1987.17.878 | Deserted Lumber Camps Some Five Miles up Crooked Creek from Albert, Albert County, New Brunswick

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Deserted Lumber Camps Some Five Miles up Crooked Creek from Albert, Albert County, New Brunswick
H. W. Beecher Smith
31 August 1933, 20th century
Silver print
12.5 x 17.6 cm
William Francis Ganong Collection
This artefact belongs to: © New Brunswick Museum
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Keys to History

The early 20th century witnessed the mechanization of the forest industry. Chainsaws and improved transportation links lead to the decline of the old time lumber camps. Gone were the days of the old-growth white pine forests, which were replaced by smaller second-growth trees. The growing pulp and paper industry also contributed to this decline by relying on wood purchases from smaller individual operations. By the 1930s, only a few of the camps still survived.

As the Depression deepened, export-oriented industries fared the worst. For decades the New Brunswick lumber industry depended upon shipping products to the United States and Europe. As these markets dried up, mills closed and lumber camps became deserted. On the other hand, the pulp and paper industry flourished since the demand for newsprint did not decline. Paper conglomerates obtained tax breaks and multi-year leases on crown lands, driving out smaller competitors. The employment provided by the paper mills was welcome. Its mechanized operations, however, did not require the numbers previously employed in the lumber camps.

  • What

    A modern hiking trail now snakes along Crooked Creek, offering an enjoyable forest walk culminating in a spectacular view of the inland forest.

  • Where

    Lumber companies located their camps near waterways. These swelled in the spring, providing swift-moving currents on which the logs could be floated to market.

  • When

    The Depression of the 1930s accelerated the disappearance of the old-time lumber camps, which were already suffering the effects of mechanization in the forest industry.

  • Who

    Albert and Albert County are named in honour of Prince Albert (1819-1861), the husband of Queen Victoria (1819-1901).