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A working forest: Celebrating a century

May 15. 2018 8:55PM

This 2012 photo shows the fall foliage in full bloom in the White Mountain National Forest. The forest was created 100 years ago today when President Woodrow Wilson signed an executive order. (FILE)

One of New Hampshire’s greatest treasures turns 100 years old today.

On May 16, 1918, President Woodrow Wilson signed the executive order creating the White Mountain National Forest.

It is hard to imagine New Hampshire’s North Country without the vibrant green canopy punctuated by a few towering peaks.

But a century ago, many of these lush hillsides were bare or blackened. Clear-cutting was commonplace.

Today, the White Mountain National Forest stretches across New Hampshire and western Maine. It attracts millions of visitors each year, providing one of the central features of the Granite State’s tourist economy.

The White Mountain National Forest has been a remarkable success story, and a model for responsible land management for the rest of the country. It works because it remains a working forest.

The annual timber harvest yields 29 million board feet, while preserving habitat for 184 bird species.

The forest contains 1,200 miles of hiking trails, 400 miles of snowmobile trails, and some of the most scenic roads anywhere.

We have not set the land aside, never again to be touched by human hands. It remains open to multiple uses, and we remain its stewards.

The White Mountain National Forest is an environmental, economic, cultural, and historic treasure. Here’s to another century.

Outdoors Editorial

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