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

Superior National Forest

fsm91_047141

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

Advertisements
Standard
19th Century, Business, History, Intercession, Jesus, Mining, Minnesota

Gunflint Trail 1893

homeslide4

The American Realty Company and the Gun Flint Iron Company rejoice at the completion of the Gunflint Trail. They will use it to transport iron ore from inland mines to Grand Marais, where it can be moved by ship.

The area lies on the eastern edge of the Mesabi Iron Range, but proves to be less rich in iron-ore deposits than prospectors had originally hoped. In the end, the road is used more by logging trucks and later by tourists.*

Thank You, Messiah, that You encourage and allow us to dream, and the strength to fulfill even part of those dreams. Lead me on the path of Your thoughts on the Gunflint Trail of Minnesota. What will You reveal today?

I share the joy of the American Realty Company and the Gun Flint Iron Company of the completion of this task. How could they know that their important ore trail would also become a logging trail, or one of the most lovely roads leading people to the peace of the Boundary Waters? How will You repurpose this road in the future?

I will assume that the motive of a realty company building a road is to create access to land, and make it usable for the needs of that generation. This hits a past and present wound; our judgement(s) of others’ land use. Each generation tends to judge or blame or assess the actions of the ones before.

So, here I will start; Lord, this piece of ground known as Minnesota is Your property. All treasures above, below, or on the surface of its boundaries belong to its Creator! Forgive our offense to You by judging the motives of this generation in 1893. Forgive our offense to You through the many battles fought in our courts over Your property. Our vision is short-sighted. We lack mercy. We hate what our brother does with the ground You’ve allotted him, and we sue him. We despise the generosity of resources You give to our sister, and we steal it from her!

Will You remove these curses on the Gun Flint Trail? Will You bless it thoroughly? Will You break the cycle of judgment between those who want it for recreation, those who want it completely undeveloped and pristine, and those who want to use its resources?

Our state government has accrued land, or limits the use of privately held land through regulation. What are Your thoughts on that, Lord? Is that simply, “nothing new under the sun” because that is the way of authority? Is it a wise idea to set aside land for future use, and does it truly increase ‘sustainability’? Are we like the servant who buries our talents, in this case land resources, because we refuse to utilize them?

*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!

** Need a primary source? Peruse the “Cook County Herald”? https://www.loc.gov/newspapers/?q=grand+marais+minn

***More on the Gun Flint Iron Company? http://www.padwrr.ca/iron.html

Standard