The “Great Woods”

No one who has not gazed upon a beautiful, mirror-like lake, surrounded by an unbroken forest of tall pines and picturesque cedars and hemlocks, can form anything like a correct idea of the picture afforded the early settlers in the village of Clam Lake [later renamed to Cadillac]. It seems almost sacrilege that such beauty of scenery should have had to yield before the insatiable maw of the woodman’s ax and saw-mill’s glittering teeth, but the marts of commerce have no sentiment or romance, and natures loveliness must be yielded up to the demands of business, and the glory of her forests and the grandeur of its solitudes must be laid waste that man may reap fortunes out of what it has taken her centuries to produce. If the denuded lands had been turned into waving wheat fields there would have seemed to be come recompense for the ruthless slaughter of the forests, but to see the vast areas of lands covered with nothing but stumps and a stubby growth of bushes, makes one wish that the task of cutting away the great forests of pine had been much less rapidly done, so that the present and future generations could have had a glimpse of their royal beauty and sublimity. But how useless it is to moralize.

— John H Wheeler, History of Wexford County, Michigan, 1903, pp 287-288

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