When I was a kid growing up in the NJ Pine Barrens we had remains of old roads, a washed out bridge, and what we identified as a burned out farmstead complete with a huge walnut tree (the only one I ever saw, clearly not native) and an apple tree. Awesome fodder for a boy's imagination.
It was inconceivable to me then that most of the eastern US had been deforested and re grown at least once in the last 500 years. I especially love exploring in New England, where the whole place looks like forest, and you'd never guess it was all once almost entirely clearcut.
New England's woody hills and dales hide a secret—they weren't always forested. Instead, many were once covered with colonial roads and farmsteads.This "lost" New England of the colonial era has started to emerge, thanks to archaeologists piercing the forests with the latest in high-tech scanners, called light detection and ranging (LiDAR). In the images above, LiDAR reveals farm walls, roads and homesteads hidden within Connecticut's Pachaug State Forest. Dating to the 18th Century, the farmsteads were abandoned in the 1950's."
Via BoingBoing, where the comments are a great read.