Four species of pine are common in Utah. The ponderosa pine, generally known as yellow pine, grows in the mountains at the approximate level of the blue spruce. It is rapid-growing, attains a height of 100 to 150 feet, and is the most important source of pine lumber in the intermountain region. Closely associated with the ponderosa is the lodgepole pine, a tall slender tree used by the Indians in the construction of their lodges. From this custom it derived its most accepted name, though it has nearly a dozen others. Because this pine is long and straight, it is particularly adapted for telephone poles, house logs, mine props, and railroad ties. Its amazing aptitude for reseeding makes it a valuable asset in conservation and reforestation. The cones protect its seeds against forest fires, and thousands of sprouts quickly cover burnt areas, sometimes so densely as to result in overcrowding. The gnarled and stunted limber pine grows on rocky ridges and other inhospitable sites. This eccentric tree, which usually grows singly, is apparently equal to the conquest of the most miserly mountain soil, but its warped wood is of no commercial value. The piñon pine, small and roundtopped, is found on hot dry foothills. Its gnarled wood is of little value, but the seeds are edible, and great quantities of "pine nuts" are gathered for the market, principally by Indians.
Three species of junipers, known locally as cedars, are found in Utah. The Rocky Mountain red cedar grows in scattered stands on rocky hillsides. It is generally too small and crooked for commercial use, though short lengths are sometimes sawed for cedar chests. One of these trees, the Juniper Jardine in Logan Canyon, has an estimated age of 3,000 years, and is said to be the oldest tree in the intermountain region. The One-seeded and Utah cedars grow, with the piñon pine, on hot dry foothills. The wood of the Utah cedar, by virtue of its resistance to decay, is much used for fence posts. The one-seed variety, so called because its cones contain only one seed each, is a multitopped tree with many trunks, none of them suitable for post wood.
Of the firs, the alpine and white are the only true varieties in the State. The alpine fir, known in Utah as "white balsam," is a native of mountain highlands. Its wood is used in rough construction work. The white fir, bearing the contradictory local name of "black balsam," is found at lower elevations. It yields a fair quality of tasteless and odorless wood, adapted for butter and cheese containers. Because of its accessibility, quantities of white fir are used for general farm purposes. The Douglas fir, locally called "red pine," is actually neither fir nor pine, but spruce. Botanists differentiate this variety from true firs because its cones fall from the tree whole. Although it does not attain as great size in Utah as in Washington and Oregon, the Douglas fir is one of the State's most valuable timber trees. Its strong tough wood is particularly useful for heavy construction.