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November 1999


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"Thomas W. Perrin" <[log in to unmask]>
Reply To:
A LISTSERV list for discussions pertaining to New York State history." <[log in to unmask]>
Tue, 23 Nov 1999 12:12:59 -0500
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As one whose summer job was cutting pulp and lumber at the age of 14 in the
1950's, I can tell you that we NEVER cut hardwood for pulp.  The tree of choice
was poplar (pronounced popple) which had to be debarked using a "spud" cut from an
old car or truck spring.  Popple would grow anywhere, even on coal tips (in
Scranton, PA for example).  Even though it's a deciduous tree, it's considered a
softwood.  If we were hard up, we would cut Hemlock, which was a bit paradoxical,
because it was a heavier and denser tree than spruce or poplar.
The hardwoods (maple, oak, cherry) we saved for the lumber mill, and we took only
the best pieces because they commanded better prices.  We never clear cut, and in
fact, I never observed clear cutting in the Adirondacks until the advent of more
advanced machinery decades later.  In my day, we used chain saws, and a team of
horses or a bulldozer to skid the logs out to a truck.  Clear cutting would not
have been economical then using such primitive machinery. Saplings weren't worth
our time, and cutting them would have been considered wasteful. I have no reason
to believe that the economics of wood were any different in any of the decades
prior to 1960 in the Adirondacks or its foothills.

Tom Perrin

Wayne Miller wrote:

> Dear Philip,
> I must disagree at least partially with this view, even though I realize
> your knowledge in Adirondack land use is vast. At least on the edges of the
> mountains, the advent of the sulfide process for making paper from
> cellulose (wood) meant that trees of all sizes right down to saplings were
> marketable.