IF TREES COULD CUSS: ENVIRONMENTAL DESTRUCTION AND IV THE BEGINNINGS OF RESTORATION
Removal of the virgin forest in West Virginia is a story of monumental waste even in a state whose history was forged by a natural resource extraction economy. The degree of wastefulness is well illustrated by an episode at the headwaters of the Cherry River just after the turn of the century. Withrow McClintic, an independent logger who contacted with a company in Richwood to cut a stand of virgin spruce, sent in crews to build splash dams in anticipation of the spring floods that would float the logs down into the Cherry River and on to the mill. The thaw came, but when the dams were opened, the floodwaters stranded the logs on the bottomland instead of carrying them to the river. With no way to rescue the logs, the mill company ordered an immediate halt to cutting so as to limit its losses. McClintic was a stubborn man, however; he ignored the order, and the stately spruces were felled even though there was no way to get them to the mill. The timber cut by McClintic never did make it to market; the logs were simply left to rot on the mountainside where they fell. Episodes such as this prompted Emory N. Wriston, a pioneer conservationist in West Vir
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Publication information: Book title: Transforming the Appalachian Countryside:Railroads, Deforestation, and Social Change in West Virginia, 1880-1920. Contributors: Ronald L. Lewis - Author. Publisher: University of North Carolina Press. Place of publication: Chapel Hill, NC. Publication year: 1998. Page number: 263.
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