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One of the first environmental problems on White Lake – logging

December 4, 2012 2 comments

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While many of us are familiar with the environmental damage to White Lake caused by the chemical manufacturing era, there was another era that caused considerable damage to White River, the land it encompassed (the watershed) and White Lake.  This was the logging era, 1837 — 1900.

At the height of this era, 16 sawmills ringed White Lake.  Logging drastically changed the White River and White Lake.  Bark and debris sloughed off logs onto the river bottom, causing sedimentation.  Straight channels dug in the coastal marshes to create the log boom area created further problems by decreasing the capacity of the wetlands to reduce nutrient loads, absorb floods, and filter water quality.

See below for a historic photo of the original mouth of the White River, from about 1860 (provided by local history author Dan Yakes).  You can see where the timber has been logged off, as well as the huge number of logs traveling down the river to be shipped across the Great Lakes for a multitude of uses.

To find out more about our logging era, read “Logging the White, The White Lake Lumber Industry, 1837 — 1900” by Yakes, and Steven S. Demos, M.D.  Questions? Your thoughts?

The Mouth of White Lake, ca 1860

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