National Geographic : 1897 Jul
208 THE FORESTS AND DESERTS OF ARIZONA Then when the heavy up-grade puffing of the engine and the rumbling of the cars cease and we alight at the terminus of the railroad journey and the beginning of our camping tour in the oddly-named town, Flagstaff, in the midst of this lovely pinery, we feel at home at once, without any misgivings as to the com fort or interest of the expedition. Coming to study the forests, we are naturally attracted by the chimneys and lumber piles in the distance, which suggest what becomes of the grand pines that we have just learned to admire. Although the sun is low-the train arriving late in the after noon-the sawmills, which, with the cattle and sheep 'interests, form the raison d'etre of the little settlement of 1,500 people, call for immediate inspection. At the mills and offices we learn that of the 24,000,000 feet of lumber now cut in the territory annually, the various sawmills of Flagstaff, supplied by a logging road of 20 miles, produce about one-half, besides some 200,000 railroad ties, supplying the local demands of the northern part of the territory and also of southern California and New Mexico. We learn from inspection of the yards that the pine lumber of the pine (Pinus ponderosa) is only of medium quality, yet good enough'for all local uses. With a lumberman's eye we have noticed that the trees cannot yield much clear timber, and this impression is verified by the books of the sawmill men, which show that not more than 6 to 7 per cent of the logs reaching the mill yield first-class material; and we have also noted that the cut per acre must be far below what eastern lumbermen would expect. These conditions are fully realized in Flagstaff. The opinion of the president of the Arizona Lumber Company, con veyed to the governor of the territory and printed by him in his report for 1893, is suggestive : I believe that it is the duty of every person who can give the matter thought and who is in position to influence any one's action in the prem ises, to make some endeavor to perpetuate our forest conditions for the benefit of future generations in the territory. Upon the rational use of our forests will depend the happiness and welfare, and I may say the ab solute existence, of any large population in this territory; and the time to act is the present, when the least possible injury will be done to vested rights. I believe the government ought to withdraw all timber lands it pos sesses and ought to appoint a competent forester who would make it his sole duty to see that the covering which nature has afforded our moun tain tops should be preserved, to the end that the valley land of the terri tory be protected either from droughts or floods in the years to come.