What were Salem members' feelings about the surrounding forest in The Crucible?

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The Puritans felt that the forest primeval, or  

...the virgin forest was the Devil's last preserve, his home base and the citadel of his final stand...to the best of their knowledge the American forest was the last place on earth that was not paying homage to God. (Act I)

The edge of the forest is close to the Puritan settlement, and it is mysterious to the residents of Salem. Dark and threatening, the forest holds the wild and sometimes very savage Indians who maraud the settlements from time to time.
The forest is a place of mystery that lends itself to superstition and fear. Since the Puritans perceive the forest as the place of the Devil, when pretty Abigail informs her uncle, the Reverend Parris, that the rumor of witchcraft is about, Parris asks her if she has "trafficked with spirits" in the forest. He insists that he must know because if he is not informed, his enemies will know, and they will surely try to ruin him. 
Additionally, the forest provides the Devil the environment needed in order "to whip men into surrender" to a particular place. Puritans feared the confines of the forest where the Devil could exert influence in their lives.

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The Puritans believed that the devil was alive and well in the new country in which they had just recently settled.  The forest was a great place for the devil to hide!  In order to survive, the Puritan settlements like Salem had to stick together.  They needed each other to stay alive in the new, wild country they came to for religious freedom.  Everyone had to pitch in to make the community successful and to perpetuate their religion.  In addition, and unfortunately, the "savage," heathen Native Americans also lived in the wilderness.  The Puritans feared them as well.  They considered them subjects of the devil because of their "uncivilized" ways.  

To keep the communities together and continue to make them successful, a common enemy was a good way to bring them together.  There was no one better to have than the devil as the basis for their fear and to keep them united towards a common cause, the practicing of their religion.

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How did the people in Salem feel about the vast forest surrounding them?

When the witch trials took place in 1692, the Puritans had only been in the new world for about 70 years.  Some of the members of the town were second-generation Puritans who had to carve out a community from the dark, dense forest when they landed in the new world to escape persecution. The forest was dangerous and terrifying.  Not only did the forest have “savage” Native Americans living in it, but it was thought to be the place where the devil lived. In order to survive the harsh environment and to build the churches, houses, and schools needed to form a community, carrying on the tenets of their religion became imperative to keep people striving for the same goal, survival.  Fear of the forest and the devil kept the community strong and focused and working together as a group.  The mysterious forest kept the Puritans safely at home and dependent on the community for survival. 

*In The Crucible and other stories about the Puritans like "Young Goodman Brown by Nathaniel Hawthorne, the forest also represented sin.  Because the forest is dark and mysterious, it was a place for one to confront the devil and the darkest parts of one's soul.

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