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THURSDAY, DECEMBER S. 1925
THE WAYNESVILLE MOUNTAINEER
moky Mountain Park
Knowing that the Champion Fibre Company is both a large user of for
est products and an owner of one of the important virgin timber tracts
lying within the proposed Smoky Mountain National Park area, some of
our friends have asked us for an expression of the Company's policy in
relation to the matter, and we beieve that compliance with this request is
proper. , . .
We have the greatest admiration and respect for those advocates of the
National Park who are so generously giving: their time, efforts and money
in the furthering of their program, and it is with profound regret that we
find ourselves at variance with them in judgment as to the best course to
The active officers of The Champion Fibre Company are enthusiastic
and permanent citizens of Western North Carolina. We have approximate
ly four hundred other stockholders of The Champion Fibre Company with
holdings amounting to over one million dollars who are also citizens of
North Carolina, but who are not employees.
Our plant repiesents the investment of millions of dollars and is intend
ed for perpetual operation. We have about two thousand employees di
rectly on our payrolls, citizens of North Carolina and for the most part
feme owners, who are vitally interested in the future of our company.
I n mv is an almost equal number of those not directly on our payroll, but
who obtain their livelihood indirectly from the operations of this company.
Fi-om every angle our viewpoint is, and naturally should be, not that of
a transient organization here today and gone tomorrow, but that of a
We heartily endorse the movement to bring increasing numbers of tour
,,(, iiitu this section, we feel, however, that program for the future prog
ress of Western North Carolina can not be complete or well-balanced if it
eonsid.M s only the tourist business. A proper development calls for con
sideration of both tourist and industrial activities. Neither is inconsis
tent with the other. Doth should move forward together.
Probably 75 pyr cent of the acreage included in the proposed Smoky
Mountain National Park has been cut over by lumber operators and is no
longer virgin timber and no longer presents the museum value that has
been discussed. We are absolutely convinced from many years of famil
iarity with timber growth that this cut over area will be restored to the
desired state of forest beauty far more rapidly under methods of scientific
forest management than by the process of simply letting nature take it.;
course unaided. For this reason, we firmly believe that the cut over area
should be under the management of the Forest Service of the Federal Gov
ernment, rather than under the management of a Federal Department un
familiar with scientific forestry.
It is true that the Forest Service has withdrawn for the present from
the purchase of lands in the Smoky Mountaon area, this action however,
as is well known was taken in pursuance of inter-departmental harmony
and did not imply that the Smoky Mountain area was unsuited to the
needs of the National Forest nor that it could not again be considered for
Should this cut over area be purchased by the Federal Government for
a National Forest, it would relieve the citizens of North Cairolina entirely
of the necessity of going down into their private purses for the funds re
quired for a Park purchase.
The recreational advantages of a National Forest are many and while
they are different from those offered by a National Park, we are satisfied
that National Forest, properly advertised, will bring forth just as many
tourists into this section as a National Park. We readily understand that
National Park advocates will not agree with this statement; however, the
Government records and the judgment of many well qualified persons,
will, we believe, fully substantiate its accuracy.
The proposed area once established as a Natiional Park withdraws for
all time and regardless of changed economic conditions one of the very large
natural resources of Western North Carolina from all industrial use.
Scientific forestry methods applied to the cut over area that lies within
North Carolina and inside the proposed park limits will easily produce from
200,000 to 300,000 cords of forest products annually and perpetually and
without materially impairing the natural beauty of the mountains. This
shou'd have a minimum value of from one and one-half to two million dol
lars per year.
The acquisition for Park purposes of the virgin timber area of the
Smoky Mountains involves problems that are extremely difficult of solution
because of the fact that these lands were purchased for specific industrial
uses, and hundreds and thousands of dollars have been spent to make them
availrb'e for these uses, through the building of many miles of railroad,
through the construction of camps, of mills and of special process plants
for handling the particular grades of wood located there.
These are not undeveloped and wild lands and though we met the Park
advocates in the most cordial and co-operative spirit possible, the facts
of high inherent cost of acquiring these lands will have to be faced. A
casual examination of the area in question with reference to expenditures
that have already been made in these developments, would convince any
fair-minded person familiar with such things that the off-hand estimates
being used in some of the Park bulletins are wholly inadequate and er
roneous. Under all these conditions we feel that the people of Western North
Carolina would do well to pause and consider whether a sufficiently careful
analysis of all the factors involved in this proposition has been made, be
fore they take action which may committ them for generations to come. ,
THE CHAMPION FIBRE COMPANY
REUBEN B. ROBERTSON, President and General Manager