The drive along the Au Sable River from Lake Huron into the Huron-Manistee National Forest provides not only beautiful and peaceful vistas (such as that of Foote Dam Pond, above) but also an introduction to Michigan's continuing effort to remember its past and preserve its present for its future.
The forests of huge pines that once covered the northern part of the Lower Peninsula and the entire Upper Peninsula are now gone but the forests themselves have returned with the help of historians, conservationists, and increasingly environmentally responsible industry. Hydroelectric dams tamed the river in the early twentieth century and provided needed jobs and economic development to replace the lumber economy that had prevailed during the last quarter of the nineteenth century. The dams are still there but the lumbermen of old would not recognize the managed forests and comparatively slender trees.
My goal was to visit the Lumbermen's Monument but on the way I passed a sign that, in part at least, explained the surrounding forest: