A (very) brief history of Minnesota forests

April 4, 2007 at 4:58 am Leave a comment

Minnesota has a rich and proud history of forest management.  Minnesota’s vast forests built (and rebuilt) cities like Chicago, Minneapolis, and St. Paul.  The famous white and red pine forests produced a seemingly inexhaustible supply of timber for a growing country. You can view photos from this era on the Minnesota Historical Society website.

Between 1850 and 1930 or so, widespread timber harvesting with little attention to forest regeneration or safety led to dangerous buildups of slash.  Hot, dry conditions led to enormously destructive wildfires.  The most famous fires in Minnesota are the Hinckley fire of 1894 and the Cloquet-Moose Lake fire of 1918.  Together, these fires burned well over 600,000 acres and killed over 850 people.

Forestry in Minnesota is practiced very differently now.  Sustainability and safety are constant considerations in the woods.  Widespread implementation of Minnesota’s voluntary site-level forest management guidelines helps to ensure the long-term productivity and integrity of Minnesota’s forests and waterways.  In addition to over a million acres of forested wilderness, Minnesota has both vibrant, healthy working forests and a wood products industry that contributes an estimated $7 billion annually to the state’s economy.


Entry filed under: forest stewardship. Tags: , , , .

Finding maps and airphotos of your Minnesota woods

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News and information of interest to Minnesota woodland owners. Sister site to MyMinnesotaWoods.org.

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