National Geographic : 1967 Aug
How a labor union and a university helped preserve a natural woodland treasure. Si ll SAbout 50 miles west of the steel and con crete of Man hattan's sky scrapers is a priceless patch of primitive America that is essentially the same today as it has been for some 8000 years. The William L. Hutcheson Memorial Forest in New Jersey is one of the few remaining virgin forests in the Northeast. Wild life abounds in hun dreds of species. Below ground is a fantastic world of insects and mi croscopic organisms, each playing its own important role in the life of the forest. Nature has been working for thousands of years to perfect this "climax" community in which trees, plants, animals and all the creatures of the forest have reached a state of harmonious balance with their environment. Left undis turbed, this stabilized society will continue to perpetuate itself cen tury after century. In 1955, Thomas Mettler, whose family had owned the property since 1701, was urged to sell it as a source of timber for commercial use. 71 Aware of its unique value, Mettler held off on the ir sale until public p spirited resi dents of New Jersey had time to organize and es tablish it as a forest preserve. Thanks to the help of private individuals and groups, including members of the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners, the forest was eventually purchased and named in honor of William L. Hutcheson, a past President of the Union. Under the direction of Rutgers University, the forest is used as an "outdoor laboratory" for Nature studies. Through greater knowl edge of this age-old woodland, man may gain insight into his own rela tionship with Nature and under stand more fully his dependence on the natural resources that nour ish his spirit and sustain his being. Sinclairhas long been dedicated to conserving America's natural resources and wants to encourage private citizens to take a more ac tive part in preserving our national heritage. For a booklet describing what others have done and how you can help, write Sinclair Tour Bureau, 600 Fifth Avenue, New York, N.Y. 10020. Also include your request for information about touring to any S/ncl/f/ scenic landmarks you wish to visit. Discover America by car-it's worth seeing and saving.