20th Century, Environment, History, Intercession, Jesus, law, Minnesota, Native Americans

Superior National Forest

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February 13, 1909

President Theodore Roosevelt establishes Superior National Forest. Exploitative practices are restricted in these areas, thereby preserving the beauty of lakes and trees for future generations. Six weeks later, Ontario’s government responds in kind by creating the adjacent Quetico Provincial Forest Reserve.*

Again, how fitting it is to be awed by such natural beauty as I watch this event with you: the creation of Superior National Forest. My first thought, dear Lord, is to acknowledge that our eyes are bigger than our stomachs. I’ve seen the North Shore, explored the Gunflint Trail, and the Boundary Waters many times, but cannot imagine how much greater the awe of those who saw it at the end of the 19th century. How humbling it must have been to walk as a grasshopper among the pine, fir and spruce forests!
I can smell the crisp scent of Your evergreen forest Lord, even as I write this. Will You forgive us for over-harvesting your forests in Minnesota? This we have done, this I acknowledge to you.
Next, I thank You for moving the heart of President Roosevelt to preserve such areas, and to be mindful of future generations. That said, I also acknowledge that sometimes self-interest drives our attempts to be nature’s caretaker. It is good to be your steward of nature! I just want to remember to You that we are also subject to impure motives even when doing good.
So I ask You, did Roosevelt establish this forest with a pure heart? Was he looking to enhance his legacy? Were there commercial interests that he was motivated to favor or disfavor? Perhaps he was motivated to increase Federal authority over state lands? If so, how did he gain the legal rights if they were not implicitly stated in the Constitution?
His actions allude to his belief that our state’s authority had failed this parcel of land. Did Minnesota trust the logging or mining industries too much? Did the President trust our state’s rights too little? Only You know the heart Lord.
In your mercy, hear my prayer. Will You forgive us our impure motives even while we do good whether past, present, or future? Will You forgive our prideful hearts? We honestly act, at times, as if we will save Your lands. We act as if we will improve Your creation, but often, at our best, we simply do no harm.
Our government established Federal authority to protect and preserve this land. Did we also seek Your celestial authority to protect and preserve it, or were we too busy making commerce? We often rule the land. We stake our claims declaring ourselves it’s savior, but in the end, we simply rule over other men. Will You forgive how we have fought over the title to Your land? Will You grant us humility of heart in Your state known as Minnesota? Will You give us the necessary self-control in land issues that we remain in balance with nature and each other? Will You preserve our hearts from the greed of over-harvesting, or the fear that locks the same lands up subjecting them to the ravages of under-harvesting?
Will You forgive our short memories? We forget that Natives managed Your forests here long before the Department of Natural Resources, or a Bureau of Land Management. They did so well that the first European explorers and settlers were dazzled by its bounty. Remember these tribal stewards Lord Jesus!**
As a final thought, dear Father, I do not suggest we as humans necessarily err in our “doing good”. After all, we are made in Your image, therefore capable of brilliance, ingenuity, and true greatness. I simply want to bow to You, to record and remember, that such brilliance, ingenuity, and greatness often builds a monument to our name. Will You make us a people humble and realistic in our land management successes?

*P.T.H. cites timeline formerly at this URL: mnhs.org/about/dipity_timeline.htm
The Minnesota Historical Society Web site, http://www.mnhs.org, is fantastic! Check it out! Images are from https://images.google.com/?gws_rd=ssl; again, an amazing resource!

** Read the relationship of American Indians to the land, and the differing views of historians on the subject. This excellent article by William Cronin and Richard White for the American Heritage Society shows the breadth of variety of Native American responses to environmental change and conservation of land and species. http://www.americanheritage.com/content/indians-land

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20th Century, Environment, Exploration, government, History, Intercession, Jesus, Logging, Minnesota, Natural Science, Uncategorized

Minnesota Forest Reserve 1902

living-legacy

Surveyor Josiah A. King and crew.****

Conservationists win a long fight to establish a 225,000-acre forest reserve where logging will be supervised by the U.S. Bureau of Forestry. In 1928 the reserve’s name is changed to the Chippewa National Forest.
One of the treasures of Northern Minnesota is an area of Chippewa National forest known as “the Lost Forty’. Actually, it is an area of 144 acres that were somehow missed by surveyor Josiah A. King in 1882. His three man crew faced chilling weather, slogged through swamps, and it is not unlikely they were missed in exhaustion.*

“In 1882, a land surveyor by the name of Josiah A. King, and his three-man crew, traveled 40 miles from the nearest white settlement called “the Grand Rapids of the Mississippi.” For a month, canvas tents were their homes, and flour, pork, beans, and dried apples their rations. Josiah and his crew were finishing the last of three contracted townships in one of the first land surveys of Minnesota’s north woods.
As the November winds blew around the crew, they surveyed a six square mile area between Moose and Coddington Lakes. Perhaps it was the chilling weather, or all of the desolate swamps around them, but the crew became confused, and they ended up plotting Coddington Lake about a half mile further northwest than it was actually located. Josiah’s crew’s error is Minnesota’s great fortune.
As a result, these towering pines were mapped as a body of water, and the virgin pine in this area was overlooked by the hungry logging companies. Afterall, what logging company would want to pay for swamp land. This parcel of land became known as “The Lost Forty” and went untouched by loggers. It is now managed by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources under their Scientific & Natural Areas Program.”**

Father, You have encouraged us to have places of rest, and even have commanded that the land should be given rest. Parts of the Pentateuch that are despised as being outdated, finicky, and overly legalistic by some are the same verses that declare a Sabbath for the land and animals. Scientists in the 20th century were able to confirm the wisdom of these books of “myth”. Elements and minerals in the soil are depleted by overuse; giving the land a rest actually increases yields in the long run. Again, You already made us this promise in antiquity, and science finally has caught up.

Lord, I see the Chippewa Forest as a reflection of this heart of rest. Within this forest, the Lost Forty are a time capsule giving testimony to what existed in Your natural balance. Thank You for holy, set-aside places like these! Thank You that the error of the surveyors may well have been Your providence and plan to show off Your handiwork to their progeny.

We see what the forest could continue to yield if harvested within Your boundaries. Will You forgive the impatience demonstrated in the harvesting of these northern forests of Minnesota? Will You give wisdom and balance to those who have an interest in these forests, whether political, environmental, economical, or spiritual? Will You give us this day a reserve of energy, of time, of thought to relax with our Creator? Will You forgive us where we are resistant to solitude, to quietness, to contemplation of our lives in the state of Minnesota? Will You help us hear Your voice calling from antiquity, ‘Your harvest’s aftergrowth you shall not reap, and your grapes of untrimmed vines you shall not gather; the land shall have a sabbatical year.” NASB Leviticus 25:5***

*P.T.H. cites timeline formerly at this URL: mnhs.org/about/dipity_timeline.htm
The Minnesota Historical Society Web site, http://www.mnhs.org, is fantastic! Check it out! Images are from https://images.google.com/?gws_rd=ssl; again, an amazing resource!
**http://www.minnesotafunfacts.com/minnesota-geography/the-lost-40-a-minnesota-forest-legacy/

***http://biblehub.com/leviticus/25-5.htm

****Photo of Josiah King courtesy of Liberty Pines Ranch https://libertypinesranch.com/category/the-great-outdoors/the-hike/

 

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