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Explore the history of forestry in Minnesota

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Highslide JS 1821 1837 1838 1840 1858 1862 1871 1889 1894 1899 1895 1908 1910 1911 1918 1919 1927 1931 1931 1933 1939 1943 1943 1944 1947 1947 1949 1965 1953 1971 1978 2001 1982 1995 2008 2005 2008 2010 2010

1821

The federal government constructs the first sawmill at St. Anthony Falls to supply timber to build Fort Snelling.

1837

Minnesota's first logging camp was at the junction of the Snake and St. Croix rivers when John Boyce carried on logging with 11 men and 6 oxen.

1838

The first commercial mill was built to saw white pine lumber at Marine on St. Croix, and it continued to operate for three-quarters of a century.

 

1840

When the second commercial sawmill was erected at Stillwater, Minnesota's lumbering boom began.

1858

The legislature passed a law requiring that all log marks must be recorded before the logs bearing them could be moved.

 

1862

The first railroads reach Minnesota.

1871

The first law pertaining in any way to forestry in Minnesota was passed. It provided for paying a bounty to plant trees on the prairies.

 

1889

Lumber production topped 1 billion board feet with the rapidly growing railroad systems.

1894

On September 1 in the slash-strewn cutover region of Pine County, a group of small, unattended fires were swept into a roaring inferno which destroyed the town of Hinckley and killed 418 people.

1895

The Minnesota Legislature created the office of the Chief Fire Warden, who was to organize a state-wide system to suppress wildfires. General C.C. Andrews, a long-time forestry pioneer, became Minnesota's first chief fire warden.

1899

Minnesota's lumber industry reaches its peak. The average annual cut of pine was 2.3 billion board feet.

1908

Wildfires burn the city of Chisholm and 20,000 acres of land. No lives were lost.

1910

Wildfires burn more than 300,000 acres of land near the towns of Baudette and Spooner, killing 42 people.

1911

The Minnesota Forest Service is created to preserve forests, manage reforestation, and prevent and suppress wildfires. William T. Cox becomes Minnesota's first state forester.

1918

Cloquet-Moose Lake fire destroys 38 communities and kills 453 people.

1919

The legislature passes Burning Permit Laws to regulate the best season and weather-related conditions to permit open fires in certain portions of the state.

1927

The first law for the regulation of Christmas tree cutting was passed to stop the willful trespass cutting of Christmas trees.

1931

Department of Conservation is created to unite conservation efforts. The Minnesota Forest Service becomes the Division of Forestry.

1931

The Badoura State Forest Nursery is established when the legislature authorized the state to produce tree planting stock, limited to native coniferous trees for planting on only state-owned lands.

 

1933

The first State Forest Service camp is established in the Cloquet Valley State Forest for Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) workers.

1939

The General Andrews State Forest Nursery is established near Willow River.

1943

Minnesota's first minimum cutting regulation is established to regulate the size of cut trees and to provide for leaving trees that can naturally reseed logged areas.

1943

Minnesota's Tree Farm program is inaugurated.

1944

Keep Minnesota Green movement is organized in Minnesota.

1947

The Division of Forestry is authorized to produce planting stock of all species for use on private lands, causing tree production to skyrocket.

1947

The first laws were enacted to allow the Division of Forestry to serve and advise private forest landowners about how to manage, select and market timber, and protect forests.

1949

The legislature mandates that tax-forfeited land may be designated as a School Forest to encourage educators to use nature as an outdoor classroom.

1953

The legislature designates red pine as Minnesota's official state tree.

1965

The last Friday in April is designated as Arbor Day.

1971

The Department of Conservation is renamed the Department of Natural Resources.

1978

Project Learning Tree curriculum is introduced to Minnesota.

1982

The legislature passes the Forest Management Act, which requires the Division of Forestry to reforest an amount of state land equal to the amount harvested each year.

1995

Minnesota's Sustainable Forest Resource Act is passed to ensure that all Minnesotans can enjoy our forest resources while balancing environmental and economic considerations.

2001

Minnesota adopts Firewise, a national program to help communities reduce the risk of loss due to wildfires.

2005

4.9 million acres of DNR state forestlands get certified under the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) and the Sustainable Forests Initiative (SFI). Minnesota becomes the largest FSC certificate holder in the U.S. and among top ten in the world.

2008

The one-billionth tree seedling is harvested from the state nurseries.

2008

Minnesota Forests for the Future Program was established by the legislature to identify and protect private working forests for their timber, economic, recreation, and habitat values using conservation easements, fee title, and other tools.

2010

Each year more than 15 million seedlings are planted in Minnesota.

2010

Forests cover roughly one-third of Minnesota (33 percent or 16.3 million acres). Quaking aspen is the most abundant tree in Minnesota, equal to 3.5 billion trees. Less than 4 percent of the original forests remain untouched.

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