Chapter 26

CHAPTER XXVI.

MONEY IN THE FOREST.

Unappreciated and Unappropriated Wealth in Trees—$5,000,000 Burned in Florida Forests—Reckless Waste of Timber—An Opportunity to Make a Fortune in Paper Cane—Chances in Cedar—Small Spools Help to Wind Great Fortunes—How Some People Throw Away $50,000 a Year.

There is doubtless more money in the forests that clothe the mountains than in the metals that are buried beneath their granite and limestone backs. Much of this wealth has been squandered through lack of knowledge of its worth and because of meager facilities for its utilization. In the State of Florida alone more than $5,000,000 worth of timber has been ruthlessly burned in order to clear the ground for orange plantations. Forest wealth in the future will probably be obtained in the following ways:

  1. Wisconsin Pines.—The merchantable timber in the forests of the Wolverine State, according to Government estimate, reaches the enormous amount of 41,000,000,000 feet. There are many fortunes yet to be carved out of the endless pines of this State.
  2. North Carolina Tar.—Eight million dollars is the sum earned annually by the people of North Carolina from the making of tar. The pine forests that yield tar are not costly, but a large amount of acreage is required.
  3. Vermont Maple Sugar.—The people of Vermont last year earned more than $12,000,000 by making maple sugar. It is one of the surest sources of revenue. The work is light, pleasant and romantic.
  4. Alabama Chestnuts.—Thousands of acres of chestnut timber are wasted in Alabama because its worth is not known. The timber is felled for the tanbark, but the Commissioner of Forests estimates that in a single region $50,000 could be made annually by cutting this waste wood into railroad ties.
  5. Idaho Cedar.—The finest body of red cedar on the continent exists in the State of Idaho. Red cedar is one of the most valuable of woods. Endless tracts can be purchased now for $10 an acre. It is probable that in ten or fifteen years, with better railroad facilities, the standing wood alone without the land cannot be purchased for $100 per acre.
  6. Maine Birch Wood.—Nearly all the wood used in making spools for thread in this country and in Great Britain is supplied by the Maine forests. So great is the demand, and so profitable the work of felling the trees that the birch wood of this State is being rapidly consumed. A good, though long-time investment can be found in the setting out of birch trees on the waste lands of New England. A thousand acres of land, not worth $10 an acre at present, may be stocked with birch trees, which can be sold in from twenty-five to thirty years for $40 per acre. Profits, less taxes, $30,000.
  7. Southern Canes.—One of the most important factors of modern civilization is paper. The United States consumes yearly about $75,000,000 worth of paper. From rags, which once afforded all the material for paper making, but which are now entirely insufficient, manufacturers are experimenting with all kinds of vegetable growth in search of the best paper pulp. Paper is now being made of the fiber of trees. In the Southern States there is a kind of coarse cane which affords an inexhaustible supply, with a peculiar adaptation for the purposes of paper making. Here is a hint for the benefit of the one first to seize it. A buyer who should purchase a thousand acres, or even ten thousand acres, of paper cane would soon find a profitable market.

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