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The Upper Lake Region 333

superior, forests, ore, land and lower

.-THE UPPER LAKE REGION 333. A region desolated but rich.—The Upper Lake Region is a land of old, worn down mountains, of very hard rocks; and of shallow soil. The glaciers have scraped the surface, piled stones upon it, and made thousands of swamps, ponds, and lakes. Minnesota alone is said to have ten thousand lakes and ponds.

It was once a land of fine forests, but most of the big trees have been cut. Sometimes forest fires, leaping from treetop to treetop, have burned forests, railroads, towns, and even people. In some places the fires killed every tree, and the earth, no longer held in place by roots, has been washed away, leav ing bare round knobs of granite on which sometimes the stumps of the original forests still stand, dry as old bones. Lumbering still goes on, and much furniture is made in the citiesof the lower peninsulaof Michigan, some of which are in the Lower Lake District.

Some of the once forested land is being turned into farms, but the rough land here, as elsewhere, naturally belongs in forests. Parts of the cut-over land have already been taken by the states as state forests, and by the nation as national forests, but here, as in many other parts of our country, it will take many, many years of care to make these forests half as good as they were when the white men first began chopping at our wood lands, the richest in the world.

334. Mines.—The long peninsula that projects into Lake Superior has many cop per mines, and for a long time Michigan was the leading copper-producing state in the country, but it has since been surpassed by Montana and Arizona.

The greatest iron-mining region in the world is near the western end of Lake Superior. Here many thousands of newly arrived Europeans live in prosperous mining towns scattered around in the wild woods.

There are whole mountain ranges of iron ore has already begun in these cities.

What will be the results if the Hudson Bay route to Europe succeeds as a grain carrier? (Sec. 101.) If the plan for a ship canal from Georgian Bay to the St. Lawrence comes to pass? Or if the enlarged Welland Canal permits the passage of ocean steamships? so soft and so near the surface that the steam-shovel can scoop it up by the ton and drop it into cars, which carry it to the piers on Lake Superior. At the pier the brake man pulls a lever which opens the bottom of the car, so that the ore drops through into bins. A big steamer comes alongside, and in a few hours ten thousand tons of ore drop with a roaring noise into the great hold, and the ship steams away to the Lower Lakes. (Figs. 259, 281.) Four American ports on Lake Superior ship nearly fifty million tons of iron ore a year, as much as four-fifths of the total production of the 'United States, and more than the entire production of any two foreign countries.

335. Cities.—Name the port cities at the western part of Lake Superior. We can think of these Lake Superior ports as funnels through which the northwest pours its products to the eastward. These products— grain, iron ore, and lumber—are very bulky and are mostly handled by machinery, and, therefore, do not employ so many people as are needed to handle manufactures.

336. Future.—Will the iron-ore business increase? What will be the influence of more population and more business in the Northern Wheat Belt upon the cities near the western end of Lake Superior? Some manufacturing