Forest Properties of the School of Forestry and Conservation
A forestry school must have a forestry laboratory. To be of maximum value this should be near enough to the school to be reached at any time. The School of Forestry and Conservation is fortunate in owning forests which are easily accessible.
Shortly after the establishment of the Forestry Department in 1903, Arthur Hill, of Saginaw, former lumberman and Regent of the University, presented a tract of eighty acres to the University for the use of the department. The Page 1114area is about four miles from the campus on West Liberty Road, and under the terms of the deed was designated as the Saginaw Forestry Farm. At that time part of it had so deteriorated that cultivation had been abandoned, and the remainder was still under lease for crop production. In 1904 several coniferous plantations were established on the idle part of the tract. Additional planting was done each year until by 1915 the entire plantable area had been covered. By 1928 fifty-five acres were in forest plantations, consisting of nine coniferous species and twelve hardwoods. The balance of the area comprises a lake of eleven acres, swampy ground, an arboretum, natural second growth on slopes that were never cultivated, and roads. Thirteen additional species were planted in the Arboretum. A detailed history of the various plantations by Professor Leigh J. Young has been published in Volume IX of the Papers of the Michigan Academy of Science, Arts, and Letters under the title, "Growth and Cultural Experiments on the Saginaw Forest."
In 1919 the name was changed to Saginaw Forest. At that time a stone cabin was built near the shore of the lake. Most of the annual forestry camp fires and field days are held there. A short distance from the cabin, a large stone with an appropriate bronze tablet was erected by the students in 1927 as a memorial to Professor Filibert Roth, the first head of the Forestry Department.
A second property became available in 1915 through the purchase by the Regents of a wooded tract of forty-three acres on West Liberty Road just outside the city limits. This area, a part of the former Eber White estate, was named the Eber White Woods. Because of long freedom from fire and grazing these woods were in unusually fine condition. Previous cuttings had been restricted, so that many of the older trees were still standing. The value of the woods was still further enhanced by the richness of its composition.
A plan of management was adopted in 1917. Under this plan, cuttings have been made every year on what is known as a "selection" basis. As a result of this system of cutting, the woods have been maintained in an irregular, uneven-aged condition, which closely resembles that of a natural woods. As the removal of wood has been less than the amount of new growth, the present volume is greater than it was in 1917. The value of the present volume is also higher per unit, because more of it is contained in shapelier trees and trees of the more valuable species.
In 1925 Mrs. Charles Stinchfield, of Detroit, made the University a gift of $10,000 for the purchase of the area known as Stinchfield Woods, so named because the woods are to remain a memorial to Charles and Jacob W. Stinch-field, her husband and his father, respectively. These woods, with an area slightly under 320 acres, are situated south of Portage Lake about fifteen miles from the campus. About 110 acres are in oak-hickory woods. The remainder, cleared fields at the time of purchase, has almost all been planted. Planting began in 1925 and has consisted mostly of seven species of pine with some small groups of other coniferous species. The native hardwoods on this area differ radically from those of the Eber White Woods in a number of important respects, and the composition is much more simple. As soon as the property was acquired, grazing was stopped. Cleared firebreaks, constructed along the boundaries, have helped to prevent the occurrence of any damage from fire. As most of the soils are marginal, if not submarginal, agriculturally, this area has afforded an opportunity to demonstrate what might be done on lands of this general character Page 1115in the direction of forest production.
Three plantings at the Stinchfield Woods have been established as separate memorials. The first of these, an area of about 1,500 trees, was dedicated to George Washington in commemoration of the Washington Bicentennial. In the spring of 1937 a plantation of Norway pine was established in the name of Charles Lathrop Pack, and trees were also planted in honor of the members of the Board of Regents serving at that time.
A tract of 160 acres was presented to the University for the use of the School of Forestry and Conservation by Mr. Clark L. Ring, of Saginaw, in December, 1930. The tract contained thirty to thirty-five year old plantations of European larch, Scotch pine, black locust, white ash, and other species.
The chase s. osborn preserve. — In 1929 Chase S. Osborn presented to the University 3,035 acres of land immediately below Sault Ste Marie on Sugar Island, which is in the St. Mary's River, the connecting link between Lake Superior and Lake Huron. About 2,500 acres near the south end of the island, beautifully situated along the river channel facing the Canadian shore, are well blocked and heavily wooded. Duck Island, which lies close to the Sugar Island shore and is actually connected to it at the lower end during low water, comprises a part of the tract. Mr. Osborn occupied this island with its two log cabins and fireproof library each summer, and the huge log "Gander" cabin on the main island has been headquarters for University activities. The main body of the tract has nearly eight miles of shore line, of which about five miles are highland and three miles lowland.
This magnificent gift to the University was "principally for research and instruction in the natural sciences and forestry." Until November, 1935, its general administration was in the hands of the Committee on University Lands Used for Instruction and Research, at which time it was transferred to the Summer Session, under the continued custodianship of the George Willis Pack Professor of Forest Land Management. Considerable forestry development and research have been carried out.