"I can guarantee there wasn’t a deer in Ohio, not a single deer"

Posted by | March 22, 2007

“I was covering that story, a big story then, big story. And the headline: “US to buy more than one million acres of land for forests.”

“And then the story went on to say that their actual goal was a million, two hundred thousands acres which would eventually become forest in southeastern Ohio. I covered this story as a newspaperman, not because I was necessarily in love with woods at that time. Because I wasn’t really conscious of what had happened over the previous 75-150 years, you see, of what the woods were.

“When you drive from here to Ironton, for instance, today – you’re looking constantly at beautiful forests that didn’t exist sixty years ago, seventy years ago – didn’t exist! They were old bare hills. You would see old cornfields on top of the hills and down in the creek bottoms. There would be pasture around the hills – old barbed wire fences – even remnants now and then of old rail fences.

“We never saw deer – I can guarantee there wasn’t a deer in Ohio, not a single deer. There wasn’t a single beaver in Ohio. It had gone through a hundred years of destruction. When you look back, in fact a little more than a hundred years, you look back into the middle 1800s- everybody was farming, everybody was cutting down timber for wood for lumber.

“We were shipping trainloads of lumber out of Ohio, mind you – out of southeastern Ohio to New York and Philadelphia and the East, or as in southeastern Ohio everybody was cutting down timber for charcoal-making for the iron furnaces.

“That lasted for about forty years. And they were burning up about on an average three acres of woods a day for each furnace. There was this whole century, actually more than a century of wiping our hills and river valleys clean of trees.”

Ora E. Anderson
2003 interview

Journalist, conservationist, naturalist, and artist. He was named Honorary Life Trustee of the Ohio chapter of The Nature Conservancy and in 2006 he was inducted into the Ohio Natural Resources Hall of Fame. He was the recipient of the Ohio Arts Council Governor’s Award for Arts in 1999.

appalachian+history appalachian+culture appalachia history+of+appalachia

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