Written after the lumber industry shifted westward out of the necessity of supply, Rafting Days in Pennsylvania presents numerous recollections of the days when Pennsylvania’s lumber traveled by mighty river raft, across the state and beyond. This elite but dangerous trade had all but disappeared by the time the volume was published in 1922, but the industry loomed large in the memories of Pennsylvanians and the idea of “the last raft” became almost legendary.
This collection, edited by J. Herbert Walker, not only preserves the recollections and commemorations of the lumber industry and the men who risked their lives in its name, but also echoes the regret over an industry that had become unsustainable due to the exhaustion of its main resource. As a whole, the volume reads as a treatise on reforestation and honors the living memory of Gifford Pinchot, a Pennsylvania governor and the first chief of the U.S. Forest Service.
Rafting Days in Pennsylvania provides glimpses into the memories of aging raftsmen. It details the process of raft building, the types of rafts used for various purposes, the rafting trade and lumber industry and their workers, forest lore, famous rivers, and notable floods. It also includes a glossary of rafting terms.