top of page
  • Writer's pictureSusan Jameson

Purely Michigan Facts #7

In today's Fun Fact Friday, we venture into the past. Visiting Michigan before it became the tourist destination that it is today. Back when there were no vacation rentals, no festivals, no mystery spot attractions. Back when the land was dangerous and required a guide to navigate the jungle-like ancient forests that covered the entire state.

A land completely unrecognizable to what it is today.

Northern Michigan Clothing Company, Bay Wear

Photo of Hartwick Pines from Grayling Visitors Bureau

Many Michiganders know about the logging here, but many do not know that it almost devastated our great state. In Michigan Radio's Article "From wilderness to wasteland: How the destruction of Michigan’s forests shaped our state" they share the tale of destruction and resurrection that led to the Michigan we see today.

“Up north, the trees were different. White pines and hemlocks, with massive trunks that shot straight to the sky, branching only at the very top, 100 feet above ground...“

“‘Unfortunately, today there’s only about 49 acres left…For those that don’t know, most of Lower Michigan’s forests were clearcut during the logging era, and that was about 1850 to 1910...‘“

But “The loggers didn’t take everything. They left behind the smaller trees, the gnarled branches, the pine needles — just enough to set off massive wildfires.”

Between 1871-1881 3.5 million acres were consumed with fire

Northern Michigan Clothing Company, Bay Wear

Northern Michigan Clothing Company, Bay Wear

But after all that devastation, how do we have anything left?

"That’s because a hundred years ago, after the forests were destroyed, the soil washed out, the remains sent up in apocalyptic flames, the people of Michigan had a change of mind.

The clearcutting stopped. Eventually a massive effort began to replant the trees. The civilian conservation corps went acre by acre, planting millions of trees. Today, the trees have grown tall, and you can still spot them, in stretches of forest where pine trees grow in perfect rows..."

The story is truly amazing! Head on over to Michigan Radio to read the rest!

2 views0 comments
bottom of page