This section is from the book "The Gardener's Monthly And Horticulturist V26", by Thomas Meehan. See also: Four-Season Harvest: Organic Vegetables from Your Home Garden All Year Long.
A friend sends us a government document, and marks a passage with a query.
" Alaska is the great reserve timber region of the United States. It is only a question of a few years when the forests of Maine, Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, and even Puget's Sound, will be denuded of their timber. Then the country will appreciate those thousands of square miles of yellow cedar, white spruce, hemlock, and balsam fir, that densely cover the southeastern portion of Alaska".
We can only say that, like much of the work of this class, there is much that is sound and much that is not. There are two parties in regard to Alaska. One would keep it just as now, a monopoly for a commercial Sealing Company. It is easy to see their handwork in government documents. To them Alaska is good for nothing at all. Another party would do with it as we do with the rest of our country - give it a government, so that people could settle there if they wanted to, and have some protection in their rights to life and property. This class, in their antagonism to the other, color things too brightly. It is one of the latter class that gives us the paragraph quoted. Now Alaska, at least southeastern Alaska, has a climate remarkably favorable to arborescent growth. There is certainly no climate in the United States more favorable to the growth of trees. But this very fact has had the effect of giving such power of endurance to the trees, that few of them ever die young, and all grow up like grain on a piece of farm land, and consequently there are thousands and thousands of acres of mature forest which would not give a single saw log. They are too thick. There are a few places where very fine timber is found.
At Kaigan the writer went through a fine tract where the principal trees (of Abies Sitkensis and Abies Mertensiana) might have averaged about twenty feet apart, and then there were specimens found twenty-one feet in circumference, and perhaps 150 feet high.
The fact is, when the "forests of Maine," etc., are exhausted, we shall have to go to work at forest planting. It will be a great gain when these natural forests are all gone. The millions of dollars we annually lose by forest fires from the vast amount of half dead materal which now feeds flame, will be a thing of the past. Alaska will be an admirable State for forest culture, but its uncultured forests are not worth much from a timber point of view.