Tucked into the Douglas fir and ponderosa pine forests of northern Idaho sits the quaint lakeside town of Coeur d’Alene. The former lumber town is now a popular tourist destination drawing families from across the Pacific Northwest and beyond. Gone are the pounding mills, replaced with fancy lakefront hotels and bustling shopping centers.
But it’s not hard to find relics of the region’s once-thriving industry: Huge logs chained together to form breakwaters protect marinas and lakeside restaurants scattered around Lake Coeur d’Alene — the region’s main tourist draw.
In the sprawling Idaho Panhandle National Forest that nearly surrounds the town, century old stumps the size of boulders rot beneath a canopy of trees that themselves seem a hundred or more years old. Both the stumps and the forest’s now abundant trees provide clear evidence of a century of forest management that has played out in this quiet corner of America. [Read more…]