The Hood River Glacier, Hood River, OR., October 20, 1899, page 2


     HOOD RIVER, Oct. 14, 1899 - Editor GLACIER: The past ten years have wrought a great improvement in the Hood River valley. Each year sees the acreage much increased as the timber is cut away and the land it brought into a state of cultivation. This is commendable and as it should be. Let every acre of tillable soil be brought to its highest state of productiveness. But, while this is going on, I wish to enter a plea against the threatened denudation of the entire valley and a petition to property owners to make an effort to prevent, as far as possible, the total destruction of the tree growth of the valley. Should the present system of all cutting and no planting continue, a very few years will see the entire valley as barren as the plains of eastern Oregon, except for the orchards which are being set out. Already our finest drive ways and roads are becoming bare and shadeless. Beautiful oaks are ruthlessly destroyed for the commercial value of the wood they will make. Everywhere the tree seems to be looked upon it as an enemy to be destroyed.
     The fame of the Hood River apple and strawberry has spread far and wide until the products of our valley command a higher market price than any other. Nature has endowed this favored section with peculiarly favorable conditions of soil and climate that produce these unequaled results, but let the destruction of the timber growth continue and the ultimate result will be a change of climatic conditions that will materially affect the crop production.
     There is but one way by which this impending danger can be averted, and that is, plant trees. Plant them by the roadside and by your homes. Protect your orchards and your family. Protect your orchards by a wind-break or screen. The results will be obvious and gratifying. The listed, wind swept appearance of many of the orchards of the lower valley may be obviated by this means, besides the benefits accruing from the tendency of the growth to mitigate the extremes of heat and cold and the increased humidity. Another motive would be the beautifying of your home and farm and the increased value of it to a prospective purchaser. Who could fail to be attracted to a home of no matter how humble pretensions if it is tastefully surrounded by flowers and shrubs and trees, as compared with the barren surroundings of a home exposed to the burning rays of the summer sun or the cold, bleak winds of winter.
     The advent of the irrigation canal, with all its lateral ditches, which in many instances follow our main traveled roads, now offers an excellent opportunity for the planting and cultivation of screens and shade trees. Our forests offer a great variety of indigenous trees, both deciduous and evergreens, from which to select those best adapted to the conditions of soil and the purpose in view. Care and judgment should be exercised in selecting varieties best adapted to the soil conditions and moisture, light and slope of the places to be planted. No rule can be given for the reason that no systematic effort has yet been made by which to determine which of the many varieties would best be adapted to the conditions of our valley.
     A brief list of our native trees and shrubs which I would suggest, any of which can be secured without cost other than the time required to collect them, would be as follows: White Pine (P. monticola), which is a beautiful tree of rapid growth; Yellow Pine (P. ponderosa); Douglas Spruce (pseudotsuga Douglassii); Pacific Red Cedar (Thuya gigantca); Tamarack (Larix occidentalis); Western Hemlock (Tsuga Mertensiana); White Fir (Abics grandis); Lovely Red Fir (Abies Amabilis); Noble Fir (A. nobilis); Englemann's Spruce (Picea Englemanni); and Pacific Yew (Taxus brevifolia) among the conifers and Oregon Ash (Fraxinus Oregana); the Cottonwoods, Quaking Aspen (Populous tremuloides); two varieties Mountain Ash (Sorhus sambucifolia and occidenta_es), different varieties of Maples, Chinquapin, etc., among the deciduous trees and shrubs.
     The U.S. Department of agriculture, division of forestry, has issued a very interesting circular entitled "Forestry for Farmers," which contains much valuable and interesting information pertaining to this subject. This can be obtained by addressing the department.
     Let each property owner take up the subject in proportion to the demand of his own surroundings. If you have a corner unfit for cultivation, let the trees stand upon it. They will yield a permanent revenue to your farm far in excess of their value as fuel.
     The writer has heard many comments upon the subject from visitors passing through our valley, and it is through others that we must see ourselves; so let us border are roads and surround our homes with trees, and so lay a foundation of beauty and inestimable value for generations to follow who will rise up to bless the hand that planted the tiny seed or the tender sampling.

H.D. Langille.

©  Jeffrey L. Elmer