9. WOOD, TIMBER, ETC.


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AMISTAKEN idea has heretofore prevailed respecting the wood and timber supply of the Territory, which was, that it was almost entirely destitute of a supply for the ordinary wants of the inhabitants. By a thorough exploration of the Territory the author found many large forests of pine, spruce, fir, juniper, cedar, oak, mesquit, with a fair supply of other wood and timber, such as ash, black walnut, poplar, cottonwood, palo verde, alder, willow, etc., etc.

In Arizona, as elsewhere in southern climates, the altitude generally indicates the different varieties of wood and timber which may be looked for. Along the low river bottoms the cottonwood, willow, etc., are found, and on the plains, mesas, and valleys, below four thousand feet altitude, the mesquit, palo verde, and other kindred varieties flourish, and at about four thousand feet, in the foot hills and ravines leading into the mountains, the oak, ash, black walnut, etc., flourish. From four to seven thousand feet altitude the juniper, cedar, Piñon pine, etc., are


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found, and from five to ten thousand feet, pine, spruce, and fir, are found in great abundance. A large portion of Northern Arizona is an elevated plateau, from five to eight thousand feet in altitude, most of which is covered with grand forests of pine, spruce, fir, juniper, and cedar. These forests are sufficient in extent to supply all the wants of the Territory for generations, if judiciously used and properly cared for.

The great timber belts include the White, Mogollon, San Francisco, Bill Williams, and other ranges in the northeastern and northern portions of the Territory; the Bradshaw, and contiguous mountains around Prescott, Mount Hope, Hualapai, Music, Cerbat, and other mountain chains to the west, and running through Mohave County; the Pinals, Apache, and contiguous mountains in Maricopa and Pinal counties; Mount Graham, Santa Teresa, Santa Catarina, Chiricahua, Santa Rita, and other mountains in Pima County, and also other timber belts on the different river ranges and mountain spurs in different parts of the Territory, aggregating in all about twenty million acres of timber land.

When the thirty-fifth parallel railroad is built across the continent, it will pass through Arizona to the north of Prescott, and will open up some of the finest bodies of timber on the continent, consisting mostly of the pine and juniper varieties. The forests


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of juniper will furnish large quantities of the most durable railroad ties, fencing posts, etc., etc.; and the grand old pine forests will all be needed in process of time for building purposes, mining, and a thousand other wants.

The Texas Pacific, or thirty-second parallel railroad, will open up the timber belts along the Gila River, to the east of Florence in the Pinal, Santa Catarina, Santa Teresa, Mount Graham, and the Chiricahua mountain ranges, on and near which line there are many fine bodies of pine, juniper, and other varieties of timber.

The mesquit, of which there are two varieties, is quite common throughout the Territory below an altitude of four thousand feet. It is a very hard, solid wood, fully equal to hickory for fire-wood, and produces the true gum arabic of commerce, which exudes from the tree similar to the gum of the common cherry tree. It also produces a bean which is eaten both in a green and dry state by the Indians, and which has a pleasant sweetish taste. Its fattening qualities are excellent, and stock of all kinds being fond of the bean, will fatten on it in a few weeks. The largest growth of the mesquit is found in the valley of the Santa Cruz, south of Tucson, and at different points in the Gila and Colorado River valleys.

One variety produces a bean-pod somewhat similar to the Lima bean, or the common string bean of northern


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gardens, and the other being in form something like a mass or bunch of common screws, is called the screw bean. The Indians collect large quantities of both varieties, which when dried they grind into flour on their metatestones; this they mix with water and drink it for food, living on it for weeks at a time. It makes a nutritious and palatable drink.

The Piñon pine, which grows along the lower line of the large pine forests, and is intermixed with the juniper forests, is excellent for fire-wood, and some other purposes, and produces the Piñon pine nut in great quantities, which is quite an article of diet among the Indians, and is also relished by the whites.

The great bodies of the pine forests of Arizona are as yet untouched by the woodman's axe, and must remain so to a great extent until railroads open up the country, and hasten the time of great improvements and general prosperity to the country. Lumbering has been carried on for some years at Prescott, and a few other places, but the great timber belts are yet untouched.

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