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Promoting Platte Timber

Written by Dick Perue

Dear loyal readers: In 1889, the area in south-central Carbon County around present day Saratoga and Encampment had been settled for only a few years, and the first newspaper in that area was just a year old. “The Platte Valley LYRE” was established in 1888 and promoted the vast resources of the “Upper North Platte River Valley” to the world.

Enjoy this Feb. 7, 1889 article from the LYRE, but remember the North Platte River originates south of Walden, Colo., flows north to Casper and then runs east through central Wyoming into Nebraska, thus the reference to the “Upper Platte” although the area is “down south.”

Plus, “LYRE” editor and publisher Geo. Caldwell had a reputation for exaggeration and tall tales when it came to promoting his home territory.

The headline and story reads:

Platte Timber – An Encircling Belt 130 Miles Long and 12 Miles Wide

Tributary to the great valley of the Upper Platte is a timber growth which in magnitude, excellence, variety and ease of access, is unsurpassed in the Great West.

This timber growth follows the course of the mountain chains encircling the valley of the Platte and forms a belt 130 miles long by 12 wide. In this belt is included pine, both white and yellow, black fir or balsam, spruce and quaking aspen.

This immense timber belt, like the mountain chains it continuously clothes, is semi-circular in form, in extending from the northern extremity of Medicine Bow range to the Savary Divide.

At its northern starting point, this timber belt clothes the mountain sources of Lake Creek with white pine, black fir or balsam and spruce and the foothills of the same stream with quaking aspen. Thence it runs to the waters of the two branches of Clear Creek. On this stream is located the sawmill of B.T. Ryan, now producing large quantities of excellent lumber.

From Cedar Creek, the belt reaches the splendid growth clothing the heads of the two Brush Creeks. Here, in Brush Creek Park, was located in the early days a Union Pacific tie camp, the output of which was of excellent character. Leaving Brush Creek, the growth passes on south to French Creek. On this stream is located a magnificent timber body – a timber body as yet scarcely touched by the ax. Next comes Mullen Creek, a creek also of vast timber supply.

Beyond Mullen Creek is found Douglas Creek, a stream 30 miles long, with almost every mile closely timber-clothed. On this creek there was also located at one time a Union Pacific tie camp.

Just south of Douglas Creek, are the waters of Willow Branch. This stream heads against a mountain ridge forming the Platte River divide and is distinguished as the starting point of the great yellow pine growth of the Upper Platte region. This yellow pine growth, broad and heavy, runs from Willow Branch to the line of North Park, and from thence far into Colorado. The lumber produced by this yellow pine forest rivals the best eastern article.”... but, then, we will saw those logs the next time we write.