The Interrupted Forest: A History of Maine's Wildlands

Overview

More than half of Maine has never been settled and lies in what is called the Unorganized Territories, millions of acres of quasi-wilderness. Add to this the thousands of farms that have grown back to woods since the Civil War, and you have the most forested state, percentage wise, in the United States. But the "uninterrupted forest" that Henry David Thoreau first saw in the 1840s was never exactly uninterrupted, for loggers had cut it severely even before the Concord iconoclast's trip, settlers had gnawed into ...

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Overview

More than half of Maine has never been settled and lies in what is called the Unorganized Territories, millions of acres of quasi-wilderness. Add to this the thousands of farms that have grown back to woods since the Civil War, and you have the most forested state, percentage wise, in the United States. But the "uninterrupted forest" that Henry David Thoreau first saw in the 1840s was never exactly uninterrupted, for loggers had cut it severely even before the Concord iconoclast's trip, settlers had gnawed into it, and the Indians, much earlier, had left their mark.

This is the story of these lands, wild then and, in many places, wild still, and the humans who used them and shaped them and fought over them. It is a story that starts in the present with the current controversies over land sales, clear-cutting and spraying, proposals for a gigantic National Park, the future of the pulp and paper and lumber industries, and no less than a secession movement in Northern Maine, and then seeks to answer the question: "How did this extraordinary region come into being?"

We go deep into geologic time to understand the land and the trees that grow on it, and then come the stories of people and events that have shaped it further: Native Americans, French, English, Puritans, settlers, loggers, speculators, great proprietors, surveyors, soldiers, squatters, industrialists, game poachers, conservationists, philosophers, artists, writers, sportsmen (and women), nature lovers, property rightists, preservationists, hermits, mystics, and picturesque characters of every stripe that have created and still create their own legends. Here is the background to see the MaineWoods—its wildlands—in perspective.

Author Biography: Neil Rolde, a historian and former legislator, is the author of The Baxters of Maine, An Illustrated History of Maine, Maine: A Narrative History, So You Think You Know Maine, and other books.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780884482345
  • Publisher: Tilbury House Publishers
  • Publication date: 9/28/2002
  • Pages: 320
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments viii
Introduction: The Personal Connection ix
1 Nowadays 1
2 The Tree-Huggers 18
3 The Property Rightists and Other Populists 43
4 Geology and Prehistory 59
5 The Historic Period Arrives 74
6 Meanwhile, in Europe 88
7 Earliest Settlement 102
8 The Puritan Influence 113
9 Life Becomes Complicated 127
10 King Philip's War and Other Calamities 137
11 War, War, and Some Peace 151
12 The Inexorable Turning of the Tide 164
13 Goodbye to France, Goodbye to England 183
14 Goodbye to Massachusetts, or Almost 204
15 The Lumber Capital of the World 228
16 The Romance of the Woods 255
17 Here Comes Industrialization 273
18 Conservation, Anyone? 288
19 The Doldrums 313
20 Megaprojects and Megacontroversies 323
21 And the Future Is-- 348
Afterword 368
Bibliography 373
Index 389
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