The paper companies of northern Maine were formed in the 1890s by combining both private and public lands so as to effect economies of scale. Most important, the new companies replaced the small log dams with very much larger concrete and steel dams, both to make water flow consistent through the summer log drive and to provide electric power for towns and mills. Mechanization in the 1930s required the re-evaluation of the potential of the timber holdings and so led to another round of surveys and assessments.
Damming Brassua Lake, 1926
This section explores the damming of one Maine lake. The U.S. Geological Survey topographic maps, made in cooperation of the State of Maine's Water Power Commission, show the area on the eve of the dam's planning and construction [66, 67]. Brassua Lake is at its 'natural' level. The dam was finished in 1926. For comparison, an 'after' image is provided with a Landsat satellite image . This false-color image shows healthy vegetation in red; snow is white; water is black, but discoloration indicates the beginning of the winter freeze; just to the south of the Moose River, treeless Blue Ridge is prominent; Mt. Kineo is at upper right. The effect of damming is obvious from the increased water surface areas of all of the lakes in the image. In 1920, the U.S. Geological Survey made a very large-scale, plane-table survey of Brassua Lake's outlet and along the Moose River to the dam site proposed by the Water Power Commission. Topography is shown in one-foot contours; the scale is one inch on the map to one hundred feet on the ground [68, 69]. It provides a detailed view of the largest known prehistoric archaeological site in the Moose River drainage; this site was surveyed and mapped during Central Maine Power's drawdowns in the 1980s. The USGS survey, for a project destined to change the landscape, was also used for the Brassua Lake quadrangle published in 1923 . This can be seen in the two camps to the north of the outlet -- Wallace's and Payson's -- which also appear on the 1923 topographic quadrangle. The 1923 map's representation of the pre-dam landscape was thus doomed to immediate obsolescence! Plans for the dam were drawn up based on the plane-table survey. A plan of the proposed dam was traced directly ; a view of the completed dam, as seen from the north-east, was also conceptualized . For comparison, 71 is a view of the Brassua dam during the 1987 drawdown. Log towers and buoys demarcate the original channel of the river. The tree stumps are from the original cutting of the shore stand prior the dam construction. Some of the stumps represent growth beginning in the early 1700s and thus reveal climatic patterns for the 18th and 19th centuries.
Increased commercial and tourist use of the Maine Woods decreased the tolerance for forest fires. Seventy fire towers were eventually constructed to assist in controlling the threat across some 10-15 million forest acres. The Squaw Mountain fire tower was the first built in the United States. The tower atop Mt. Kineo was constructed with a 60ft. steel base and was capped with a wooden structure. It was built in 1917 and was jointly funded by the Kennebec Protective Association, Maine Central Railroad, and the Ricker Hotel Company. It was used until 1967, when the fire watch was moved to float planes. The tower was restored by the Maine Conservation Corps in 1993. 73 is a combined topographic map and panoramic view from the Mt. Kineo tower, probably constructed to help in identifying the location of forest fires. An interesting proposal, made in 1945, was for the formation of a "private park" out of extensive lands to the south-east of Moosehead Lake . This would appear to have been related to other projects, such as Governor Baxter's park at Katahdin (1931). Scott Paper merged with Holingsworth & Whitney in 1954; in doing so, Scott Paper acquired H&W's extensive forest lands. Right after the merger, Scott Paper opened up their lands to public access, free of charge. They also gave Lily Bay State Park to the people of Maine. 75 is a promotional map from the early 1960s, showing the extensive range of hunting, fishing, and camping facilities that Scott Paper was making available. Scott Paper steadily increased their land holdings through the 1960s; the merger with S. D. Warren in the early 1970s prompted further acquisitions, giving the company 900,000 acres of land.
The Northern Timberlands comprised the unincorporated townships of northern Maine. Most of the timberlands in George Colby's map of 1889  eventually became the property of Holingsworth & Whitney and the Great Northern Paper companies. The James W. Sewell Company of Old Town, Me., worked for both H&W and Great Northern Paper in assessing forest resources in terms of quantity, quality, and size. These assessments were greatly aided after the 1930s with the development of aerial photography which allowed for the examination of tree stocks and regrowth areas without the direct observation of every yard of ground. The result is a series of maps with timber classifications, broken down into management areas to facilitate harvesting. 76 and 77 are assessment maps of Brassua Township by the Sewell Company in 1939 and 1950. These maps were originally owned by Walter Craig, superintendent of H&W from 1910 to 1950. 80 and 81 are other Sewell forest assessment maps. 81 includes the area of Austin Cary's 1896-1923 study of forest regeneration after successive cutting. Cary subsequently studied in detail the Spruce Bud Worm and the epidemic of the early 1920s. An H&W employee, Carey undertook his work independently, but it is symptomatic of a growing interest in scientific forest management. Among many studies at the University of Maine of the past and potential future of Maine's timber industry is Max Hilton's 1942 study of pulpwood timbering, which first became a major element in Maine timbering in 1925. Made for Great Northern Paper, Hilton's map  shows that company's holdings in the region of the West Branch of the Penobscot during the 1940s.