Our Land and Country—1892

The preservation of the grand and lofty trees known as redwoods, in the National Park, and likewise in the North Kaweah and South Kaweah, California, has been secured by statute, but the greater portion of these magnificent monarchs of the forest seems likely to fall before the axe and other implements of destruction, in the interests of mill-owners and loggers; and as their reproduction, unlike that of ordinary forest growths, is not a thing to be looked for, their towering and august presence will soon be a thing of the past, and their giant forms without successors. For economic reasons, it is urged, this business is in the range of legitimate service to man. The wood is light and close-grained, much resembling red cedar in appearance, splits with remarkable facility, is particularly durable, and is used for building purposes, cabinet-work, and almost every variety of general woodwork; forming, in fact, the principal staple of the California lumber trade. The appearance of a grove of these trees, in the process of utilization, is said to exhibit an indiscriminate slaughter not called for on any grounds of business necessity,—age, size, beauty, and grandeur being disregarded,—some of fifteen, others of twenty, and even those of thirty feet diameter being alike felled to the ground; the largest trunks, that is, such as are too bulky to be handled conveniently with the saw, are shattered with blasting-powder. But notwithstanding the immense labor required in handling these trees, the market value of the lumber is said to be no greater than that of the sugar-pines which are so abundant, and of which large quantities have heretofore been cut and forwarded to the new settlements.

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