This series of pho­tographs of lum­ber­jacks and the giant sequoias they cut were tak­en between 1880 and 1920 in Cal­i­for­nia, when log­ging and tim­ber har­vest­ing was at its peak. The author of the pic­tures is the Swedish pho­tog­ra­ph­er A.V. Erick­son.

felling sequoia

When Euro-Amer­i­cans set­tled the west­ern ter­ri­to­ries in the 1800s, they need­ed raw mate­ri­als for their homes and for liv­ing. In the wake of Amer­i­ca’s expan­sion came com­mer­cial log­ging, which sought to keep up with the furi­ous pace of progress. Log­ging very quick­ly became the main man­u­fac­tur­ing indus­try in the west­ern Unit­ed States. Most of all, cen­turies-old giant sequoias, long-lived trees that grow to colos­sal sizes, suf­fered the most.
lumberjacks and sequoias
When gold was dis­cov­ered in North­west­ern Cal­i­for­nia in 1850, thou­sands of easy mon­ey seek­ers crowd­ed this remote area of ​​red­woods in search of wealth and a new life. Many of them failed in this field and were involved in log­ging. They har­vest­ed tim­ber for the boom­ing San Fran­cis­co and oth­er coastal cities. Sequoias are among the tallest and largest trees on earth. It was because of this size that they were espe­cial­ly valu­able for lum­ber­jacks. Mahogany was val­ued for its ease of pro­cess­ing and dura­bil­i­ty. By 1853, nine sawmills were built in the town of Evre­ka, which were oper­at­ing at full capac­i­ty. In those days, the area of ​​​​the red­wood for­est was as much as 8100 square kilo­me­ters.

Lum­ber­jacks used axes, saws, and oth­er prim­i­tive meth­ods of felling trees. Trans­porta­tion was also car­ried out in the sim­plest way, huge trunks were rolled over wood­en blocks to the sawmill. Only a few decades lat­er, hors­es and oxen began to replace rail­roads. Land fraud flour­ished, with entire hectares of red­wood forests fraud­u­lent­ly trans­ferred from pub­lic to pri­vate prop­er­ty.

After many decades of free and uncon­trolled log­ging, seri­ous efforts began to be made to pre­serve the nat­ur­al her­itage of the pre­cious giant sequoias, which were on the verge of extinc­tion. In 1918, the Preser­va­tion League was found­ed, through the efforts of which many Nation­al Parks and reserves were found­ed. Among them are the famous Sequoia Nation­al Park in Cal­i­for­nia, as well as Yosemite Park. Almost 90% of the trees have been described and reg­is­tered, their felling is strict­ly pro­hib­it­ed.

Today, Red­wood Nation­al Park and the rest of the com­bined reserves con­tain about 540 square kilo­me­ters of red­wood for­est, while pre­serv­ing oth­er native flo­ra and fau­na, prairies, fields, cul­tur­al resources, rivers and streams, and 60 miles of ancient coast­line.

See also
Microscopic crystal flowers