City of Quebec, 8,000; 3. The St. Maurice, 21,000; 4. The Bout de l'Isle, 9,600; 5. The Valley of the Ottawa, 87,761; 6. The Rideau river, 2,350; 7. The Trent river, 6,200; 8. The Georgian Bay, 12,800; 9. The French and Pigeon river, 48,000; 10. The Saguenay and Blanc Sablon, 65,000; 11. The Ontario peninsula, 24,000.
No. 1 is rich in white and red pine, spruce, birch and tamarack; No. 2 in white and red pine, birch, white cedar, spruce and tamarack; No. 3 contains large quantities of white, red and yellow pine, spruce, birch, maple, elm, ash and tamarack; No. 4 possesses a good deal of white, red and yellow pine, spruce, tamarack and some ash; No. 5 "is the principal seat of the lumber industry, and has been since 1806, when the first raft left the mouth of the Gatineau"; it possesses white and red pine, both of the largest and best on the continent, also tamarack, spruce, ash, white oak, elm, birch, and all varieties of maple; No. 6 furnishes white pine; No. 7 contains white and red pine, ash, oak, birch, and tamarack; No. 8 supplies a choice quality of white and red pine, some oak, elm, maple and birch; No. 9 furnishes white pine of small size but of good quality; No. 10 furnishes a large quantity of timber fit for shipbuilding, and a quantity of birch, maple, oak, ash and elm, and No. 11 produces all the varieties of the hardwoods, such as oak, elm, black walnut, all the kinds of maple, chestnut, hickory, sycamore, basswood and ash.
Following are values of the exports of forest products from the Province of Ontario and the Province of Quebec to the United States for 1867 and 1868, and for the Province of Ontario alone since that date. It is assumed that most of the lumber exported from Ontario was exported by means of the Great Lakes, and the tables in the government reports, from which these statistics were compiled, show plainly that the great proportion of the forest products exported from Ontario was to the United States. Hence it is that the placing of a tariff (by the Dingley tariff bill) of $2 per thousand feet on lumber imported into the United States created a great sensation among Canadian lumberman: For 1867, $13,948,048; 1868, $14,471,697; 1869, $4,484,679; 1870, $5,115,157; 1871, $6,107,733; 1872, $6,109,642; 1873, $8,889,468; 1874, $7,322,611; 1875, $4,472,720; 1876, $3,657,410; 1877, $3,439,143; 1878, $3,496,311; 1879, $3,253,734; 1880, $5,033.975; 1881, $6,572,315; 1882, $8,009,934; 1883, $7,821,885; 1884, $7, 595,049; 1885, $7,336,387; 1886, $6,481,298; 1887, $7,002,762; 1888, $7,560,814; 1889, $8,396,799; 1890, $7,821,387; 1891, $8,954,582; 1892, $8,254,857; 1893, $9,861,890; 1894, $9,312,702; 1895, $7,872,920.
During the latter year the grand total of value of the exports of the products of the forests of Ontario to all countries was $7,927,235, as against $7,872,920 exported to the United States, and the same proportion or nearly that held good for the entire period covered by the above statistics. In 1870 there were exported in pine logs 18,034,000 feet, valued at $85,022.
The following are the exports of the products of the forest from Ontario to the United States for 1895, showing the details of the traffic: Logs, oak, 199,000 feet, value, $3,737; pine, 211,745,000 feet, value, $1,859,369; all other logs, 3,683,000 feet, value, $24,044; laths, number, 76,272,000, value, $109,320; lumber palings, 29,000, value, $469; pickets, 3,848,000, value, $18,763; planks and boards, 331,977,000 feet, value, $4,154,032; scantling, 148,000, value, $3,204; staves, 44,000, value, $370; other lumber, 621,675,000 feet, value, $999,787; all other forms of lumber, value, $103,366; hop poles, value, $2,058; hoop poles, $140; telegraph poles, value, $6,798; other poles, value, $8; cedar and tamarack poles, value, $65,739; shingles, value, $152,062; sleepers and railroad ties, value, $27,340; stave bolts, value, $64,232; shooks, value, $3,190; square timber, value, $182; wood for pulp, value, $203,666; other articles, value, $71,044; total value, $7,872,920.
The quantity of timber, in the shape of logs, exported to the United States from Canada, has been more or less affected by the export duty imposed by the Dominion Government from time to time, that export duty having been imposed for the two purposes of limiting the amount of timber cut in the forests and of affecting tariff legislation in the United States. The Trade and Navigation returns show that from 1884 to 1893, inclusive of both years, logs were exported from Canada to the following extent: During the fiscal year ending June 30, 1884, 974,000 feet; 1885, 380,000 feet; 1886, 2,869,000 feet; 1887, 6,350,000 feet; 1888, 468,000 feet; 1889, 10,839,000 feet; 1890, 32,144,000 feet; 1891, 36,699,000 feet; 1892, 73,963,000 feet; 1893, 127,084,000 feet.
According to the Ontario Crown Lands reports for 1893 there were exported to the United States logs of all kinds to the amount of 210,682,802 feet, of the cut of that year. Of the cut of the previous year there were exported 24,250,000 feet, and from Indian reserves about 10,000,000 feet, making a total for the calendar year, 1893, of 244,932,802 feet, exclusive of that cut on and exported from private property.
On the eastern coast of the State of Michigan there are many important centers of the milling industry, many of them situated on Saginaw bay, just across Lake Huron from Georgian Bay, and thus within convenient distance of the forests of the Georgian Bay lumbering district, especially for rafting purposes. Those interested in
the sawmill industry in the State of Michigan, at Saginaw City, Tawas City, and other places, purchase timber limits in the Georgian Bay region, and cut and raft the logs across Lake Huron to the Michigan side, and it is interesting to note the comparative dependence of the Michigan lumbermen upon the Georgian Bay region for their logs. According to the best statistics available Saginaw City and Tawas City in 1892 required a total of 793,184,159 feet of such logs. They were obtained from Michigan and from Georgian Bay, as follows: From streams in Michigan, 234,114,329 feet; from upper lake points in Michigan, 63,500,000 feet; hauled in by railways, 311,069,830 feet, a total from the American side of 608,684,159 feet, leaving only 184,500,000 feet to come from the Georgian Bay region, about one-fourth of what was required. These logs are made up into rafts and towed across Lake Huron to the mills of Michigan.
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Some of the transcription work was also done by Brendon Baillod, who maintains an excellent guide to Great Lakes Shipwreck Research.