The National Forests

The National Forests

The National Forests

The National Forests

Excerpt

I like the way Arthur Carhart writes about natural resources. Beyond that, I like the national forests, and that's what his book is about. In it you will find data and statistics because forests are made up of board feet, acre feet, animal unit months, annual increments, carrying capacities of livestock, wildlife, even people. The forests are sagebrush flats, pinyon-juniper, aspen, pine, spruce-fir, or something else. They are Upper Sonoran, Canadian, Arctic, or some other label that scientists give them--not to confuse, but striving for a preciseness that they know must be attained to achieve full understanding of ecological forces.

The national forests are watersheds, and Arthur Carhart gives this aspect particular emphasis, because it is the least dramatic, most of the time--and the most important in the long run everywhere.

You will find much more in the book because the author knows the forests. He has lived with them and by them. Like a thousand others over the past half-century who have been active in the Forest Service, he is jealous of his part because a forest is a personal experience. So it is for all others who have a bit of sensitivity in their souls and who have "lived" even briefly in the forested outdoors.

Such thoughts crowded my mind as I read the manuscript while driving from Denver to the eastern seaboard. More exactly, my wife read it aloud. I drove. This procedure is guaranteed to shorten the most tedious trip. Not that I find unexciting the drive down the South Platte Valley to Ogallala, where the North and South Plattes join, then eastward along the Platte to Omaha and the Missouri. Through irrigated pastures, fields of sugar beets and corn. Past cattle feed lots, alfalfa-dehydration plants, taut little cities and towns, trim school buildings, grain elevators, lumber yards . . .

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