Skip Navigation Links

Federal Development of the Southern Appalachians, 1960-81

Under the presidencies of John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson, the Appalachian region was recognized as seriously lagging behind the rest of the Nation, and concerted efforts were directed at revitalizing the area's economy. A myriad of Federal programs were developed to combat poverty and unemployment, some aimed specifically at Appalachia. The Appalachian Regional Commission, created by Kennedy in 1963, and given expanded powers by Congress in 1965, funneled millions of dollars into the Southern Appalachians. In addition, Federal land acquisition in the area was given new impetus, and a new National Forest purchase unit was created in eastern Kentucky. The National Forests of the region were pressured to market their resources to help meet accelerating demands for timber nationwide. Although the region made gains in employment, health, and education, the Southern Appalachian mountaineer, in the early 1970's, remained considerably poorer and less advantaged than the average American in spite of multiple Federal development efforts.

When John F. Kennedy campaigned in the West Virginia Democratic primary for the presidency in April and May 1960, the poverty and squalor he witnessed made a strong impression on him. [1] One of his earliest concerns as President was to ease the depressed conditions he had seen and to restore the Appalachian region to economic health. Shortly after taking office, Kennedy appointed a Task Force on Area Redevelopment to deal with the problems of chronic unemployment, unused labor, and low income. The recommendations of the Task Force, published in early January 1961, echoed New Deal proposals of 30 years before: emergency public works programs in depressed areas of the Nation and development of these areas' natural resources.

Figure 99.—Local unemployed workers applying for forestry jobs under the Federal Accelerated Public Works (APW) Program in the Tusquitee Ranger District office, Nantahala National Forest, in Murphy, Cherokee County, N.C., in January 1963. APW ran for 2 years and led to the myriad programs of the Economic Opportunity Act. (Forest Service photo F-503999)

Appalachia Is Rediscovered

The year 1960 thus marked the beginning of a national rediscovery of Appalachia that directed billions of Federal dollars to improving the area. Specifically, the Kennedy Task Force identified nearly 100 Appalachian "depressed areas," classified by the Department of Labor as having a "labor surplus, substantial and persistent," and between 300 and 400 rural, low-income areas where Federal funds might be concentrated. The Task Force report recommended that a commission be established for the 11-State Appalachian region to tackle special area development problems. Although most of these recommendations were not translated into Federal action until the presidency of Lyndon B. Johnson, John F. Kennedy redirected national attention and concern to the region. [2] He appointed an advisory commission in 1963.

In 1960 the Appalachian region certainly deserved national attention. Since World War II, as its agriculture and coal industry failed to keep pace with national trends, its population was increasingly unemployed and poor. By 1960, the region's employment, income, and educational levels were well below the national averages. Although the State of West Virginia represented one of the worst concentrations of regional poverty, Appalachian Kentucky, Virginia, Tennessee, North Carolina, and Georgia also suffered severe underemployment and income inequities.

As discussed in some detail in chapter VI, the Southern Appalachian region had been experiencing heavy outmigration for two decades. At the same time, human fertility rates were declining, so that by 1960 the natural rate of increase (births minus deaths per 1,000 population) was not enough to offset the population losses from net outmigration. Not only was population declining, but relatively more was age 65 or older. Throughout the southern mountains, more and more people were leaving their farms for urban and suburban areas. However, retailing and manufacturing firms could not absorb the extra labor, and unemployment rose, In 1960, the unemployment rate of Appalachia was nearly twice the national average. [3]

By whatever statistic it was measured, the poverty of the region was glaring. In the counties of Kentucky, Virginia, North Carolina, Tennessee, and Georgia defined by the Appalachian Regional Commission to be part of "Appalachia," poverty was reflected in per capita income figures, poverty level statistics, infant mortality rates, and school enrollments. Four such measures are presented in table 9.

Table 9.—Four poverty indicators in the Appalachian Mountain sections of five Southern States, circa 1960

Per capita
income as
percentage of U.S.
Percentage of
below poverty
per 1,000—1960
Percentage of
persons 16-17
not enrolled in

United States 100 22.1 26.0 19.1

Appalachian Kentucky 49 58.4 30.9 33.0

Appalachian Virginia 55 24.4 31.0 33.1

Appalachian Tennessee 70 39.9 27.7 27.9

Appalachian North Carolina 75 37.2 26.8 25.6

Appalachian Georgia 70 38.5 29.1 28.0

Source: Compiled from Appalachia—A Reference Book (Appalachian Regional Commission, February 1979).

The table shows that, by all four measures, the people of the Southern Appalachians in 1960 were poorer, less healthy, and less well educated than the national average. This was especially true in Appalachian Kentucky where per capita income was only half the U.S. average, and nearly three times the national percentage of families were below poverty level. The infant mortality rate, as an indicator of general health conditions, was highest in Appalachian Virginia and Kentucky, which also had the most 16- and 17-year-olds not enrolled in school. Thus, the statistics confirm that, in general, conditions in the coal counties were the most severe, although throughout the region poverty was markedly worse than the national average.

These conditions were examined more closely for the 12 study counties selected for detailed analysis and introduced in chapter VI. Five poverty indicators available from 1960 Census data are presented for the 12 counties in table 10. On a county-by-county basis, the greatest discrepancies in the data appear between the Cumberland Plateau coal counties of McCreary and Knox in Kentucky, and Hancock, in Tennessee, as a group, and the remaining mountain counties. In 1960, these three had by far the lowest income of the 12 and the most families below poverty level. Also, along with Union County, Ga., they had the most on public assistance and, along with Graham County, N.C., the fewest earning $10,000 a year or more.

Table 10.—Five poverty indicators in 12 selected Southern Appalachian counties, circa 1960

High proportion of National Forest Little or no National Forest
Poverty Indicator Union, Ga. Graham, N.C. Macon, N.C. Unicoi, Tenn. McCreary, Ky. Bland, Va. Six-county weighed average* Habersham, Ga. Ashe, N.C. Henderson, N.C. Hancock, Tenn. Knox, Ky. Buchanan, Va. Six-county weighed average*
Per capita income—$ 768 770 870 1,127 481 836 809 1,104 759 1355 516 594 844 862
Percentage of families below poverty level 67.1 58.0 56.2 39.6 71.5 56.2 58.1 35.5 60.9 35.5 78.0 70.5 50.2 55.1
Percentage of population receiving public assistance** 8.8 5.9 3.0 5.1 13.3 Under 1.0 6.3 5.3 7.7 2.3 8.7 11.7 2.3 5.4
Percentage of families with incomes of $10,000 or more 3.1 1.9 3.8 3.7 0.9 1.7 2.7 3.5 2.1 6.4 1.2 1.7 3.8 3.7
Percentage of population 65 years or older 10.2 7.6 10.7 9.1 9.0 8.8 9.4 8.3 10.2 11.8 8.7 9.7 4.0 8.6

*For percent of families below poverty level, averages are unweighted.

**1964 recipients as a percent of 1960 population.

Source: U.S. Bureau of the Census, City and County Data Book (Washington: Government Printing Office, 1962, 1967).

L. E. Perry has painted a more explicit picture of conditions in 1960 in McCreary County, representative of the Cumberland Plateau in Kentucky, which has a high percentage of National Forest land:

The county was not the best in economic stability (it never seems to be) nor was it the worst. But the general welfare of the people was disturbing. . . . There were the same crucial and urgent problems. 49% of all homes had no running water; 65% of the homes had no bathrooms; 75% had no central heat; 33% of the homes were on dirt roads. Hundreds of unsightly, unsanitary and uncomfortable houses dotted the landscape. The problems of housing and what to do about it was one to stagger the imagination. . . . [sic.]

Surplus food distribution was not only a way of life it was life for much of the population, not unlike the never-to-be-forgotten days of the great depression.

The slump in coal production in the 1950s persisted; the war-time factories no longer beckoned. Unemployment was at a high rate. Would poverty never perish in McCreary County? [4]

A comparison of the six study counties with a high proportion of National Forest land and those with little or no National Forest suggests that the former group fared worse in 1960—but only slightly so. The averages computed for each set of counties are generally close, with only several percentage points between them, except for a larger difference in the percent of population earning $10,000 or more. It is noteworthy that within each group of counties—and excluding the Cumberland coal counties—the differences are considerable. For example, Unicoi and Union Counties, with 43 and 47 percent, respectively, of their land in National Forests in 1960, showed a difference of 32 percent in per capita income. Similarly, Henderson and Ashe Counties, with only an 8 percent difference in National Forest land ownership in 1960, had a 44 percent difference in per capita income.

Thus, it appears that in 1960, although the six counties with a higher proportion of land in National Forests were generally poorer, had a higher percentage of people dependent on public assistance, and a higher percentage of people 65 or older than the six counties with a low percentage of National Forest ownership, these differences were relatively small. These differences were not so great as those within the two sets of counties studied and across the subregions of the Southern Appalachians. Thus, it cannot fairly be determined from this sample whether a high proportion of National Forest land depressed local social and economic conditions. Certainly, poverty conditions cannot be attributed to Federal landownership alone, if, indeed, to any degree at all.

The first emergency employment project for distressed areas to be implemented under President Kennedy was the Accelerated Public Works Program (APW) which operated nationwide during the 1962 and 1963 fiscal years under a $900-million authorization of the Clark-Blatnik Emergency Public Works Acceleration Act enacted September 14, 1962. Funds were allocated by the Area Redevelopment Administration in the Department of Commerce. During the 2 years, a peak force of 9,000 men worked on a multitude of projects on 100 National Forests, advanced with $60,800,000 of allotted funds, many in the Southern Appalachians. (See table 11.) Work included picnic and camp recreation and sanitary facilities, timber stand improvement, wildlife and fish habitat improvement, roads and trails, erosion control, and fire towers, ranger offices, warehouses, and other structures. Among the latter were a new office for the Morehead Ranger District, Daniel Boone National Forest, Ky., and construction of research facilities for water runoff measurement at the Coweeta Hydrologic Laboratory near Franklin, N.C., in the Nantahala National Forest. [5] The APW Program led to the numerous special work programs of the Johnson Administration which developed out of the Economic Opportunity Act of 1964.

Table 11.—Allocations of funds to National Forests in the Southern Appalachians under the Accelerated Public Works Program, 1962-64

1962-63 allocations
total: 32,500,000
1963-64 allocations
total: 28,300,000

Area First Second Third First Second

All National Forests 15,000,000 10,000,000 7,500,000 20,255,000 8,045,000
Southern Appalachian Forests 980,000 1,700,000 NA 2,435,000 NA
Chattahoochee and Oconee (Georgia) 200,000 410,000 NA 600,000 NA
Cherokee (Tennessee) 180,000 300,000 NA 285,000 NA
Daniel Boone (Kentucky) 350,000 145,000 NA 545,000 NA
Jefferson (Virginia) 50,000 260,000 NA 485,000 NA
Pisgah, Nantahala, Uwharrie, and Croatan (North Carolina) 200,000 485,000 NA 520,000 NA

Note: NA = Not available
Total Funds, 1962-64, all National Forests: $60,800,000
Funds listed include amounts tot States for tree planting

Source: Accelerated Public Works file, History Section, Forest Service

The Federal War on Appalachian Poverty

When Lyndon B. Johnson became President in 1963, he turned Kennedy's concern with poverty and unemployment into a crusade: a "War on Poverty." Over the next 5 years, a proliferation of governmental agencies and programs was created to combat the nation's economic ills. The Southern Appalachians were "rediscovered," and a substantial share of Federal program money was provided for the region's development. [6] As L. E. Perry put it:

Every big gun was pointed toward Appalachia and there were dozens of them in the armies of agencies recruited to fight poverty. There was an Accelerated Public Works Program and the Area Redevelopment Administration with numerous projects to disperse the federal benefits. Another division was called Manpower Development and Training Act. Only the bureaucrats knew the meaning of that. There was action in the Department of Health, Education and Welfare, and the mighty Agriculture Department. The Appalachian Road Program was pushed forward and the Forest Service revived a nearly dead land acquisition program. Even the Kentucky Department of Economic Security was in the midst of this war. Every conceivable maneuver, it seemed, was anticipated, and covered by some sort of program or plan at the local, State or federal level.

But the top brass was that of the Office of Economic Opportunity. Here was the command post of such powerful agencies as Head Start, Neighborhood Youth Corps, Job Corps, Vista, Unemployed Fathers (Happy Pappy) and others. If poverty could not be eliminated, this war would make it more enjoyable. [7]

The Economic Opportunity Act of 1964 created many of the most visible programs throughout Appalachia, [8] incorporating several antipoverty approaches. The Act established a series of unconnected programs under the Office of Economic Opportunity (OEO). These included: Community Action Programs, Job Corps, Neighborhood Youth Corps, VISTA (Volunteers In Service To America), Summer Head Start, and the Work Experience and Training Program. In fiscal years 1967 and 1968 alone, OEO spent nearly $225 million in Virginia, Kentucky, Tennessee, North Carolina, and Georgia, mostly on Community Action Programs, but much on Head Start and Job Corps also. VISTA, although more publicized, received only 2 percent of OEO funds for 1967 and 1968 in the five States. [9]

Another visible OEO program in Appalachia was President Johnson's Work Experience and Training Program, operated by the Department of Labor. It provided on-the-job training for unemployed fathers of dependent children who would otherwise receive AFDC (Aid to Families with Dependent Children) payments. Popularly known as the "Happy Pappy" program, it was very active in eastern Kentucky, where it at first inspired enthusiasm. In 1965 William McKinley Sizemore, mountain resident of Knox County, Ky., volunteered the following folk song about the Happy Pappy program:

Mr. Johnson put me to working
When he signed that little bill
Since I've become important
It gives me a thrill
The neighbors hushed their talking
That I was no good
Since I'm a happy pappy
They treat me like they should. [10]

However, although for some mountaineers this program may have made Lyndon Johnson the favorite President since Roosevelt, it soon brought on widespread cynicism and disillusionment. By 1967, even before the Nixon administration, funds for the program were severely cut back. [11]

VISTA and most other OEO programs suffered similar fates. Basically, they were criticized for being naively and expensively staffed by people with grand ideas but little practical experience. OEO was repeatedly charged with spending dollars to "fatten middle-class staffs as assistant directors and executive secretaries proliferate." [12] Part of the failure of VISTA, it was claimed, rested with Appalachian Volunteers, Inc., (AV) an organization of about 30 persons supported almost entirely by OEO grants, which managed VISTA initiatives. AV, it was charged, lacked management skill and was generally not cost-effective, [13] (Of the 12 study counties, only Knox, McCreary, Hancock, and Macon received any VISTA funds.) [14]

Job Corps Proves Itself

One of the few OEO programs that survived the 1960's relatively uncriticized was Job Corps, which grew out of a recommendation of the 1961 Kennedy Task Force and was still going strong 20 years later. A supplemental appropriation to the Forest Service was recommended for timber stand improvement, control of erosion, and development of recreation facilities on National Forests in distressed areas, many of which were in the Southern Appalachians. [15] One of the main aims, as with the CCC, was to create jobs to absorb the unused young labor of such areas.

This recommendation was translated into Job Corps during Lyndon Johnson's presidency by the Economic Opportunity Act of 1964, funded in the Department of Labor. Job Corps was intended to provide intensive educational and vocational training in group settings for disadvantaged youth so that they might become responsible and productive, and to do so in a way that contributed to national resource development. [16] Certain Job Corps camps were to be operated by the Forest Service as Civilian Conservation Centers under an inter-agency agreement with the Department of Labor. As L. E. Perry said, ". . . Job Corps was the new baby the Forest Service had long wanted but could not afford until the OEO stork arrived." [17] The first Job Corps center to be activated in the United States, Camp Arrow Wood, opened in the Nantahala National Forest near the town of Franklin, Macon County, N.C., early in 1965. (It was renamed Lyndon B. Johnson after his death.) Five other camps opened later that year throughout the Southern Appalachians. Most were old CCC camps, remodeled and made habitable by the Corpsmen themselves. The six Southern Appalachian Job Corps (Civilian Conservation) centers still active in 1982 are listed below.

Table 12.—Civilian Conservation Centers* in National Forests of the Southern Appalachians, 1980 and 1982

National Forest Camp Trainee Capacity

Fiscal year 1980 Fiscal year 1982

Nantahala, N. C. Lyndon B. Johnson (formerly Arrow Wood) 205 205
Pisgah, N. C. Schenck 224 224
Cherokee, Tenn. Jacobs Creek 200 224
Jefferson, Va. Flatwoods 224 224
Daniel Boone, Ky. Pine Knot 224 224

Frenchburg 224 168

*Originally called Job Corps Centers

Source: Harold Debord, Human Resource Programs, Southern Regional Office, Forest Service, Atlanta, Ga.

The purpose of Job Corps was to transfer disadvantaged, primarily urban, youths to new environments where they would receive vocational training, education, and counseling. The Corpsmen who were sent to the Southern Appalachian centers were predominantly urban and black. When Job Corps began, the introduction of several hundred black youths into a previously all-white mountain community caused some problems. In some locations, it was difficult to integrate the Corpsmen into the surrounding communities as easily as had been hoped.

Figure 100—New Stearns Ranger District office and modern sign, with Rangers Andrew Griffith and Herbert Staidle by official car in front, on State route 27, Daniel Boone National Forest. Ky., in July 1966. Name of Forest had just been changed from Cumberland in April. (Forest Service photo F-515412)

For example, a 1966 review of community attitudes toward the Schenck Job Corps Conservation Center located in the Pisgah National Forest showed some local reluctance to welcome the men. Although nearby Hendersonville had invited them to visit certain prearranged, select sites, the town would not send its representatives to the camp, "not wishing to have their presence [in general] or deal with their problems. This has been made formally clear." [18] The small town of Brevard, only a few miles from the camp, was felt to offer little for the urban youth. Asheville, where they were bussed regularly, seemed to know little about the camp. The Asheville police were said to "regard the influx [of Corpsmen] in a most informal manner, looking the other way when small disturbances occur." [19]

The worst Job Corps problems in the Southern Appalachians were at Arrow Wood. In 1965, after a busload of Corpsmen arrived in Franklin, N. C., for a summer evening, violence erupted between them and some local ruffians. According to the Camp's first director, although local youths had caused disturbances with outsiders before, this evening's melee was unprecedented. Police stopped the violence, and many local boys spent the night in jail. After that evening, policies changed; the number of Corpsmen bussed into Franklin was kept to a minimum. [20]

Fortunately, such racial disturbances were not widespread. Camps near towns larger than Franklin had less difficulty. For example, Jacobs Creek Center near Bristol, on the Tennessee-Virginia line, experienced no such problems. It seems that Bristol, a bi-State city of 55,000, with a black population of its own, was better able to absorb the Corpsmen. [21]

The Pine Knot Job Corps Center, which opened in McCreary County in 1965, likewise experienced no racial difficultures. L. E. Perry wrote of its establishment:

At first the government officials were apprehensive about the possible racial consequences of establishing the training center in the area of McCreary County since it would recruit a majority of young blacks. After several local civic group meetings in the county, and with considerable preconditioning statements, it was generally implied that no more than 50% of the trainees would be of the minority class.

The local people for the most part have no preconceived ideas about racial discrimination and they refused to act violently. Within a few years the Center was almost 100% made up of black youths in training with a staff that was 100% white. The Forest Service hierarchy was pleased at the non-violent acceptance of the blacks by the citizens and privately and gleefully congratulated one another for integrating McCreary County without conflict. [22]

Over the years, Job Corps has improved the National Forests of the Southern Appalachians in much the way the Civilian Conservation Corps did 30 years before—with road construction, construction of recreational facilities, soil erosion control, reforestation, and timber stand improvement. For example, the ranger station and the visitor center of the Cradle of Forestry in Pisgah National Forest were built by the Schenck Job Corpsmen. [23]

Some of the Corps work has benefited local communities as well as the forests. In 1979, for example, the Pine Knot Job Corps unit rebuilt the McCreary County Little League baseball field, constructed a backstop and chain-link fence for the McCreary County Park, and supplied umpires for local Little League games. [24] Job Corps centers have also provided employment for local residents, either through the construction of facilities for the centers or through staff positions. For example, in 1979 the Frenchburg Job Corps center in the Daniel Boone Forest employed between 30 and 40 persons from Powell, Montgomery, Menifee, and Bath counties on construction contracts, and employed 22 persons full time and 8 persons part time as center staff members, also from adjacent counties. The Center director estimated that 70 percent of Frenchburg's nearly $1 million operating budget was spent in the five-county area surrounding the center. [25]

Figure 101.—Classroom instruction in basics for Job Corpsmen at Schenck Conservation Center near "Cradle of Forestry" on Pisgah National Forest near Brevard, N.C., in August 1966. (Forest Service photo F-516105)

Other Programs Benefit Local Labor

The other Human Resource Programs administered by the Forest Service have had a more direct impact on the local labor market in the Southern Appalachians. The Youth Conservation Corps (YCC) and Senior Conservation Employment Program, both initiated in 1971, have provided employment in the National Forests for local youths and elders. YCC has operated summer camps for male and female youths 15 to 18, enrolling as many as 1,200 persons per year in the Southern Appalachians. Although YCC youths are not necessarily local, the locals who do enroll often are children of business and professional leaders in the community. [26] YCC campers have built trails, planted trees, developed campgrounds, and surveyed land throughout the Appalachian forests. In 1981 YCC was reduced but continued on a revised basis.

The Senior Conservation (older American) Employment Program has provided work at minimum wage for over 500 elderly folk in the National Forests of the southern mountains. They have been local men and women 55 or older, with no income except Social Security or small pensions, performing odd construction and repair jobs. The program has been considered highly successful in involving the local population in Forest Service activities, and in furthering rapport with the local community. [27]

The Young Adult Conservation Corps (YACC), begun in 1977, is the most recent Human Resource Program. It has provided employment at minimum wage for a 1-year maximum to local men and women between 16 and 23 years old. Unlike Job Corps and YCC, persons in YACC lived at home; mostly on the fringes of the National Forests. In 1979, nearly 500 persons were employed in YACC in the Southern Appalachian National Forests—including 112 in the Daniel Boone alone. [28] In 1981 this program was terminated by the new administration in Washington in an economy move.

Figure 102.—Job Corps trainees on way to morning classroom and field work assignments at Schenck Conservation Center, Pisgah National Forest near Brevard, N.C., August 1966. (Forest Service photo F-516130)

The Appalachian Regional Commission

In 1965 President Lyndon Johnson secured passage of the Appalachian Regional Development Act, which created the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC). [29] A study commission, originally recommended by the Kennedy Task Force, had already been in operation for 2 years under presidential appointment. Under the leadership of Franklin D. Roosevelt, Jr., the President's Appalachian Regional Commission (PARC) had conducted several analyses of the region, and had formulated the commission's essential approach to regional development. [30]

The main problems of Appalachia were defined by PARC as a lack of access both to and within the region, a technological inability to use its natural resources fully, a lack of facilities to control and exploit its rainfall, and inadequate resources to train its youth. [31] Thus, regional development was to focus on a new and improved highway network; public facilities; resource development programs for water, timber, and coal; and on human resource programs. Specifically in regard to the Appalachian timber resource, PARC viewed the region's timber as underutilized and undermarketed, and recommended that increased timber harvesting would not only provide local jobs, but would also improve conditions for recreation, wildlife, and water production.

The Appalachian Regional Commission, created in March 1965, consisted of the governors of 12 Southeastern and Northeastern States (the 13th State, non-Appalachian Mississippi, was added in 1967) and one presidential appointee. The Commission was to coordinate the administration of a great new Federal-State funding effort for Appalachian development. Although most supporting funds would be Federal, the burden of the responsibility for project initiation, decisionmaking, and program administration was delegated to the States. In this delegation, ARC represented a new approach to regional rehabilitation efforts.

The Commission defined "Appalachia" as a vast 195,000-square mile region of 397 counties, including all of West Virginia and parts of 12 other States from New York to Mississippi. On the assumption that Appalachia, as "a region apart," lacked access to the Nation's economic system, and that correcting this defect was basic to the entire program, the main initial thrust of the commission's development effort was to improve the region's system of highways. In fact, more than 80 percent of the first ARC billion-dollar appropriation was for a Development Highway System, the money to be spent over 6 years. [32] Among the improvements resulting were the Foothills Parkway along the Tennessee side of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the Tennessee portion of the Tellico Plains-Robbinsville Highway across the Smokies south of the Park, and the Bert T. Combs Mountain Parkway from Winchester to Salyersville, Ky., through the Red River Gorge. Other public works investments were planned, but human resource development was left to the poverty programs administered under OEO, and even natural resource development was regulated to low priority, as Robb Burlage described it:

The Act [Appalachian Regional Development Act] explicitly forbade use of public funds to purchase or support public power and ignored most direct agency resource development and administrative powers. Water resources were given to the Congressional (and private power company) favorite, the Army Corps of Engineers, to study and plan with the states for five years. Timber, livestock, and mineral development programs were whittled away. Environmental control over coal was narrowed to a few restoration and study efforts. [33]

ARC funds were to be concentrated in those areas of the region that had fared relatively well during times of economic distress and thus showed a potential for self-sustaining growth. The highway network would connect all such growth areas, and provide access to them from the surrounding labor fields. Jerald Ter Horst said there was "a hint of economic predestination" in ARC's development premise: "the belief that many economically weak towns and counties do not have the potential to become thriving, prosperous centers of population." [34] When eastern Kentucky newspaper editor Tom Gish saw an ARC development map in December 1964, showing only white space for his area, he labeled it "Eastern Kentucky's White Christmas." [35]

Figure 103.—Job Corpsman receiving instruction in operating heavy road building equipment from officer of Pisgah National Forest, N.C., in August 1966. (Forest Service photo F-516209)

Local Development Districts

For administrative purposes, the States divided their Appalachian regions into local development districts (LDD's), of which there were 69 in 1980. LDD's are multicounty planning and development agencies organized around urban growth centers. For example, the Southwest North Carolina LDD encompasses Cherokee, Clay, Macon, Graham, Swain, Jackson, and Haywood Counties. LDD's receive administrative support funding from ARC but operate differently from State to State. Projects are often initiated and administered LDD wide, although others are restricted to one county or encompass several LDD's.

The programs funded through the Appalachian Regional Commission have been administered through a series of existing governmental agencies, often co-sponsored by them. ARC developed working relationships with a number of Federal agencies active in the region; for example, the Environmental Protection Agency and the Rural Development and Soil Conservation Services of the Department of Agriculture. Although ARC's relationship with the Forest Service has been less formalized than those with other Federal agencies, there has been communication between the two on certain initiatives and policy issues. The commission has funded a series of resource and environmental programs, primarily in mine subsidence, land stabilization, and mine reclamation, There have been timber development programs as well, although very localized and small in scale; this is discussed further on. ARC has funded, through the Forest Service Regional Office in Atlanta, several associations of landowners for the purpose of private timber development. In 1980 one was operative in a five-county area around Catlettsburg, Ky. [36]

Figure 104.—Cinder blocks for new office building of Stanton (formerly Red River) Ranger District being laid by Job Coops trainee in June 1967. The men on this project were from the Frenchburg Civilian Conservation Center, near the Red River Gorge and the confluence of Menifee, Powell, and Wolfe counties, on the Daniel Boone National Forest, Ky. (Forest Service photo F-519122)

ARC Is Criticized For Falling the Poor

Between 1966 and 1978, the Appalachian Regional Commission spent more than $3.5 billion for the region's economic development. [37] Although the Commission has cited numerous successful projects, critics—from the U.S. General Accounting Office (GAO) to local spokesmen, such as Robb Burlage and John Gaventa—have been vocal. In essence, they charged that ARC has failed to reach the region's critically poor, and that "improvement" has benefited only the local elites or the already urbanized areas of Appalachia. Over 60 percent of ARC's funds have gone into highway building or improvement. [38] Of the remaining funds that have been dispensed, most have bypassed the hard-core, neediest Appalachian communities. Several have suggested that to be truly responsive, ARC should have recognized Appalachia's status as an internal colony by taxing the coal and resource extraction industries, fostering the development of public power, and encouraging greater local citizen participation in the Commission's expenditure decisions, [39]

The General Accounting Office, in an April 1979 report to Congress, was more specific in its criticisms. In essence, the GAO found that, (1) the fundamental goals of ARC were not completely clear; (2) ARC State-planning efforts were politically oriented, fragmentary, and inadequate; (3) specific time frames for the accomplishment of the Commission's long term goals had not been established; (4) often areas with the least severe poverty and employment problems had received the highest average ARC funds per capita; and (5) that funding and program status had frequently not been adequately monitored. [40]

The report specifically focused on the Kentucky River Area Development District of central eastern Kentucky, which includes Leslie, Perry, Knott, Owsley, Breathitt, Wolfe, and Lee counties—most of which are in the area of this study. The GAO concluded that, in spite of concentrated investments of nearly $23 million in the district, and in spite of the district's percentage increase in per-capita income greater than the national average, the incidence of poverty worsened for the district between 1960 and 1970. Thus, the GAO questioned "whether the goal of economic self-sufficiency is feasible or realistic in this and perhaps other parts of Central Appalachia." [41]

Out of the more than $3.5 billion in ARC funds expended between 1966 and 1980, slightly more than $230 million were spent for single counties over the 84-county area considered in this study. [42] For four of the five States involved—Kentucky, Tennessee, North Carolina, and Georgia—ARC funds were spent fairly evenly on a per-county basis. The Virginia counties, however, received about twice the per-county ARC funds (over $4.6 million) as did the others.

Counties that received the most ARC funds individually (more than $6 million) over the 84-county area are listed below.

Table 13—Southern Appalachian counties receiving most ARC funds, 1966-80

Wise County, Va. $13,029,646
Whitfield County, Ga. 10,530,783
Buncombe County, N.C. 7,362,167
Scott County, Va. 6,859,172
Tazewell County, Va. 6,816,041
Bell County, Ky. 6,766,902
Harlan County, Ky. 6,722,624
Dickenson County, Va. 6,420,717

Source: ARC Funds by County, Joe Cerniglia, Appalachian Regional Commission, Washington, D.C.

With the exception of Buncombe and Whitfield Counties, the above list is composed of coal counties, none of which has a high proportion of National Forest land. It is noteworthy that Buncombe County, where Asheville is located, received a relatively large share of ARC funds, an indication that development efforts were often concentrated in areas with an exhibited potential for growth.

For the 12 Southern Appalachian counties selected for detailed analysis in this report, a total of $23,438,631 in ARC funds were spent from the Commission's beginning through March 25, 1980. The breakdown of these expenditures and the expenditures per capita are shown in table 14. The difference in expenditures on county projects between the selected group of counties with large areas of National Forests and the selected group with no National Forests is clear. The latter received more than four times as much ARC funds as the National-Forest counties, although the group had only about twice the population. For example, Bland County got no funds at all, and Graham got less than $500,000, while Hancock County, with about the same small population, got $1.3 million. Thus, in terms of ARC funds per capita provided at the county level, the counties without National Forests fared about twice as well.

Table 14.—Total and per capita funds allotted by Appalachian Regional Commission to 12 selected Southern Appalachian counties, 1980

County and
Total ARC funds
as of March 25, 1980
as of July 1, 1975
ARC funds
per capita

High proportion of National Forest
Union, Ga. $ 633,163 8,110 $ 78,07
Graham, N.C. 481,700* 6,641 72.53
Macon, N.C. 1,389,079 18,163 76,49
Unicoi, Tenn. 725,756 15,702 46.22
McCreary, Ky. 820,570 14,342 57.21
Bland, Va. none 5,596 none

Total $ 4,050,268 68,554 $ 59.08

Little or no National Forest
Habersham, Ga. $ 1,458,124 23,128 $ 63.05
Ashe, N.C. 1,853,312 20,211 91.70
Henderson, N.C. 4,684,722 48,647 96.30
Hancock, Tenn. 1,353,806 6,486 208.73
Knox, Ky. 4,795,525 26,713 179.52
Buchanan, Va. 5,242,874 34,582 151.61

Total $19,388,363 159,767 $121.35

1No funds allotted, 1973-80
Source: Appalachian Regional Commission data sheets, "Financial information for all Projects by county." Courtesy of Joe Cerniglia, ARC, Washington, D.C.

Of the 12 study counties, those that have received the most funds per capita are the predominantly coal counties—Hancock, Knox, and Buchanan. Here the funds have been spent diversely. The most costly ARC project in Hancock County was an access road between Morristown and Rogersville; Buchanan County received $2 million for construction of the Buchanan General Hospital; in Knox County, ARC funds were spent for an industrial park access road, the Union College Science Center building, and numerous smaller projects, ranging from an industrial park rail siding to an emergency radio communications network. Although such expenditures have probably contributed to the counties' wellbeing, they do not appear to have been aimed at the hard-cord victims of coal mining. (For all 12 study-area counties, about one-fifth of the total ARC funds were spent on roads and over one-quarter on vocational education.)

For the six counties with a high proportion of land in National Forests, McCreary and Graham are typical. Most of McCreary's $820,570 ARC funds went to the McCreary County High School vocational education department in 1974. In 1976, over $250,000 were spent on the McCreary County Park. Graham County's ARC funds also went largely for a vocational education facility, although a sewage treatment facility and solid waste disposal program were also funded. Graham County received no direct ARC funds between 1973 and 1980.

This assessment of the impact of both the ARC programs and the various anti-poverty programs initiated under OEO on the Southern Appalachians is neither clearcut nor exhaustive. However, an examination of changes in certain poverty indicators over time suggests that noticeable improvement has occurred. Table 15 presents changes from 1960 to 1970, 1975 or 1976 for the four poverty indicators shown earlier over the five Southern Appalachian States.

Table 15.—Changes in four poverty indicators for the Appalachian Mountain sections of five southern states, 1960-76

Area Per capita
as percentage
of U.S. average
of households
poverty level
mortality rate:
deaths per
Percentage of
persons aged 16-17
not enrolled
in school
1965 1976 1960 1970 1960 1975 1960 1970
United States 100 100 22.1 13.7 26.0 16.1 19.1 10.7
Appalachian Kentucky 49 68 58.4 38.8 30.9 17.1 33.0 25.3
Appalachian Virginia 55 75 24.4 0.4 31.0 21.6 33.1 17.5
Appalachian Tennessee 70 79 39.9 22.4 27.7 15.8 27.9 19.0
Appalachia North Carolina 75 84 37.2 18.8 26.8 19.1 25.6 17.1
Appalachian Georgia 70 77 38.5 16.9 29.1 16.4 28.0 25.3

Source: Compiled from Appalachia—A Reference Book, Appalachian Regional Commission, February 1979, pp. 56, 66, 74, and 77.

For all States, all indicators show an improvement over time, although in the 1970's the region still lagged behind much of the Nation. The most dramatic improvements in per capita income were for Appalachian Kentucky and Virginia—the poorest areas in 1960. Although they were still the poorest in 1976, per-capita income in those States was much closer to the regional average. Other noteworthy changes include an overall drop in the infant mortality rate closer to the national average (the Appalachian Tennessee rate was actually below national average), and a considerable decrease in the percent of families below poverty level. Although the number of persons 16-17 not enrolled in school decreased between 1960 and 1970, the percentage change was not as large as that for the Nation as a whole.

For the 12 study counties, changes in poverty indicators over the decade of the 1960's were typical of those across the Southern Appalachians, but appear greater for the counties with much area in National Forest than for those with little or no national forest land, as shown in table 16. In 1960, the six counties with a high proportion of national-forest land appeared to be poorer than their counterparts with little or no national-forest land; by 1970, there is a suggestion that the reverse was true.

Table 16—Changes in four poverty indicators for 12 selected Southern Appalachian counties, 1960-74

High proportion of National Forest Little or no National Forest
Union, Ga. Graham, N.C. Macon, N.C. Unicoi, Tenn. McCreary, Ky. Bland, Va. Six-County weighted average* Habersham, Ga. Ashe, N.C. Henderson, N.C. Hancock, Tenn. Knox, Ky. Buchanan, Va. Six-County weighted average*
768 770 870 1,127 481 836 809 1,104 759 1,355 516 594 844 862 1960> Per capita income—$
2,853 2,880 2,922 3,165 1,915 2,977 2,785 3,256 2,816 3,814 1,827 2,278 3,496 2,915 1974
67.1 58.0 56.2 39.6 71.5 56.2 58.1 35.5 60.9 35.5 78.0 70.5 50.2 55.1 1960 Percentage
of families
poverty level
35.4 24.8 24.9 19.8 53.7 20.0 29.8 16.5 28.0 19.9 55.5 48.4 27.2 32.6 1969
8.8 5.9 3.0 5.1 13.3 <1.0 6.2 5.3 7.7 2.3 8.7 11.7 2.3 6.3 1960 Percentage
of population
4.8 1.0 <1.0 4.1 8.4 1.0 3.2 1.6 3.1 0.9 8.5 9.9 6.3 5.1 1972
10.2 7.6 10.7 9.1 9.0 8.8 9.2 8.3 10.2 11.8 8.7 9.7 4.0 8.8 1960 Percentage
of population
65 years or
13.7 12.4 17.0 12.5 10.3 11.2 12.9 10.2 13.5 16.1 12.8 11.7 6.4 11.8 1970

*For percentage of families below poverty level, averages are unweighted.
Source: U.S. Bureau of the Census, County and City Data Book, (Washington: Government Printing Office, 1967, 1972, and 1977).

Although the six counties without National Forests had a higher average per capita income in 1974, the difference between the two groups of counties analyzed had closed from 6 percent to 4 percent since 1960. Furthermore, by the end of the 1960's, the counties with little or no National Forest had a greater percentage of families below poverty level (a reverse of the situation in 1960) and a higher percentage of people receiving public assistance. Indeed, in Buchanan County, with no National Forest, although the population dropped from 36,724 to 32,071 between 1960 and 1970, the number of people receiving AFDC payments increased between 1964 and 1972 from 837 to 2,009. Again, the predominantly coal counties appeared the poorest counties in both groups, in spite of signs of relative improvement. McCreary, Knox, and Hancock Counties, in particular—one of which has over half its land in National Forest, the other two having little or none—ranked low according to all the poverty indices. All 12 study counties experienced a uniform increase in the proportion aged 65 or older. Such a change suggests a continued trend in the outmigration of the younger population and, for some counties, an inmigration of persons of retirement age.

Table 17 summarizes changes in net migration rates from the 12 study counties from 1960 to 1975. The data indicate that between 1960 and 1970, although the rate had slowed from the previous decade, net outmigration from most of the counties was still considerable. The coal counties of Buchanan, Hancock, Knox, and McCreary continued to experience the greatest outmigration losses, with Bland and Graham Counties close behind.

Table 17.—Changes in net migration for 12 selected Southern Appalachian counties, 1960-70 and 1970-75

High proportion of National Forest Little or no National Forest
Union Graham Macon Unicoi McCreary Bland Habersham Ashe Henderson Hancock Knox Buchanan
1960-70 -4.2 -11.8 -0.3 -7.9 -13.3 13.2 2.2 -9.9 9.4 -21.4 -16.7 -30.2
1970-75 13.9 -4.4 14.0 -0.4 9.7 0.1 7.5 0.5 12.5 -5.4 6.6 -1.6

Source: U.S. Bureau of the Census, County and City Data Book (Washington: Government Printing Office, 1967, 1972, and 1977).

Between 1970 and 1975, however, all 12 experienced a marked change. In several, net losses changed to net gains; at the very least, the rate of net outmigration dropped. Changes were most dramatic for the coal counties of Buchanan (29 points), Knox (22 points), and McCreary (23 points), although Union, Hancock, and Macon Counties improved by from 14 to 18 percentage points. The magnitude of the migration changes was apparently not related to the proportion of National Forest land. These population shifts will be discussed further in chapter VIII.

New Forest Is Created In Kentucky

One of the major concerns of the President's Appalachian Regional Commission (PARC), created by President Kennedy in 1963, was the development of the timber resource of the Appalachian region. "The timber resource," PARC reviewers felt, "should provide much of the foundation for the renewed economic vigor of the region." [43] However, fragmented ownership proved to be one of the region's most serious timber problems, and "substantial acreages of forest land" in Appalachia were found so depleted as "not likely to be rehabilitated and adequately protected under private ownership." [44] Thus, public ownership of such lands was recommended so that they could be returned to full productivity.

Following the recommendations of Senator Robert C. Byrd of West Virginia and Governor Bert T. Combs of Kentucky, two mountain areas—one bordering the Monongahela National Forest, the other in eastern Kentucky—were studied for National Forest expansion in Appalachia. The area of eastern Kentucky was of about 4 million acres encompassing headwaters of the Cumberland, Kentucky, Licking, and Big Sandy Rivers. PARC recommended acquiring about 1.3 million acres over a 10-year period—not only to meet timber development recommendations but also to further general goals of the President's Commission. [45]

Two years later, PARC's recommendations were realized. In February 1965, Congress created the Redbird Purchase Unit encompassing acreage in Leslie, Clay, Bell, Harlan, Owsley, Perry, and Knox Counties. Land acquisition began almost immediately. In April 1966, Congress renamed the Cumberland National Forest the Daniel Boone National Forest.

As in other parts of the Southern Appalachians before Forest Service acquisition, lands of the Redbird Purchase Unit had been held largely by absentee timber corporations, landholding companies, and mining interests since 1900 or earlier. As such, they had been extensively cut over and mined. [46] Indeed, the Redbird contained some of the most abused land of the whole region. For the most part it was abandoned, and the few residents remaining, either small landholders or tenants, lived in the worst conditions of Appalachian poverty.

The Forest Service had considered this area several times as potential National Forest. Forest examiners had gone to eastern Kentucky in the first years after the passage of the Weeks Act. The area was reexamined during the 1920's, and again in the 1930's. By then, most of the lands had been heavily cut over, and could provide only the most meager existence for the inhabitants. In 1933 Mary Breckenridge, founder of the Frontier Nursing Service in eastern Kentucky, went before the National Forest Reservation Commission to plead for a National Forest in the area. A National Forest, she felt, was the logical land-management choice for the region, not only to preserve and develop the timber resource and provide local employment, but also to prevent disastrous downstream flooding. [47]

Although Mary Breckenridge was well received, and although Forest Service examiners visited the area and expressed strong interest in acquisition, no purchase unit was established. The major reason then, as it was in 1914, was that most of the land was held by timber coal companies whose owners either were unwilling to sell at all or refused to relinquish mining rights to the land until the coal was depleted. [48]

In the 1960's, since much of the land had not only been logged but also mined, the Forest Service was more successful with acquisition. The first tract purchased in the Redbird Unit was of about 60,000 acres from the Red Bird Timber Co. The land, located in Clay, Leslie, Harlan, and Bell Counties, formed the nucleus of the almost 300,000-acre unit. Red Bird Timber had bought the tract from Fordson Coal Co., a Ford Motor Co. subsidiary, in the early 1960's; Fordson had held the land for almost 40 years after buying it from Peabody Coal in 1923. [49]

Although some coal and timber companies were willing to sell to the Forest Service, the unit was not hailed enthusiastically by all of the local population. Indeed, for several weeks running, the Leslie County News lamented the Federal takeover and scorned the benefits that were assured the area. Although acknowledging that Government ownership could improve the land measurably, the paper said that Federal ownership is bad because it irrevocably takes the land away from private ownership. "It is a fact," stated The Politician of the paper, "that once the government does purchase property, it rarely sells it back."

A democracy does have many problems, but government ownership is not a cure all. Nor can it automatically make profitable a venture which has failed, in hands of individuals. The only real difference is that the government can afford to operate anything, anywhere, anytime, because it doesn't have to make a profit. It doesn't have anything invested, except the taxpayers' money. [50]

Certainly, there was not much illusion that land acquisition for the Redbird would directly benefit the local population. As L. E. Perry of McCreary County wrote:

The land acquisition program was expanded into the Appalachia poverty areas, presumably to bring relief to the destitute people of Clay, Leslie and Bell Counties. In reality the drive was for more land area where the corporations and land holding companies needed to unload their cut-over timberlands at a good profit while retaining the rich mineral deposits. It is yet [in 1980] to be determined how the poverty stricken people of the area were helped by this land buying program. [51]

With the purchase of the Red Bird Timber Co. tract, the Forest Service assumed responsibility not only for the land, but also for 115 families who had been tenants of the company on a year-to-year basis. Most of these families lived in substandard housing on remote, unmaintained roads; about 30 percent were estimated to have been receiving welfare payments. The appearance of the mountaineers' homes was dismal; trash and refuse littered the yards; the exteriors of the homes were delapidated. [52]

When the families learned of Forest Service acquisition of their leased land, they raised many questions about the continuity or improvement of their lives. The policy was that, although no one would be forcibly removed from his home, the eventual goal was to relocate all the families. Special-use permits would be issued for continued tenancy and farming, but the Forest Service would not maintain the roads serving the homes and would require "that the permittees clean up the premises and keep them clean." So its policy differed little from that of the Red Bird Corp., except for cleanliness. Here, the Forest Service was "reluctant to condone or continue a practice [freely dumping trash in the yards and in the woods] which is perpetuating a situation which appears to be deplorable." [53]

Throughout the next decade, rangers on the Redbird Unit had continuous problems with some of the inhabitants, such as special-use permits, trash disposal, and incendiary fires. Maintaining a firm but friendly attitude was difficult, even for the most resourceful ranger.

For example, the first ranger on the Redbird Unit tells of his experiences with one particularly stubborn tenant family which had occupied several acres in the Redbird since the days of Fordson Coal Co. Although a tenant of Fordson, the family had persistently filed claims for the property they were occupying, but could never prove their case to obtain a bona fide deed.

When the Government acquired the lands the family was occupying, the second generation of tenants was not content with a special-use permit and continued the fight to own their small tract. They threatened the district ranger with bodily harm, and went so far as to begin construction of building foundations on the tract they occupied. In short, they "interfered with national forest management." Ultimately, the case was settled in Federal court and the family was required to leave the National Forest. Several family members, however, continued for at least 10 years to assert their claim to the land. [54]

Figure 105.—Severely cutover, farmed-out steep slope along dirt road at headwaters of Elk Creek, Clay County, typical of the Redbird Purchase Unit in eastern Kentucky in 1965. The Redbird, which comprises the headwaters of the Kentucky and Cumberland rivers in seven southeastern coal counties, is the Forest Service's most recent Purchase Unit. Note dilapidated houses, abandoned auto. This scene was then typical of this area. Recent strong demand for coal has relieved the depression situation somewhat. (Forest Service photo F-512677)

Weeks Act Purchases Rise Steadily

After the lean years of the Eisenhower Administration, appropriations for Weeks Act purchases increased almost steadily from 1961 until 1967, from $100,000 to $2,480,000. In 1966, more acres were approved for Weeks Act acquisition than had been approved for all the previous 11 years together. [55] Throughout the late 1960's and early 1970's, acquisition in the Redbird Purchase Unit dominated the business of the National Forest Reservation Commission. According to NFRC minutes in 1972, "during the past six years, over one-half of the Weeks Law funds have been concentrated in the Redbird Purchase Unit." [56]

In 1972, the National Forest Reservation Commission approved a 96,061-acre extension to the Redbird Purchase Unit. The extension included land in Owsley and Perry Counties that was "forested although heavily cutover." The Commission felt that Federal acquisition would help protect the area's watersheds and improve the water quality of an existing reservoir in the region. It was projected that acquisition costs would range between $25 and $80 per acre, and that the purchase program would run for about 20. [57] In 1975, the Redbird was still identified as the "major thrust area" for NFRC land purchase. [58]

Most of the tracts purchased in the Redbird were small, ranging between 10 and 300 acres. Larger tracts were the exception, although in 1973 over 9,000 acres were acquired from the Mayne Land and Development Co. [59] From its creation in 1965 until 1978, an average of about 7,500 acres was acquired in the Redbird each year. In 1977 the net acreage of the purchase unit was almost 135,000 acres, In 1981 it was just over 140,000. Prices for land in the Redbird have been far below those in the other Southern Appalachian National Forests. In fiscal year 1977, for example, tracts acquired in the Redbird averaged $85.97 per acre; those in the Nantahala and Pisgah National Forests averaged $441.27 per acre, and those in the Cherokee, $635.22 per acre. [60]

Serious Problem With Mineral Rights

The problem of mineral rights on the lands of eastern Kentucky, which halted efforts to establish a National Forest there 60 years ago, has plagued the Forest Service since the Redbird was established in 1966. Much of the land in the Redbird is covered by the Kentucky broad form deed, which allows strip-mining and gives the deed holder wide freedom with the land. At first the National Forest Reservation Commission was reluctant to purchase lands that had mineral rights outstanding in a third party with a Broad Form Deed. Gradually, however, it was recognized that so much Redbird land was of this type, some would have to be acquired to create a manageable National Forest district.

Thus, many tracts in eastern Kentucky have been purchased with mineral rights held by third parties. The Commission consoled itself with the expectation that, because Kentucky had strengthened its 1954 strip-mining law, the mining would be acceptable. [61] Mineral rights have been separately purchased, where possible, however, to facilitate Forest Service control. For example, in 1971 the National Forest Reservation Commission authorized $10 per acre to purchase the mineral rights to the Fordson Coal Co. lands. [62] Ultimately, of course, the Commission could obtain the mineral rights with the Secretary's condemnation, an option that was entertained more frequently in the 1970's as recreation and wilderness forces collided with mining interests on the Daniel Boone.

Figure 106.—Hillsides scarred by strip and auger coal mining along Beech Fork, Leslie County, Ky., in 1965. A common sight then in Redbird Purchase Unit. Acid soil debris leached down to pollute streams and kill fish for many years. New highway and old road cut slope at lower levels. (Forest Service photo F-512684)

New Law Boosts Recreational Land Purchases

Although land acquisition in the Southern Appalachians during the 1960's and 1970's was concentrated in the Redbird Unit, the other National Forests in the region also expanded because of a boost in acquisition monies provided by the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF). The Fund, established by the Land and Water Conservation Fund Act of September 1964, was a direct outgrowth of the Outdoor Recreation Resources Review Commission (ORRRC) study. [63] The main purpose of the Act was to enhance the recreational resources of America through planning, acquisition of lands, and recreational development. A separate fund was established to provide money to individual State and local governments on a matching basis and to Federal agencies to carry out the purposes of the Act. Monies were available, through the Bureau of Outdoor Recreation (later to become the Heritage, Conservation, and Recreation Service), for the Forest Service to acquire private inholdings in wilderness areas, lands for outdoor recreation purposes, or areas where any fish or wildlife species was threatened. The Act stipulated that no more than 15 percent of the acreage so acquired could be west of the 100th meridian.

After 1965, LWCF appropriations became by far the chief source of money for National Forest land acquisitions. Between 1965 and 1977 an average of over $25 million per year was provided for National Forest acquisition from the fund. [64] By the end of 1973, 35 percent of the National Forest acres acquired through the LWCF were in Georgia, Kentucky, North Carolina, Virginia, and Tennessee. [65] In fiscal year 1976 conservation fund monies exceeded Weeks Act monies by a ratio of more than 25 to 1. [66] Increasingly, the Fund was used to purchase lands on the older Southern Appalachian National Forests with high recreational value, while Weeks Act appropriations were devoted to the Redbird Unit. [67] Table 18 summarizes the LWCF funds spent for land acquisitions in the Southern Appalachian National Forests during the first 14 years of the Fund, ending June 30, 1980.

Table 18.—Total lands acquired with Land and Water Conservation Act funds in National Forests of the Southern Appalachians, 1966-80

Forest State LWCF acquisition funds*

Chattahoochee Georgia $ 7,898,000
Daniel Boone Kentucky 1,622,000
Nantahala North Carolina 10,139,000
Pisgah North Carolina 4,923,000
Cherokee Tennessee 4,046,000
Jefferson Virginia 16,106,000


*Rounded to nearest thousand. Fiscal year data.
Source: Data on National Forest lands acquired through LWCF monies: Heritage, Conservation, and Recreation Service, Department of the Interior, Washington, D.C.

Although land acquisition for National Forests in the Southern Appalachians continued throughout the 1960's and 1970's, large purchases were generally not made without a clear indication that they were approved by the local public. A case in point is a 46,000-acre tract largely in Bland County, Va., owned by Consolidation Coal Co., a subsidiary of Continental Oil Co. It was considered by the Commission in January 1972. Because the tract amounted to about one-fifth the land area of Bland County, the NFRC felt that evidence of public support for the purchase was necessary. [68]

The tract in question had been logged about 40 years before and contained only "a residual stand of poor quality timber." Manganese strip-mining had also occurred on the land, leaving behind a few small lakes. The tract was not being used for farming or grazing; it was mountain land with no ongoing commercial utility except some small-scale lumbering. However, its recreational potential was considered "great." [69]

Although the Virginia Commission for Outdoor Recreation favored Forest Service purchase, Bland County was divided on the issue. One-half of the letters to the Forest Service from local groups and individuals approved of the purchase, and the Bland County Board of Supervisors was split, two to two, on the acquisition. The opponents did not want to see the land removed from the tax rolls. The estimated loss of revenue from such removal was an annual $3,000, without considering timber harvesting. Although the tract contained poor second-growth timber, the Forest Service claimed it was suitable for immediate pulpwood harvesting, which would bring additional revenues. The NFRC recommended that the Bland County purchase be approved. [70] The area actually so acquired was about 40,000 acres.

Figure 107.—Strip coal mine spoil banks, partly reforested by planting, along Little Goose Creek in Leslie County, Ky., in 1965. At that time, more than 1,500 acres of strip mine tailings in the area were still in need of rehabilitation and revegetation. (Forest Service photo F-512685)

Forest Commission Dissolved

Throughout the 1960's and early 1970's, the National Forest Reservation Commission was finding it nearly impossible to assemble the various cabinet members, senators, and congressmen, or even a quorum of their deputies, at the same time to consider National Forest land acquisitions. Approval was usually granted in "unassembled" meetings. Finally, in October 1976, the NFRC was dissolved. The National Forest Management Act of 1976 transferred its functions to the Secretary of Agriculture, [71] granting him authority to approve small, routine acquisitions, but requiring those of $25,000 or more to be submitted to the House Agriculture Committee and the Senate Committee on Agriculture and Forestry for a 30-day review.

The demise of NFRC marked a symbolic end of National Forest creation under the Weeks Act. After the Redbird Purchase Unit was added to Daniel Boone National Forest, acquisition of large cutover tracts at major stream headwaters virtually stopped. By 1975 most such lands in eastern watersheds not in Federal ownership were too expensive to buy or not for sale. Additions to eastern National Forests were thus increasingly based on other legal authority, and primarily for recreation—as will be discussed in chapter VIII.

Recent National Forest Timber Management

Although the demand for timber slackened in the immediate postwar years, the 1950's saw a steady rise in timber harvesting across the Nation as housing construction and timber exports increased. In 1952 the Forest Service, in cooperation with other Federal, State, and private agencies, began a new inventory and assessment of the country's timber resource known as the Timber Resource Review (TRR). The TRR report, published in final revised form in 1958, found that in 1952 growth of sawtimber was almost equal to the cut, and in the South and East, exceeded the cut. However, the report expressed serious concern over the ability of the nation's forests to meet future timber demands, which were projected to rise rapidly. Although the TRR report fell short of recommending regulation of harvesting procedures on private timberlands, it emphasized the need for increased National Forest production and more intensive timber management on lands of all ownerships. [72]

At the same time, as discussed in chapter VI, pressures on the National Forests had been building for expanded outdoor recreational opportunities. In June 1958, shortly after the publication of the TRR report, President Eisenhower established the Outdoor Recreation Resources Review Commission (ORRRC) to inventory the nation's recreational resources. (ORRRC is discussed further in chapter VIII.) Meanwhile, the Forest Service was handling a multitude of problems connected with livestock grazing in the Western National Forests and was receiving increasing numbers of requests for special uses of Federal land, including the reservation of more wilderness. The combined pressures on the National Forests throughout the 1950's led to the drafting and eventual passage of the Multiple Use-Sustained Yield Act, which defined the purposes for which National Forests were established and administered, [73] mostly reaffirming long-standing Forest Service policies and practices. It was the organization's feeling that the Forest Service "had better get its national forest house in order" that prompted the legislation. [74]

Figure 108.—Open mine of Manganese Mining & Contracting Company on Glade Mountain near Marion, Smyth County, Va., in Holston Ranger District of Jefferson National Forest, in July 1955. The firm operated under a Forest Service special-use permit, and maintained a settling pond to collect mine waste to avoid polluting streams. Mineral rights had been reserved on these lands when the land was sold to the Federal Government. (Forest Service photo F-479124)

The Multiple Use Act of 1960

The Multiple Use-Sustained Yield Act, enacted on June 12, 1960, stated five renewable resources or uses of the National Forests in alphabetical order: outdoor recreation, range (grazing of domestic livestock), timber, watershed, and wildlife and fish. (Mining was not mentioned; it is not a renewable use, and was not at the time felt to be in need of express encouragement.) In essence, the Act declared that National Forests do not exist for any single purpose and implied that no one resource should be overemphasized at the expense of others. The Multiple-Use Sustained Yield Act articulated the management ideals that the Forest Service had espoused for years: the National Forests are to be managed for a variety of purposes, with an effort to sustain the benefits of each purpose for the longest possible period of time. Although conflicts between purposes (uses) are possible, they are to be resolved in favor of the long-term public interest—in Pinchot's paraphrase, "The greatest good of the greatest number in the long run."

Much has been written about the ambiguities inherent in the Multiple Use-Sustained Yield Act, [75] First, the Act states that the five purposes are "supplemental to but not in derogation of" the purposes stated in the so-called Organic Administration Act of 1897 that provided for management of the forest reserves. Those purposes were forest improvement and protection, securing favorable water flows, and a continuous timber supply. The Act also specifically protected prospecting and mining rights. There is some overlap between the two acts, and whether the more limited purposes stated in the 1897 Act should take precedence over those of the 1960 Act was publicly discussed after the latter's enactment. [76] Resolution of competing claims remained difficult. The more recent laws of the 1970's have clarified the situation substantially.

In addition, the 1960 Act's definition of multiple use was vague and simplistic. The criteria of flexibility in uses over time and continuous resource productivity can give "the unwary or ill-informed . . . the comforting illusion that if the uses are multiple enough there will be sufficient for everyone." [77] Moreover, the Act gives little specific direction as to how National Forests are actually to be managed, much less just how conflicts among purposes are to be resolved. Thus, some critics have charged that the multiple-use concept is a "facade behind which the Forest Service can operate to make decisions according to the relative strengths of clientele groups in a given area at a given time," or that it is a "blank check" to manage the National Forests as it sees fit. [78]

Certainly, the legislation was not so much a management tool as it was a statement allowing the Forest Service management flexibility while placating the multiple forest users. As Edward C. Crafts, Assistant Chief of the Forest Service during the 1950's, wrote:

. . . there was a chance the various pressure groups might tend to offset each other to some degree. For example, the grazing people might like the bill because their interests would be equated with timber and recreation. Recreation and wilderness users should like it because it would raise them to a status equal to commercial users. The timber industry which had enjoyed preferential treatment would not like losing this preference, but on the other hand would be protected against being overridden roughshod by the recreation and wilderness enthusiasts. The bill contained a little something for everyone. [79]

Nevertheless, in spite of its ambiguity and openness to conflicting interpretation, the Act did express the fundamental approach of Congress and the Forest Service to managing lands under pressure from multiple interest groups and fast growing U.S. population: a recognition of all the uses to which forests can be put (except mining), and an attempt to diversify land use—or prevent single use—wherever possible. As Richard E. McArdle, then Forest Service Chief, stated at the Fifth World Forestry Congress in August 1960, "in most instances forest land is not fully serving the people if used exclusively for a purpose which could also be achieved in combination with several other uses." [80] McArdle conceded that multiple use is not "a panacea," but he pointed out that because it helps considerably to overcome problems of scarcity and resolve conflicts of interest, it is the "best management for most of the publicly owned forest lands of the United States." [81]

Difficult to Promote Private Forestry

Against the background of potentially conflicting management directives inherent in the Multiple Use-Sustained Yield Act, Forest Service management of the Southern Appalachian forests became increasingly complex through the 1960's. The complexity was compounded by the development initiatives encouraged by the President's Appalachian Regional Commission. In 1963 PARC recommended that a timber resource development program for the whole Appalachian region be launched "on a scale far greater than ever before." [82] This program would involve an accelerated effort on both National Forests and on State and private lands. Specifically recommended initiatives were reforestation, timber stand improvement, construction of access roads, and the location and marking of property boundaries, as well as firebreak construction and erosion control. PARC estimated that more than 37,000 man-years of employment would be involved in the initial 5 year effort, and that more than $240 million should be spent. [83]

The Appalachian Regional Development Act of 1965 creating the new Commission with expanded powers made a specific provision for technical assistance to be given for the organization and operation of private "timber development organizations." Timber development organizations were conceived as nonprofit corporations that would manage the timber resources of participating private landowners. One of the first research reports prepared for ARC was an evaluation of such organizations as a source of regional economic benefits.

The report concluded that, because sawmilling dominated the timbering industry of Appalachia—not pulpwood, plywood, or the like—and because of "restrictions imposed by timber availability, timber procurement economics, and requirements for timber quality," the industry was not expected to grow. [84] Furthermore, private forest lands were found to be in "multiple thousands of small size holdings," and many of the region's timber owners unmotivated to improve their long-term productivity. "Feelings of disinterest and mistrust" often characterized sales transactions, as well as "a propensity toward overengagement in dickering and negotiation." For these reasons, consolidating private timber holdings and turning their management over to second parties did not seem feasible, and timber development organizations were proclaimed "not.., viable in sufficient numbers to yield substantial economic benefits to Appalachia." [85]

This finding serves to emphasize the stabilizing role of Federal land managed for a variety of uses in the development of the Appalachian timber resource. Clearly, the National Forests did not exhibit the fragmented ownership, lack of owner motivation, and poor resource quality that characterized the private timber industry. Nevertheless, because of their timber composition, Southern Appalachian forests could not then be managed in the same way that Pacific forests and Southern coastal forests were. Appalachian forests did not at that time contain nearly the proportion of commercial timber acreage that the Western and the Southern piedmont and coastal forests did. Much was low-quality, second-growth hardwood, the product of a history of repeated "selective" cuttings, actually destructive "high-grading" in most cases, that left behind the undesirable and damaged individuals and species. Further, the quality hardwood that was present had a fairly long rotation cycle: between 40 and 80 years for sawtimber-sized trees. [86]

Nevertheless, the Appalachian National Forests continued to provide resources for the small local wood processors. Small sales, of less than $2,000 in value, generally exceeded the larger sales in value by a factor of four to one, although there was considerable variation from forest to forest. For example, in fiscal year 1960, the only year for which comparable data were readily available, there were no sales of greater than $2,000 in value on the Daniel Boone or Cherokee National Forests, and on the Chattahoochee, only a handful; whereas, on the Nantahala and Pisgah, the value of "large" sales was nearly equal to that of small ones. [87] It is interesting to note that large timber sales in the western North Carolina and northern Georgia forests were dominated by one company, the Ritter Lumber Co., which had been operating in the area since 1900.

For both small and large lumber firms, logging in the National Forests could not be described as a lucrative business, in part because the process of sealed bidding often elevated timber prices; in part because of the restrictions placed on the logger. As George Hicks wrote in Appalachian Valley about logging in North Carolina:

Work in timber continues to provide a living for some local men, but it is seasonal and sporadic employment . . . When a local man, for example, won timber rights to a large tract of national forest land in 1965 by submitting a bid far above all others, it was generally agreed by those who make their living in cutting timber that he "might just come out even" and perhaps make a slim profit only because he and his five adult sons would work together. If he were to hire labor, he would surely lose money. [88]

Moreover, as it did nationwide, the Forest Service placed restrictions on the size and type of logging roads, requiring piling and burning of slash, and specified the methods of timber extraction—to protect the environment, reduce danger of fire, and assure reproduction—all of which increased the cost of logging. This is even more true today.

Figure 109.—Tractor-mounted power loader dropping a big white pine sawlog onto a truck at a Forest Service timber sale in Hurricane Gap section of Nolichucky Ranger District, Cherokee National Forest on the Tennessee-North Carolina State line adjoining Hot Springs Ranger District of Pisgah National Forest, in May 1962. (Forest Service photo F-502185)

Even-Aged Management Becomes Standard

In the early 1960's—under policy directives to increase National Forest timber production, with the support of long-awaited new silvicultural research findings, a more stringent need for economy and efficiency in harvesting, and with demand increasing from the region's pulpwood industry—clearcutting in patches (called even-aged management by foresters) became a more prominent practice of timber management in the Southern Appalachian forests, where mild climate, heavy rainfall, and generally good soils help insure rapid regrowth. Indeed, by the middle of the decade, it was the chief method of timber harvesting nationwide on National Forests, as it had nearly always been on private forests, and by 1969 accounted for about 50 percent of the harvested timber volume on eastern National Forests. [89] However, it was over such cutting in an Appalachian forest—the Monongahela National Forest in West Virginia, along with others in Montana and Wyoming—that the practice actually became a national controversy. The debate over clearcutting or patch cutting, which persisted through the 1960's and into the 1970's, illustrates the kind of difficulty that multiple-use management could bring, and points to the special qualities of Southern Appalachian forests that help explain why they would increasingly become the focus of management controversy.

Scientific clearcutting in patches, or even-age management, is a silvicultural technique that has been in practice for centuries. All the trees within a given area of limited extent are cut, regardless of age, species, or size, so that the stand that replaces them will be even-aged and will mature at the same time. Forest regrowth is assured by natural or artificial seeding, or by planting. The advantages of the technique over true selective cutting, shelterwood, or seed-tree methods are: improved regulation of stands, encouragement of growth for valuable sun-loving shade-intolerant timber species—such as yellow-poplar in the East and Douglas-fir in the West, control of disease, and economy of cutting. [90]

With this cutting system accounting for about half the harvest, timber sales increased markedly in the Southern Appalachians during the 1960's. Data on the volume and value of timber sold from fiscal years 1960 to 1969 in the Jefferson and Daniel Boone National Forests, for example, show a steady increase over the decade. [91] The volume of timber sold in the Jefferson nearly tripled from 13,070 million board feet in 1960 to 38,752 million board feet in 1969. On the Daniel Boone the increase in volume was from 18,726 million board feet to 41,384. (The value of the timber sold similarly tripled and doubled respectively.) Thus, although the total acres cut in the Southern Appalachian National Forests were but a small percent of the region's total forest, the increase in timber harvesting made this system more visible. [92]

Public reaction to patch clearcutting in the Monongahela National Forest began with the objections of squirrel and turkey hunters to losing some of their favorite densely forested habitats, which years of Forest Service protection had fostered. [93] The objections reached the West Virginia legislature, which passed a resolution in 1964 calling for a study of timber management practices on the Monongahela. Over the next 7 years, despite several such resolutions and studies, and numerous requests to change the system, the Forest Service continued to practice even-aged management there, with some modifications. The issue broadened its scope and base, as national interest groups became involved there and in the West. The press and other media provided extensive and usually highly critical coverage. Eventually the clearcutting controversy resulted in heated and extensive Congressional hearings and litigation.

Figure 110.—Forest Service specialists mapping soil types on aerial photos during a field survey in Pisgah National Forest, N.C., in February 1965. Uniform shoulder patch was new at the time. (Forest Service photo F-513936)

Lawsuit Forces New Forestry Act

In 1974 a Federal District Court judge in West Virginia ruled the Forest Service in violation of the Organic Act of 1897 (which permitted the harvesting of dead, mature, or large trees); its ruling was upheld by the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals in 1975, which noted that if changes in the law were needed it was up to Congress to make them. The appeal ruling forced Congress to act, prompting passage of the National Forest Management Act of 1976. The Act repealed the restrictions on timber harvesting declared in the 79-year-old Organic Administration Act, set more specific requirements for management planning, thereby amending the 1974 Resources Planning Act, and established guidelines for timber harvesting. Patch clearcutting on National Forests was not forbidden, but was permitted only when determined optimal and under environmental constraints.

By the last half of the 1970's, because of harvesting delays caused by litigation and new rules, timber harvesting in the Southern Appalachian National Forests was reduced below the annual levels of the previous 10 years. On the Daniel Boone and Jefferson National Forests, for example, the volume of timber sold dropped to pre-1964 levels in fiscal years 1977, 1978, and 1979. (On the Jefferson, less timber was sold in 1979 than had been sold in 1960.) Integrated planning on an increased scale to give more concern to wildlife, esthetics, and watershed protection, and changes in road design and harvesting practices to assure minimum environmental impact, plus many studies for new wilderness proposals and increased public participation in decision-making all slowed down timber sales.

Throughout the 1960's and until the mid-1970's, the Forest Service's required 25-percent payments to counties continued to reflect timber sales and, as such, fluctuated with the rise and subsequent fall in timbercutting. [94] In only two of the six study counties with a high percentage of National Forests (Graham and Macon) did 25-percent payments per-acre increase overall from 1961 and 1975. In the other four, per-acre payments rose to a peak in the years between 1965 and 1970, and then fell close to their 1961 level. In Union County, for example, per-acre payments rose from $0.26 in 1961 to a peak of $0.38 in 1967; in 1975 the payment was $0.18 per acre. Similar fluctuations applied to counties with little or no National Forest acreage. In 1975 none of the study counties received more than $0.29 per acre in 25-percent payments. [95]

The Appalachian counties' dissatisfaction with the fluctuating and often paltry compensation for Federal landownership drew national attention in the 1970's. The Public Land Law Review Commission report, One Third of the Nation's Land, issued in 1970, summarized the inequity of the reimbursement system:

The study made for this commission confirms the contention of state and county government officials that shared revenues amount to less than the revenues they would collect if the lands were in private ownership and subject to taxation. [96]

Nevertheless, the PLLRC report concluded, it does not follow that these payments should be equal to full tax equivalency. Although they are difficult to calculate, direct and indirect benefits go to counties with Federal land—such as special land use permits, fire protection, and road construction and maintenance. The Commission considered that fair payment for Federal land in lieu of taxes should equal 60 to 90 percent of the amount necessary to provide full tax equivalency. [97]

In 1974, Si Kahn, who learned of the 25-percent payment through VISTA volunteers in northern Georgia, published The Forest Service and Appalachia, a tract railing against the unfairness of the Federal payment to National Forest counties. [98] Although Kahn challenged several Forest Service acquisition and management policies, his basic charge was that the tax-exempt status of vast National Forest lands had weakened the counties' tax bases, increased the burden on local landowners, and threatened the ability of the counties to govern themselves. [99]

Congress Raises Payments to Counties

Two years after Kahn's publication was released, Congress passed the Payments In Lieu of Taxes Act. [100] Under this Act, counties would receive the higher of $0.75 per acre of entitled Federal land minus certain payments received under 10 specified laws, or $0.10 per acre without those deductions, both subject to a ceiling based on county population. One of the specified laws was the original Act of 1908 first authorizing Forest Service payments to States from receipts of National Forest land, as amended.

Thus, for Southern Appalachian timber-harvest-poor counties that had been receiving less than $0.30 per acre from Forest Service payments prior to 1976, the In-Lieu Act qualified them for the difference between that previous allotment and $0.75 per National Forest acre. The Bureau of Land Management would be the actual disbursing agent of In-Lieu funds; the States would continue to provide to the counties the recommended Forest Service 25 percent-of-receipts payments, which would literally be subtracted from the $0.75-per-acre amount due.

Table 19 illustrates the difference in such revenues between 1975 and post-In-Lieu years for five of the 12 selected study counties. For most, the new total payments represent a 400- or 500-percent increase from pre-1976 revenues. The importance of the In-Lieu additional payment can be seen in the example of Graham County, where 25-percent payments ranged between $4,885 and $36,296 over only 4 years. The In-Lieu payment gave Graham County an assured, steady revenue.

Table 19.—Payments made from the 25 percent and in-lieu funds to 5 of the 12 selected Southern Appalachian counties, 1975-80

Union County
Graham County
North Carolina
McCreary County
Habersham County
Henderson County
North Carolina
1980 National
Forest acreage
95,604 112,479 154,563 40,009 17,296
Payments in 1976:
25% fund from 1975 receipts
17,374 32,774 24,554 7,194 2,756
Payments in 1977:
25% fund from 1976 receipts
In-Lieu fund
11,760 18,755 25,995 4,867 3,205
59,959 64,975 103,425 24,817 9,952
71,719 83,730 129,420 29,684 13,157
Payments in 1978:
25% fund from 1977 receipts
In-lieu fund
5,158 4,885 9,545 2,135 403
66,549 78,922 107,133 27,549 12,754
71,707 83,807 116,678 29,684 13,157
Payments in 1979:
25% fund from 1978 receipts
In-lieu fund
17,731 36,296 26,088 7,340 1,472
53,956 47,598 90,590 22,656 11,685
71,687 83,894 116,678 29,996 13,157
Payments in 1980:
25% fund from 1979 receipts
In-lieu fund
17,038 30,577 13,569 7,114 1,853
54,664 53,696 110,330 22,893 11,304
71,702 84,273 123,899 30,007 13,157

Source: Fiscal and Accounting Management Staff, Forest Service, USDA, Washington, D.C. Fiscal year data.

However, whether an assured, steady revenue of $0.75 per acre from Federal lands is necessarily fair is open to question. One problem is that, in spite of the increased revenue, timber-poor counties are still penalized. That is, counties with vast timber sales (for example, in the Pacific Northwest) can elect to receive $0.10 from the Bureau of Land Management and still receive the 25-percent Forest Service payment, yielding well above $0.75 per acre, In addition, the issue of whether even the $0.75 per acre adequately compensates a county for lost property taxes remains unclear. [101]

A recent study sponsored by the Appalachian Regional Commission, which includes several county case studies, states that Swain and Clay Counties, N.C., which are 80 percent and nearly 50 percent Federally owned, respectively, would receive an average of $1.22 per acre from out-of-State private owners if Federal lands were in their hands. However, the counties receive only $0.75 for their National Forest land. The study claims that $98,182 per year is being denied the two counties even if the Federal Government would pay the low out-of-state corporate tax rate instead of the $0.75 per acre. [102]

Similarly, the report states that, "if the 70,000 acres owned by the Forest Service in Bland County were taxed at the same rate as land owned by county residents, the county would realize an additional $16,000, a substantial increase for a county of 6,000." [103] In 1980, Bland County, which is 30 percent federally owned, received $451,487 revenue from property taxes versus $47,122 from the In-Lieu and 25-percent payments combined. [104] In Union County, Ga., the tax assessor asserted that property taxes yield about $800,000 in annual revenues; whereas, In-Lieu payments for National Forest land—which account for nearly half the total county acreage—yield only about $55,000. [105] (He failed to mention the 25-percent payment to Union County, although for the last few years it has been small.)

While In-Lieu payments in the Southern Appalachian National Forest counties generally have not equaled property tax revenues for private lands, less tangible benefits must also be considered. These include increased revenues from tourism (which will be addressed in the next chapter), the value of wildlife and hunting, the value of forest products, and watershed control. [106] Furthermore, such adverse effects as may be traced to Federal landownership must be compared with the effects of any absentee ownership, whether corporate or individual. As this chapter has suggested, and chapter VIII will further consider, the economic and social problems that many Southern Appalachian counties have faced may be more, or as, attributable to private absentee landownership, and the resource exploitation that accompanies it, than they are to Federal ownership of land.

Reference Notes

(In the following notes, the expression "NA, RG 95, FS, OC, NFRC" means National Archives, Record Group 95, Forest Service, Office of the Chief, National Forest Reservation Commission, "WNRC, FS" means Washington National Records Center, Records of the Forest Service, See Bibliography, IX.)

1. Theodore H. White, The Making of the President 1960 (New York: Atheneum Publishers, 1961), Chapter 4.

2. Washington National Records Center, Forest Service Records, Accession No, 65A2473. National Forest Program—Depressed Areas, General Correspondence, to 2/10/61, Planning.

3. A Report to Congress on the Continuation of the Appalachian Regional Commission (Washington, D.C.: Appalachian Regional Commission, March 1979), p. 1; and Belcher, "Population Growth and Characteristics," in Thomas R. Ford, ed., The Southern Appalachian Region: A Survey (Lexington: University of Kentucky Press, 1962), Chapter 3.

4. L. E. Perry, McCreary Conquest, A Narrative History (Whitley City, Ky.: L. E. Perry, 1979), p. 86.

5. Accelerated Public Works Program File, History Section, Forest Service.

6. Robert F. Munn, "The Latest Rediscovery of Appalachia" and Don West, "Romantic Appalachia," in David S. Walls and John B. Stephenson, eds., Appalachia in the Sixties. (Lexington: University of Kentucky Press, 1972.)

7. Perry, McCreary Conquest, pp. 87, 88.

8. Economic Opportunity Act, 78 Stat. 508.

9. "Summary of Federal Programs," A Report of Federal Program Impact on the Local Community. Information Center, Office of Economic Opportunity.

10. W. K. McNeil, "The Eastern Kentucky Mountaineer: An External and Internal View of History," Mid-South Folklore (Summer 1973): 45.

11. McNeil, "The Eastern Kentucky Mountaineer," and Paul Good, "Kentucky's Coal Beds of Sedition," in Walls & Stephenson, eds., Appalachia in the Sixties. pp. 184-193.

12. Good, "Kentucky Coal Beds," p. 190; See also, West, "Romantic Appalachia," p. 214.

13. ATAC Evaluation Group, An Analysis of the VISTA Program and Appalachian Volunteers. Inc., Prepared under OEO Contract, September 30, 1967.

14. "Summary of Federal Programs," OEO (See note 9).

15. WNRC, FS, Acc. No, 65A2473, National Forest Program—Depressed Area, General Correspondence, Paper on "Kennedy Task Force on Area Redevelopment," December 27, 1960.

16. Economic Opportunity Act, 78 Stat. 508.

17. Perry, McCreary Conquest, p. 227.

18. John M. Cooney and Fred Whitener, "Report on Visit—March 23-25, 1966," in Survey of Job Corps Camp Conservation Centers. Prepared by the National Conference of Christians and Jews under OEO Contract, p. 1.

19. Cooney and Whitener, "Report," 2.

20. Interview with Jack S. Kelley, Legislative Affairs, Regional Office, Atlanta, Ga., July 9, 1979. Confirmed by interview with John W. Moser, Cherokee National Forest, July 18, 1979.

21. Interviews with Jack Kelley and John Moser, July 1979.

22. Perry, McCreary Conquest, p. 227.

23. Interview with Harold Debord, Director, Human Resource Programs, Regional Office, Atlanta, Ga., July 10, 1979.

24. Pine Knot Civilian Conservation Center, "Report to Reply due July 27, 1979," information supplied by Danny W. Hill, Center Director, to Forest Supervisor, July 23, 1979.

25. Letter to Forest Supervisor from James E. Morphew, July 25, 1979, Frenchburg Civilian Conservation Center, Mariba, Ky.

26. Interview with Charles Crail and Clarence Moore, Cherokee National Forest, Cleveland, Tenn., July 26-27, 1979. See David E. Nye, The History of the Youth Conservation Corps (Washington: Government Printing Office, 1981).

27. Interview with Harold Debord, Human Resource Programs, USDA Forest Service, Regional Office, Atlanta, Ga., July 10, 1979. The success of the SCEP program was confirmed by staff officers on the Chattahoochee, Cherokee, and Daniel Boone forests.

28. Interview with Harold Debord, July 10, 1979. See Jack W. McElroy, History of Young Adult Conservation Corps: Bringing Human and Natural Resources Together (Washington: Government Printing Office, 1979).

29. Appalachian Regional Development Act, 40 App. USC 1-405.

30. Robb Burlage, "Toward A People's ARC," in Walls and Stephenson, eds., Appalachia in the Sixties, p. 248.

31. Washington National Records Center, Forest Service Records, Acc. No, 67A4805, Appalachia, Regional Study, Memo by John L. Sweeney. Executive Director of PARC, October 30, 1963.

32. Burlage, "Toward A People's ARC," pp. 249, 250.

33. Burlage, "Toward A People's ARC," 249.

34. Jerald Ter Horst, "No More Pork Barrel: The Appalachia Approach," in Walls and Stephenson, eds., Appalachia in the Sixties, p. 35.

35. Burlage, "Toward A People's ARC," p. 250.

36. Telephone interview with Neil Walp, Appalachian Regional Commission, Washington, D.C., December 11, 1979.

37. "Fact Sheet on ARC," June 1979. Appalachian Regional Commission.

38. "Fact Sheet on ARC."

39. Burlage, "Toward A People's ARC." John Gaventa, Power and Powerlessness: Quiescence and Rebellion in an Appalachian Valley (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1980), pp. 163, 164.

40. Comptroller General of the United States, Report to the Congress, Should the Appalachian Regional Commission Be Used as a Model For the Nation? U.S. General Accounting Office, April 27, 1979.

41. Comptroller General Report on ARC, April 27, 1979, 107.

42. Data for the analysis of ARC funds that follows were obtained from computer printouts on total ARC funds spent by county and state, and for selected counties, by project. Provided by Joe Cerniglia, Appalachian Regional Commission, Washington, D.C.

43. WNRC, FS, Acc. No, 67A4805, Planning—President's Appalachian Regional Commission, "Program Highlights—The Timber Situation in Brief," p. v, November 27, 1963.

44. "Program Highlights," PARC, xiii, November 27, 1963.

45. "Program Highlights," PARC, xiv, November 27, 1963.

46. Mary Breckenridge, Wide Neighborhoods: A Study of the Frontier Nursing Service (New York: Harper & Row, 1952), Chapter 35.

47. Breckenridge, Wide Neighborhoods, Chapter 35. Also quoted in Thomas R. Frazier, Project Leader, Redbird Purchase Unit, "Redbird Roundups." Forest Service public relations publication, 1966. See also, Robert F. Collins, A History of the Daniel Boone National Forest (Lexington, Ky.: University of Kentucky Press, 1975), pp. 259-262. Collins notes that Ms. Breckenridge tried unsuccessfully in 1936 to help the Kentucky State Garden Club save a tract of "virgin" timber then being logged on Lynn Fork of Leatherwood Creek in southern Perry County by having it included in the new Cumberland National Forest Purchase Unit.

48. Frazier, "Redbird Roundups," 1966, and John F. Day, Bloody Ground, (Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday, Doran and Company, Inc., 1941), p. 200.

49. "Fordson Coal Company, Peabody—Kentucky," miscellaneous paper in possession of Thomas E. Frazier, former Redbird ranger, USDA, Forest Service, Regional Office, Atlanta, Ga.

50. "Profiles of Politics," The Leslie-County News. Hyden, Ky., July 21, 1966.

51. Perry, McCreary Conquest, p. 227.

52. Thomas R. Frazier, "A Proposal for Housing, Relocation and Employment in Eastern Kentucky." 1966. Unpublished document provided by the author in a personal interview, USDA Forest Service Regional Office, Atlanta, Ga., July 10, 1979.

53. Frazier, "A Proposal for Housing," 1966.

54. Interviews with Thomas E. Frazier, Lands, Regional Office, Atlanta, Ga,, July 10, 1979; March 27, 1980; January 27, 1981.

55. NA, RG 95, FS, OC, NFRC, Final Report for the fiscal year ending September 30, 1976, pp. 4, 5.

56. NA, RG 95, FS, OC, NFRC, Minutes, March 15, 1972.

57. NA, RG 95, FS, OC, NFRC, Minutes, January 26, 1972, p. 7.

58. NA, RG 95, FS, OC, NFRC, Minutes, January 17, 1975.

59. NA, RG 95, FS, OC, NFRC, Minutes, February 23, 1973.

60. NA, RG 95, FS, OC, NFRC, Final Report, pp. 6, 7.

61. NA, RG 95, FS, OC, NFRC, Minutes, January 15, 1969.

62. NA, RG 95, FS, OC, NFRC, Minutes, July 8, 1971.

63. Land and Water Conservation Fund Act, 78 Stat, 897.

64. NA, RG 95, FS, OC, NFRC, Final Report, p. 4.

65. Records on Land and Water Conservation Fund purchases, Headquarters, Chattahoochee National Forest, Gainesville, Ga.

66. NA, RG 95, FS, OC, NFRC, Final Report of the National Forest Reservation Commission, p. 4.

67. NA, RG 95, FS, OC, NFRC, Minutes, March 15, 1972.

68. NA, RG 95, FS, OC, NFRC, Minutes, January 26, 1972.

69. NA, RG 95, FS, OC, NFRC, Minutes, January 26, 1972, 3, 4.

70. Si Kahn wrote about this tract in The Forest Service and Appalachia, pp. 60-65. Kahn quotes several residents who were opposed to the federal purchase, which, Kahn says, the Forest Service "pushed through" in spite of the opposition.

71. National Forest Management Act of 1976, 90 Stat, 2949.

72. Edward C. Crafts, "Saga of a Law," American Forests 76 (June 1970); and Steen, The U.S. Forest Service, pp. 285-289.

73. The Multiple Use-Sustained Yield Act, 74 Stat. 215.

74. Crafts, "Saga of a Law," p. 15; for additional background to the legislation, see Steen, The U.S. Forest Service, Chapter XI.

75. See, for example, Marion Clawson, Forests For Whom and For What? (Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1975); Shands and Healy, The Lands Nobody Wanted, pp. 121-124; Glen O. Robinson, The Forest Service (Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1975) pp. 56-58; Crafts, "Saga of a Law;" and Federal Agencies and Outdoor Recreation, pp. 27-29.

76. Michael McCloskey, "Note and Comment: National Resources—National Forests—The Multiple Use-Sustained Yield Act of 1960," Oregon Law Review 41 (December 1961): 71-73.

77. Federal Agencies and Outdoor Recreation, p. 28.

78. Federal Agencies and Outdoor Recreation, p. 28.

79. Crafts, "Saga of a Law," p. 17.

80. Richard E. McArdle, "The Concept of Multiple Use of Forest and Associated Lands—Its Value and Limitations," Fifth World Forestry Congress, Seattle, Wash., August 29, 1960, p. 4.

81. R. E. McArdle, "The Concept of Multiple Use," p. 7.

82. Washington National Records Center, Forest Service Records, Acc. No. 67A4805, Planning—President's Appalachian Regional Commission, "Program Highlights—The Timber Situation in Brief," November 27, 1963, p. vii.

83. Program Highlights, viii-xi.

84. Appalachian Regional Commission, Evaluation of Timber Development Organizations, Research Report No. 1. Prepared for the Appalachian Regional Commission by McDonald Associates, Inc., November 1, 1966, p. iv.

85. Evaluation of Timber, vi-vii.

86. Shands and Healy, The Lands Nobody Wanted, pp. 27-31; Clawson, Forests For Whom and For What?, p. 49. It was not selective cutting in the proper, professional, silvicultural sense.

87. "F.Y. 1960 Sales—Classified by Small and Large Business." Timber Management Staff, USDA, Forest Service, Washington, D.C.

88. George L. Hicks, Appalachian Valley, (New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1976), p. 27.

89. Glen O. Robinson, The Forest Service, p. 76.

90. Robinson, The Forest Service, 76-85.

91. "Volume and Value Timber Sold and Cut by Regions, Forests, States," for FY 1960-FY 1969. Timber Management Staff, USDA Forest Service. Data on the Daniel Boone and Jefferson are not available in the same form for the other Southern Appalachian forests.

92. Between 1968 and 1973, about 13 percent of National Forest land in Region 8 were cut. Shands and Healy, The Lands Nobody Wanted, p. 30. Postwar public reaction to lumbering is summarized in Steen, The U.S. Forest Service, p. 302.

93. Sidney Weitzman, Lessons From the Monongahela Experience, An In-Service Analysis Based on Interviews with Forest Service Personnel, December 1977; Robinson, The Forest Service, pp. 78-80.

94. "Volume Timber Cut and Sold—MFB," F.Y. 1977, F.Y. 1978, F.Y. 1979. Timber Management Staff, USDA Forest Service, Washington, D.C.

95. Data on 25-percent payments: Fiscal and Accounting Management Staff, USDA Forest Service, Washington, D.C.

96. Public Land Law Review Commission, One Third of the Nation's Land (Washington: Government Printing Office, 1970), pp. 236, 237.

97. PLLRC, One Third of the Nation's Land, p. 238.

98. Si Kahn, The Forest Service and Appalachia. (See note 70.).

99. Kahn, The Forest Service and Appalachia, 1-6.

100. 90 Stat, 2662. The 1908 Act was 35 Stat. 260; it was modified by the Weeks Act (36 Stat. 963).

101. Shands and Healy, The Lands Nobody Wanted, pp. 230, 231.

102. Appalachian Regional Commission, North Carolina State Report, Preliminary Draft For the Land Ownership Task Force of the Appalachian Alliance, 1980, p. 28.

103. Appalachian Regional Commission, Land Ownership and Property Taxation in Virginia. Prepared by Tracey Weis for the Appalachian Land Ownership Task Force, November 1980, p. 62.

104. Letter to authors from Dorothy M. Wright, Treasurer, Bland County, Va., January 27, 1981.

105. Telephone interview with Office of Tax Commissioner, Union County, Blairsville, Ga., January, 1981.

106. See, for example, Land Ownership and Property Taxation in Virginia, p. 62. Appalachian Regional Commission.

<<< Previous <<< Contents>>> Next >>>

Updated: 11/24/2008