Use of the Forest

Public use of Saginaw Forest is encouraged. Rules for the public's use include (but are not limited to):

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Origin of Saginaw Forest

Looking at a Google timeline for "Saginaw Forest", I came up with the following newspaper article from The Evening Argus on February 9, 1904:
The Saginaw Forest Farm
Eighty acres of land has been given to the University of Michigan to serve the needs of the department of forestry. The gift was made by Arthur Hill, of Saginaw, agent of the university, and one of the citizens of the state most active in the lumbering operations now nearly closed by the failure of the timber supply. This land will, it is hoped, be of great assistance in studies that shall in time result in reforestering those parts of Michigan and neighboring states that cannot more profitably be devoted to other purposes. The tract is situated a little over a mile west of Ann Arbor, about half a mile from an electric railway line. It is a typical piece of the low hilly land of the drift district, and contains as geart [sic] a variety of topographical and soil conditions as could probably be found in an area of this size. Its soils vary from heavy clay to sandy gravel, and in addition to its many other good features it contains a lake of clear water, 40 or 50 feet deep and covering 12 acres.
The tract is to serve as an object lesson in forestry and is planned to provide for: --
  1. An arboretum of all useful forest trees suited to Michigan.
  2. Demonstration areas for seed bed and nursery work.
  3. Model plantation of forest trees.
  4. Special experiment in forestry, such as the various methods of propagation of special kind [sic] of timber and the raising of particular kinds of forest poduct [sic], as well as for other practical purpose.
Owing to the important part that Saginaw has had in the lumber industry, the track has been christened "The Saginaw Forest Farm." -- U. of M. News letter.
Of the four points listed above, numbers 1 and 4 are really all that can be said to be continued from this original set of "object lessons in forestry". However, it's an interesting thing to come across the (I presume) original press release for the forest.

For those interested in the mention of the electric trolley (that was established before 1904, obviously), doing another web search for "electric trolley" and "Ann Arbor", I found a link to a book, Electric Trolleys of Washtenaw County, which describes their rise (in the 1890s) and fall (in the 1920s), to be replaced by buses.

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