History of foresty in Reynoldston, NY

In the late 19th Century the concept of forest preservation and reforestation had not taken hold and it was only after so much of the forest canopy of the Adirondack and Catskill Mountains in New York State had been removed. It was during this time that the State of New York acted with the creation of the Adirodack and Catskill State Parks.

Denuding the Forests:
 
             When the Orville Reynolds and subsequently his four sons built their mill and logging  business in the latter half of the 19th Century, the concept of forest preservation and reforestation had not taken hold and it was only after so much of the forest canopy of the Adirondack and Catskill Mountains in New York State had been removed that action was taken to create state parks to prevent this from happening again.  Over the years until today, more and more forested land has fallen under the control of the state and are controlled through State Forest Preserves.  
            It is somewhat inspiring that the forests that the Reynolds denuded have now returned to the 10,000 acres they clearcutted of all hardwood and softwood over a fifty year period.What is surprising is that in several of the newspaper articles  from around the turn of the century, that are to be found  on this site – Malone Lumber Co.,that most people did not see that the supply of wood was being  up at too fast a rate to be sustainable.But by just after World War I, it was clear to most that a mistake had been made in overcutting the forests of Northern New York State. 
             Thus Reynoldston like so many communities in Northern New York State, like Everton, Santa Clara etc. was dependant on a business that was so short sighted that it could only last a few short decades at most. 
 

The attached material from Seaver’s Historical Sketches of Franklin County, in 1918, clearly articulates the mistakes that had been made.
 

“The Brooklyn Cooperage Company is already putting out half a million young trees on lands owned by it in St. Lawrence county, and like action must be had in Waverly if there is to remain anything of consequence in the town besides a memory and its name.
Everybody in the town who has
its welfare at heart and possesses any denuded land unfit for cultivation should practice the policy here suggested in some degree at least, and 
those who can not themselves so operate ought not to neglect opportunity to urge action upon others. If neglected the town will be a waste within a measurable period, and must lose most of its population. The same proposition is applicable equally to
Altamont, Brandon, Duane, Franklin
and Santa Clara, the truth of which is exemplified by Waverly’s own
experience. Comparing conditions there in 1895 with those which hadobtained earlier, the late Hon. William T. O’Neil wrote that where there had been two mills at Shanley there were then none and the houses for the operatives were deserted and empty; that a planing mill and box factory at St. Regis Falls which had employed thirty hands had gone intodisuse; that a saw mill which formerly worked a hundred men was employing only eleven ; that the railroad shops, with sixty workmen, had removed elsewhere ; and that lumbering operations that had hadcamps containing five hundred workers had ceased altogether. The tannery was then running, but closed later, and has not been replaced, and more recently the rossing mill has closed because the reparation of pulp wood by that process has been found to be too wasteful. All of these changes except the loss of the railroad shops were due solely to the fact that the pine and large spruce in the vicinity had all been cut, and most of the hemlock stripped of its bark.

          The outlook for the time seemed black enough and hopeless and only that industries using hard woods and cutting the smaller spruce for pulp wood came into existence there could not have been much more of a future for St. Regis Falls than for Everton, Santa Clara, Shanley and Brandon. But within a dozen or fifteen years the supply of hard wood and pulp stock will have been exhausted, compelling abandonment of the mills and leaving no field of employment open to labor. Can such conditions mean anything except one more practically deserted village in the event that reforestation is not undertaken soon?” 

From Seaver: page 546

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