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Platte Timber – Part 2

Written by Dick Perue

In our last Postcard, we explored the vast timber belt running south along the Upper North Platte River Valley in south-central Carbon County to North Park Colorado. This week we continue our journey north from near Walden, Colo., back up the valley to what is now I-80 highway.

A promotional article in Feb. 7, 1889 issue of “The Platte Valley LYRE,” the first newspaper in the Saratoga/Encampment area, expounds:

On reaching the North Park line, the Platte timber belt turns to the west and runs along the mountains marking the southern valley limits. In this western course, the belt leaves considerable timber on three creeks, Big Creek, Bear Creek and Little Beaver and fine growth on Big Beaver and Indian creeks. The Indian Creek timber is especially adapted to fencing purposes.

And now is reached the head of the Grand Encampment River, where the timber area is astonishing in its reach and general size of growth. Grand forests clothe this entire mountain region, extending to the head of Elk River and passing onward toward Middle Park. In the vicinity of the Grand Encampment canyon is a growth of yellow pine from which was obtained the material used in the building of the United States military post of Fort Steele.

From the Grand Encampment, the timber belt takes a northerly course, striking first in its new line of travel the head of Cow Creek, where the timber field is wide and ample.

By way of the head of Cow Creek is the road from Saratoga Hot Springs to the summer resort and the trout fishing of Battle Lake, around which lake the pine and spruce growth is also dense.

To the north of Cow Creek is Calf Creek, amid whose forest was lately located the saw mill of B.T. Ryan, the mill now running on Cedar creek on the opposite side of the Platte Valley. Next are reached the two Spring creeks, the most northern of which streams displays a fine timber supply.

With the next stream to the north, Jack Creek, the limit of the timber belt is reached, it here running out in the scattering quaking aspen motifs of the Savary slopes. Jack Creek is a stream of long mountain course, and its timber wealth is vast.

Thus is traced the path of the great timber belt of the Upper Platte region. It is indeed a rich resource. In its unlimited and exhaustless production are included white pine, a timber of excellent lumber character; yellow pine equaling the eastern product; black fir or balsam, valuable for shingles and sheeting; and quaking asp, useful for fencing and firewood.

To all of this extensive and varied timber growth access is convenient and easy. There is not one of all the timber clothed streams mentioned in this article which has not its mountain road hewed into the forest heart and as none of these stream exceeds 20 miles in length, it will be readily seen that the hauling distance is short.

The lumber future of the Platte Valley is great.