Thirty-three years after publishing The Lands Nobody Wanted with Bill Shands (a forest policy analyst, now deceased), Dr. Bob Healy revisits their work around issues related to eastern national forest policy with a series of blog posts hosted on the award winning “Peeling Back the Bark” blog. The Forest History Society invited Dr. Healy to participate as part of the ongoing celebration of the Weeks Act Centennial.
Here is an excerpt from the first installment:
To help celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Weeks Act in 2011, Peeling Back the Bark has asked Dr. Bob Healy of Duke University’s Nicholas School for the Environment to write a series of blog posts in which he’ll reflect on his classic book, "The Lands Nobody Wanted," and the future of the eastern national forests. Readers are invited to post comments and questions for Bob.
We called the book “The Lands Nobody Wanted” because so much of this land, particularly before 1950, was considered of little or no economic value. Much of it was abandoned farmland—hilly, infertile, and heavily eroded. We noted that “land abandoned by owners who could not pay the taxes was acquired by the government very cheaply. Local people were desperate for any activity that would pump money into a community, so they welcomed establishment of forests which provided for federal investment in otherwise unused land and generated badly needed jobs. And national forests provided a work place for President Roosevelt’s Civilian Conservation Corps.” (p. 16)
Later, of course, the perceived value of the land changed, as did the policy considerations, questions, and needs. Read more at the Peeling Back the Bark blog: http://bit.ly/h2Hgsc Participation by readers is encouraged. Feel free to share your thoughts and to ask Dr. Healy questions about his books, eastern national forest history, or current concerns by using the comments section of the blog.
Dr. Healy teaches at the Nicholas School of the Environment at Duke University where he is Professor Emeritus. He also continues to write about environmental policy and his most recent book,Knowledge and Environmental Policy, was published by MIT Press in 2010.
The Forest History Society is a nonprofit educational institution that links the past to the future by identifying, collecting, preserving, interpreting, and disseminating information on the history of interactions between people, forests, and their related resources–timber, water, soil, forage, fish and wildlife, recreating, and scenic or spiritual values.