Such a recreation ground is a crying national necessity. As a people, we work too much and rest too little. Herbert Spencer, when in America years ago, declared that we had heard enough of "the gospel of work," and that what we most needed was "the gospel of relaxation." Since then the situation has grown worse rather than better. It is the old story of "all work and no play"; and the effects are seen in nervous prostration, insanity and suicide.
Again, from the economic standpoint this area is invaluable. It contains our last remaining, important stand of hard woods. Forest Service statistics, the prices of lumber and all wood products—mounting by leaps and bounds—and common observation unite in testifying that our timber resources are being consumed and wasted in prodigal fashion and at a startling rate. The Southern Appalachian forests, however, the hand of the spoiler has delayed to enter; and, though the supplies, once thought inexhaustible, of New England and the Great Lake regions are practically gone, this area still contains a vast and priceless stock of the choicest timber on the continent.
We have heard of the "new south." It is the industrial south; the south of the railroad, the furnace, the loom and the spindle. From the purely agricultural, this section is rapidly entering upon the manufacturing stage. Irrespective of the question of labor, for such activity it enjoys some special advantages. Its staple, cotton, is near the mill, and its water-power facilities are magnificent.
Like many other things, power is a creature of evolution; first, it manifests through human strength; then, through" the energizing of brutes"; later, through wind and water crudely applied; and then, as the Yankee said, through water "biled," releasing, thus, the titan, steam, at whose feet, it has seemed, the very earth lay prostrate.
But the waning of the steam-engine is already in sight. New powers are appearing on the scene; the next of which, we may well believe, is electricity.
What a coal vein is to the steam-engine, a waterfall is to the dynamo.
As indicated, the Southern Appalachians abound in magnificent falls; from these, electric power can be developed cheaply and in great abundance. With the introduction of means of transmission it now becomes possible, instead of carrying the plant to the power, to bring the power to the plant. The gain is obvious.
The possibilities of electric power as applied to manufacturing in the south may be appreciated when it is known that North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia alone maintain cotton mills operated by water power which produce annually a product valued at over $60,000,000. "The water power of this southern region already developed or being developed is estimated at 500.000 horse-power. The unde-