Fitzpatrick: Ashes of an industry: a Pennsylvania tradition is dying, one bat at a time

From Frank Fitzpatrick at the Philadelphia Inquirer on June 14, 2018:

Alongside the roadways and power-line clearings that weave through the deep Allegheny Mountain forests here, fallen and defoliated trees lie in gruesome heaps like Civil War casualties in a Matthew Brady photograph.

This hardscrabble region, having earlier experienced the departures of its oil and gas refineries, its railroad yards, its steel and iron mills, must once again deal with loss.  This time the requiem is for the white ash tree, a once-abundant, now doomed resource that for more than a century provided northwestern Pennsylvania with industry and identity.

Like most of the nation’s estimated 10 billion ash trees, the species that has flourished in these forests and yielded the bulk of America’s baseball bats for so many years will soon virtually disappear, decimated by disease as thoroughly as American elms in the early 1900s.

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Originally published: June 14, 2018. Last Updated: June 14, 2018.