Finding Birchbark by John Lindman

OK so here's the deal on birchbark. No one will tell you exact spots and if I told you then it would be like a gold rush and all the good stuff would be snatched up. Also, other builders would curse my name. However, I will point you in the right direction and give you some clues.

Northern and western Maine is good. Parts of northern New Hampshire and Vermont are good. Sections of Quebec north of Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine are good. You've got to look but Quebec and Ontario have lots of good bark.

Slim pickens in Minnesota. Still good bark in northern Wisconsin but it is not abundant. I've heard you can find good bark on the upper penninsula of Michigan but have no personal experience.

Rocky Mountain bark, from northwestern Montana and north of Banff on the eastern and western slopes. I have noticed that the bark out west tends to be different and is almost always pliant. Out on the Kenai Penninsula west of Anchorage, Alaska almost every sheet was flexible as hell. However it was tough finding clear sheets longer than 7'. The trees had branches. The bark I've seen around the Rocky Mountains was similar. Northwest of Calgary it is reported from a very fine builder that one can find good canoe bark.

The thing to do before your trip is to call the DNR (Dept. of Natural Resources). I spoke to one in Minnesota one time who helped me a lot. He was a forester and knew the soil conditions for birch. Some guy at the DNR should know the areas to check. They often know the loggers who already have permits to log these areas. They are usually cooperative. Ask for names of loggers. Call them. Tell them your story. Then work a deal with them. Bark off the tree is better for them when they are skidding logs out.

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