In the U.P. there are by far more trees than people. All of those trees help to make the U.P. the unique place it is to live, work and play. Today is Arbor Day. It's a rather obscure holiday that many people might not even be aware of. It is a time when the importance of trees are focused on.
We all take trees pretty much for granted. They are a plentiful, every day sight. The U.P., however, would be a much different place without its most populous resident - the tree.
How much of the U.P. economy is tied to the forest products industry? It's one of the major cogs. NewPage, Delta County's largest employer, wouldn't exist here without a plentiful supply of trees to manufacture paper. Besse Forest Products, another large area employer, is also dependent upon trees. There are also logging companies in the area too numerous to mention. Trees are their mainstay.
The U.P. forest products industry provides employment to a significant portion of the U.P. population. The money that is pumped into the economy helps fuel the area.
As Michigan's economy shifts, the Upper Peninsula and its timber resources are in a good position to be in the forefront of the next wave of the forest industry - biofuels. Work is already underway to explore how forest resources can help supply the nation's energy needs. The U.P., with its vast forests, seems to be the perfect spot for some of this development to take place.
The best thing about trees is they are a renewable resource. Trees are harvested. New trees are grown. The cycle continues. We are fortunate the U.P. forest industry is a good stewart of the area's forests. Trees that are harvested are replenished. Forest lands are managed to ensure they are healthy and productive for future generations.
Of course, trees are not only a source of economic betterment for the U.P. One of the great things about living here is the recreational opportunities forests provide. Hunting, hiking and many other outdoor activities are right in our backyard.
Residents of the U.P. have a unique bond to our forests. It is where we work and play. It is why he protect and nurture the land. On the front page of this newspaper, you will see a pine tree included in the words "Daily Press" at the top of the page. It was put there for a reason. When this symbol that would represent the Daily Press was created, we tried to think of a symbol that would best represent our area. We picked the tree.
The U.P. owes a lot to trees. They help make us who we are.