The Origins of the National Forests
A Centennial Symposium
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OTHER FEDERAL

Early Administration of the Forest Reserve Act: Interior Department and General Land Office Policies, 1891-1897
James Muhn
Bureau of Land Management

The President, by Section 24 of the Act of March 3, 1891, was permitted to "set apart and reserve . . . public land bearing forests . . . or in part covered by timber or undergrowth, whether of commercial value or not, as public reservations." The provision, attached as a last-minute rider in the Congress, was, in Gifford Pinchot's estimate, "the most important legislation in the history of Forestry in America." To the former Forest Service chief it represented the "beginning and basis of our whole National Forest system." [1]

The Forest Reserve Act, as the legislation has come to be known, was regarded by forestry advocates and federal officials as the first step toward protecting the public domain's remaining stands of valuable timber. The law set aside the public lands withdrawn under its provision from further settlement and appropriation but did little else. There were no specific management provisions or monies provided for the protection of the forest reservations until enactment of the Forest Management Act in 1897.

The absence of specific administrative authority until 1897 has led historians to conclude that, aside from establishing forest reserves, the Department of the Interior and the General Land Office did little in regard to the forest reserves while Congress debated various administrative measures. [2] Want of more specific direction from Congress, however, did not mean that Interior and General Land Office officials did not administer or protect the reserves. Establishment of forest reservations brought up numerous policy questions. Forest reserves had to be selected, access to resources considered, and protection provided. The Land Department gave considerable attention to these issues, doing what it could with the limited means available to them. [3]

Land Department officials saw enactment of the Forest Reserve Act as an important step toward protecting public timberlands from waste and destruction. The General Land Office had long condemned the rapid disappearance of the public domain's most valuable timber, claiming that inadequate legislation hampered proper protection of the resource from unlawful appropriation and depredation. [4] The Forest Reserve Act, as GLO Commissioner Thomas H. Carter remarked in 1891, promised to "do much in the way of caring for portions of the public lands bearing forest which it is needful to preserve from spoliation." [5] Secretary of the Interior John Noble agreed, adding that if the law was "prosecuted systematically and thoroughly, posterity will look upon the action as that to which the country owes much of its prosperity and safety." [6]

Secretary Noble's statement implied a liberal use of the Forest Reserve Act, but neither he nor his commissioner of the General Land Office intended to use the law indiscriminately. The act, in their view, did not authorize withdrawal of all public timberland. [7] "Wise discretion," as GLO Commissioner Carter put it, was to be used in proclaiming forest reservations. [8] The General Land Office's 1891 circular instructions regarding the investigation of potential forest reserves stated that only those forests "not absolutely required for the legitimate use and necessities of the residents," the promotion of settlement, or the development of natural resources in the immediate vicinity of the timber were to be considered for withdrawal. [9]

The Forest Reserve Act was also seen as more than simply a timber preservation law. Secretary Noble, like many others at the time, believed that the timber at the headwaters of streams had to be protected to prevent devastating floods and to insure a summer-long water supply for the irrigation of lands in the arid West. [10] With that in mind, the General Land Office told its special agents that it was of "first importance to reserve all public lands in mountainous and other regions . . . covered with timber or undergrowth at the headwaters of river and along the bank of streams." [11]

There were, however, other reasons for creating forest reservations. These reserves, as Secretary Noble noted, would "preserve the fauna, fish and flora of our country, and become resorts for the people seeking instruction and recreation." [12] He also expressed willingness to withdraw those areas of "great interest to our people because of their natural beauty, or remarkable features." [13]

The Yellowstone National Park Timber Land Reserve, [14] the first forest reservations proclaimed, reflected these broad considerations. Located adjacent to the east and south boundaries of the park for which it took its name, the reserve's thick stands of timber embraced the headwaters of the Yellowstone River and other streams, but as important, if not more so, the new reserve embraced important wildlife habitat, scenic mountains, and natural curiosities. [15]

Wildlife, scenic, and other considerations figured significantly in the creation of the other forest reserves prior to 1897. Petitions for the White River Plateau, Pike's Peak, and Pecos forest reservations called attention the wildlife and scenic values of those areas. The General Land Office recommendation for the Pacific Forest Reserve advocated withdrawal of majestic Mount Rainier for its scenic and scientific significance as much as for the importance of its watershed to flood control. The Afognak Forest and Fish Reserve in Alaska was made at request of the U.S. Commission of Fish and Fisheries to preserve natural spawning grounds and wildlife habitat. [16] The Grand Cañon Forest Reserve stretched interpretation of the Forest Reserve Act to its fullest. The reservation did contain some timbered land but mostly embraced the spectacular canyon for which it was named. [17] Still, as Secretary Noble himself said, these other reasons were subservient to the "important agricultural and economic purposes" for establishing the forest reserves. [18]

Most of the early forest reservations were proclaimed only after an exhaustive investigation by special agents from the General Land Office. [19] The special agents assigned to the investigations were directed in their work by circular instructions issued on May 15, 1891, as well as specific guidance from the commissioner. They travelled throughout the proposed reserves to determine first-hand the character of the lands and decide which lands, if any, should be included. [20] The men also assessed public sentiment through personal interviews with local officials and residents and by soliciting further comment through newspaper notices. These findings, as well as the other information gathered, were reviewed by the General Land Office and formed the basis of its recommendations to the secretary of the interior. [21]

The purpose of establishing forest reservations, as GLO Commissioner Carter pointed out, was not to cause "injury to the people—the object in their creation being the present and ultimate benefit to the community at large." [22] The General Land Office, therefore, took care not exclude whole counties from operation under the settlement and mining laws. [23] It also made an effort to draw forest reserve boundaries to eliminate areas known to be chiefly agricultural or mineral in character. The Pike's Peak Timber Land Reserve boundary omitted the newly established Cripple Creek and Cheyenne mining districts and the Pacific Forest Reserve excluded coal lands and nearby communities. [24]

It was impossible for the General Land Office to draw boundaries that did not include some mining and agricultural lands. Hundreds of people as a consequence found themselves within the forest reservations. The situation did not affect the interests of private landowners or settlers and miners whose lands were covered by valid entries and locations. [25] Settlers on unsurveyed lands and preemption claimants who had not made entry at the time forest reserves were proclaimed, however, were not protected by the public land laws or legal precedents. [26]. These people faced loss of their homes and expulsion from the reserves as trespassers because they had no "vested interest" in the land that had been withdrawn. [27] Secretary Noble, at the urging of the General Land Office, prevented this from happening by adopting an "equitable administration of the law" that permitted individuals who had made actual settlement in good faith and who were in compliance with the Homestead and Preemption laws prior to withdrawal a forest reserve to make entry and prove up. [28]

The Land Department in adopting this liberal interpretation of law toward settlers hoped that opposition to the creation of forest reservations would be quieted. The controversy, however, was continued by petitions and memorials demanding access to forest reservation resources.

GLO Commissioner Carter did not believe the forest reservations should be locked up. He espoused the American Forestry Association philosophy that the timber and other resources should be made available in a rational and economical manner. Furthermore, Carter felt the law provided sufficient authority for the promulgation of the necessary rules and regulations that would permit such use. [29] Secretary of the Interior Noble, however, did not formulate the needed regulations during his tenure.

Arnold Hague, Bernhard Fernow, and subsequent historians, have argued that Noble's inaction stemmed from his narrow view of the forest reserves as pristine national parks. Noble did urge Congress in 1891 to set the forest reserves apart as national or state parks so that they could be "preserved unimpaired and used for the benefit of the public only." This initial position was undoubtedly influenced by the fact that many of first forest reservations had previously been petitioned for as national parks, but there is little evidence in Land Department files to support this as Secretary Noble's reason for not issuing regulations. [30]

Noble did sympathize with the reasonable use philosophy as advocated by the American Forestry Association. He supported Commissioner Carter's call for the issuance of rules and regulations that would provide for the use of forest reserve resources. In fact, the Interior Department declared that the secretary had the authority needed "to carry into execution the provisions of the law authorizing the withdrawal of such lands and to the realization of the objects of that legislation." [31]

One reason for Secretary Noble's reluctance to approve regulations came from his dislike of exercising discretionary authority in the absence of specific congressional direction. The prerogative, in Noble mind, was a "Pandora's Box," for once the Land Department allowed for the use of forest reserve resources it would be difficult, if not impossible, to limit the privileges granted. [32]

The Land Department also did not have the means needed to administer any rules and regulations it might promulgate. The General Land Office when it advocated rules and regulations for the forest reservations pointed out that the Forest Reserve Act provided no monies for protection, and the small force of special agents at its disposal, given their many responsibilities, would only permit the special agent to give "cursory attention" to the reservations. Such circumstances did not allow for proper supervision of the reserves, and GLO Commissioner Carter worried that permitting use of the forest reserve resources without sufficient control would "only encourage depredations." He, therefore, suggested that no privileges be granted in the forest reserves until Congress provided for protection and supervision. [33]

With these concerns in mind, Secretary Noble turned the matter of opening up the forest reserves over to Congress. He asked Congress to provide a protective force for the forest reservations and to decide how the reserves should be administered. [34] In the interim Noble felt the General Land Office recommendation that timber cutting, grazing, and other uses within the reserves be prohibited was the best course of action to follow. [35]

That was the situation when the Cleveland Administration took office in early 1893. The new secretary of the interior, Hoke Smith, and his Land Office commissioner, Silas Lamoreux, both supported the forest reserve idea. [36] The two men their first annual reports renewed the Land Department plea that Congress enact "legislation which may lay the foundation for a wise, [and] comprehensive forestry system." They also continued their predecessors call for the establishment of a supervisory corps to protect the forest reservations. [37]

The latter was of most immediate concern to the new Land Department officials. They had reports of "widespread destruction by the woodsman and the still greater devastation wrought by . . . forest fires," as well as sheepherding trespass problems. [38] The General Land Office, however, had no hope of effectively patrolling the forest reserves. Congress had not acted on the request for a protective force, and its small corps of special agents, already spread thin, was further diminished because of reduced appropriations. [39] The consequence, as Secretary Smith pointed out, was that the reserves were no better protected than the unappropriated and unreserved public lands. The situation compelled the Land Department to turn to the War Department for assistance. [40]

The idea of using the military as a constabulary force in the forest reserves had arisen in public timberland policy discussions and debates prior to 1891. [41] The Interior Department had used cavalry troops to protect Yellowstone National Park with good results since 1886, and in 1891 it was able to get patrols assigned to Yosemite, Sequoia, and General Grant national parks in California. [42]

When the Yellowstone National Park Timber Land Reserve was established, Secretary of the Interior John Noble had directed the army commander at the adjacent national park "to assume control [of the reserve] and do any and all things as to the accession as you do in the Park itself." [43] The Army could do little more than send occasional patrols through the 1.2 million acre reserve, and could legally do no more than remove trespassers they happened upon. [44] Yet, while this made the situation at the Yellowstone National Park Timber Land Reserve less than satisfactory, the protection provided was more than that the other reserves had. [45]

The Land Department and others considered using the Army to patrol the other forest reserves but no formal request was made until the summer of 1893. [46] By then, Acting Secretary of the Interior William H. Sims, reacting to a General Land Office call for help, told the secretary of war that he needed army patrols because the Land Department felt powerless to protect the forest reservations. The War Department, while sympathetic, refused the request. It pointed out that in the opinion of its acting judge advocate general, the War Department had no legal authority to use soldiers as a "posse comitatus, or otherwise, for the purpose of executing the laws," except as might be provided by the Constitution or law. Secretary Smith attempted to get the War Department to change its decision, but his effort was of no avail. [47]

With no hope of receiving assistance from the Army, the Land Department, with the assistance of forestry advocates, renewed its call to Congress for some form of protection and administration for the forest reserves. [48] The debate over forest reserve policy in Congress went, as before, nowhere. Land Department officials, however, were not content with the status quo. [49]

The first policy shift came soon after President Cleveland proclaimed the Ashland and Cascade forest reserves in Oregon on September 28, 1893. The Land Department decided not to create any more forest reservations. It made little sense, in the Land Department's mind, to set aside any more reserves until Congress finally provided for their protection and management. [50]

The Land Department's most significant change was its more aggressive stance toward trespass and depredations within the forest reservations. Under Secretary Smith the General Land Office took the position that "the object in creating [the] forest reserves [was] to preserve the lands and timber and undergrowth thereon in a state of nature, as near as possible, and as a conservation for the water supply," and that its only authority was to protect the forest reservations from encroachments and depredations until Congress provided for the proper and judicious use. [51] To do this, the General Land Office, as it told one of its special agents in regard to timber trespass, wanted people to understand that "trespassing on the public lands within these forest reserves will not be tolerated under any pretext, and that those so offending will be prosecuted to the full extent of the law, criminally and civilly." [52]

This policy was formally promulgated in regulations issued on April 14, 1894. Published in local newspapers and posted along forest reserve boundaries, the regulations warned the public against committing depredations and trespass in the forest reservations. No one, it announced, could "settle upon, occupy, or use any of these lands for agricultural, prospecting, mining, or other business purposes." [53] They could not "cut, remove, or use any of the timber, grass, or other natural product," fires were forbidden, and the grazing of livestock was "strictly prohibited." Violators of the regulations, it stated, would be prosecuted for trespass and held financially responsible for any waste and damage—"whether done intentionally or caused by neglect." [54]

The regulations, which simply stated the Land Department's long held policy, was greeted with protest. [55] Stockraising interests were particularly disturbed. [56] California politicians declared that the prohibition would bring "absolute ruin" to the livestock industry and petitioned the Land Department modify its regulations in regard to grazing. [57]

Commissioner Lamoreux was unmoved by such pleas. [58] He contended that the regulations reflected the intent of the Forest Reserve Act that the reserves were to be preserved in their natural state. Until Congress enacted legislation that said otherwise, Lamoreux said, the General Land Office was intent on the rigid enforcement of the regulations of April 14, 1894. [59]

Strict enforcement of the forest reserve regulations was, of course, impossible with its insufficient force of special agents. No sooner was the notice of April 14, 1894, issued than its provisions were openly defied.

In July 1894, for example, it was reported that half the circular notices posted along the Sierra Forest Reserve's west boundary had been torn down by sheep herders. To make matters worse, there were said to be half a million sheep in the reservation, more than anyone had previously remembered seeing. As for the condition of the reserve, it was reported to be "about as bad as it possibly could be, were it not for the tall pine and tamarack trees, which the sheep cannot prey on, it might justly be termed a desert." [60]

The contemptuous attitude of stockmen was a "serious embarrassment" to the General Land Office. When asked in August 1895 if the sheep seen grazing in the Cascade Forest Reserve in Oregon meant the reservation had been excepted from the forest reserve regulations, the General Land Office replied that while the reserve was still closed to grazing, it was unable to enforce the 1894 regulations. [61]

Although the General Land Office's special agents could do little to prevent trespass and depredations, it did not give up hope of enforcing the regulations. There was still another avenue of relief—the federal courts. The prosecution of public land law violators had always been difficult. [62] The General Land Office, however, saw it as the most effective way handling the situation. "Vigorous prosecution . . . ," it was hoped, "if inaugurated and persistently and continuously pushed, case after case, may have some effect" of warning violators from the forest reservations. [63]

The Forest Reserve Act itself stipulated no penalties against trespass or depredations. There were, however, statutes that did provide for fines and imprisonment for trespass upon government reservations. These laws, as well as court rulings that asserted the federal government's right to protect its property like any other owner, provided sufficient authority for Department of Justice to file legal actions. [64]

Suits against timber trespassers were proved particularly successful. A General Land Office official reported in 1896 that timber depredations in the San Bernardino, Trabuco Cañon, and San Gabriel forest reservations in California had nearly stopped because vigorous prosecutions had scared timber cutters with the real possibility of arraignment and imprisonment. [65]

More difficult were grazing trespass cases. The General Land Office perceived grazing—particularly sheep grazing—as the most dangerous threat to the reserves. It claimed sheep did "irreparable damage" by eating "every vestige of green growth as though the ground was swept by fire," and the General Land Office wanted the sheep and other livestock out of the reserves before the animals destroyed them. [66]

The initial suits against stockraisers were filed in California. Special agents of the General Land Office cooperated with the U.S. Attorneys in California in gathering evidence but no convictions were won. The problem, as the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of California reported in 1896, was that a "special agent or a witness sees a band of sheep traversing the reservation, but he is wholly unable to testify, when called to the witness stand, whether the destruction of the young growth was by the band of sheep seen by him or by some preceding band of sheep traversing the same territory." [67]

Better results, however, were achieved in Oregon. The attorney general, at the urging of the Land Department, instructed the U.S. Attorney for Oregon to "vigorously prosecute" all case of grazing trespass. Injunctions against any sheep herders who threatened to go upon the forest reserves were to also be filed, and the penalty of contempt was to be enforced against anyone who violated the orders of the court. [68]

Within months the U.S. Attorney for Oregon, aided by a specially appointed deputy U.S. Marshal, had secured one preliminary injunction and commenced eight criminal prosecutions against stockmen. [69] Then in late September 1896, the U.S. Attorney won a significant victory in the federal circuit court for Oregon. In the matter of United States v. Tygh Valley Land & Live-Stock Co., the court held that there was "no implication of a license to use the [forest reserves] to the destruction or injury of these forests," and reiterated the judicial doctrine that the federal government had the right to protect its interests against the threat of trespass and injury. [70] The Oregon livestock industry could no longer ignore the 1894 forest reservation regulations. [71]

The aggressive and successful prosecution of forest reserve timber depredations and grazing trespasses in California and Oregon by the Department of Justice achieved what the Land Department wanted: the enforcement of the 1894 regulations. However, before similar actions could be pushed elsewhere, Congress, reacting to the "Washington Birthday Reserves" made by President Cleveland, enacted the Forest Management Act of June 4, 1897. The law opened the forest reservations to timber cutting, mining, and by implication, livestock grazing, under rules and regulations prescribed by the secretary of the interior. It also provided for the protection of the reserves from fire and other depredations. The forest reserves now entered a new era of administration. [72]

Forest reserve administration by the Department of the Interior and the General Land Office from 1891-1897 was far from satisfactory. This was largely a consequence of Congress' failure to enact legislation that would have provided for the reasonable and judicious use of forest reservation resources, as well as a sufficient force of guardians to protect the reserves from fire, depredation, and trespass. Still, the Land Department did inaugurate a forest reserve system that not only advanced the concerns of forestry advocates but also safeguarded the interests of local communities. These officials also addressed the policy questions that arose as a consequence of the forest reserve system. Among the most difficult being the supervision of the forest reservations. General Land Office protection, severely hindered by its small force of special agents, proved particularly frustrating, but by 1896 the Land Department's stance toward prosecuting violators had begun to have some affect. Land Department supervision of the forest reserves from 1891 to 1897 proved not to be a time of inactivity and benign neglect, but one of active and concerned administration.

Notes

1. Gifford Pinchot, Breaking New Ground, Reprint (Washington, DC: Island Press, 1987), p. 85.

2. See John Ise, The United States Forest Policy (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1924), pp. 120-139; Jenks Cameron, The Development of Governmental Forest Control in the United States (Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins Press, 1928), 205-207; Harold K. Steen, The U.S. Forest Service: A History (Seattle: University Press of Washington, 1976), pp. 27-34; Lawrence Rakestraw, "A History of Forest Conservation in the Pacific Northwest, 1891-1913," Ph.D. dissertation, University of Washington, 1955: pp. 35-68; Herbert D. Kirkland III, "The American Forests, 1864-1898: A Trend Toward Conservation," Ph.D. dissertation, Florida State University, 1971: pp. 188-246; and Joseph A. Miller, "Congress and the Origins of Conservation: Natural Resource Policies, 1865-1900," Ph.D. dissertation, University of Minnesota, 1973: pp. 300-325.

3. "Land Department" was a term commonly used to denote those officials and bureaus within the Department of the Interior who administered public land matters. This included the secretary of the interior, his assistants, various branch of his office—such as the Lands and Railroads Division—as well as, the commissioner of the General Land Office and his agency. See Joseph R. Rohrer, Questions and Answers on the United States Public Land Laws and Procedure. . . . (Washington, DC: Joseph R. Rohrer, 1912).

4. Ise, Forest Policy, pp. 62-92; Cameron, Development of Governmental Forest Control, pp. 100-118, 158-178; and U.S. Department of the Interior, General Land Office, Annual Report of the Commissioner of the General Land Office for the Fiscal Year Ended June 30, 1890 (Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1890), pp. 80-86. Hereafter cited as GLO Annual Report.

5. GLO Annual Report (1891), p. 55.

6. U.S. Department of the Interior, Annual Report of the Secretary of the Interior for the Fiscal Year Ended June 30, 1891 (Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1891), I: XV. Hereafter cited as Interior Annual Report.

7. Congress substantiated that interpretation by extending the Timber and Stone Act of 1878, which provided for the sale of public lands chiefly valuable for their timber or stone in California, Nevada Oregon, and Washington, to the remaining public land states and territories in 1892. See Act of August 4, 1892 (27 Stat. 348).

8. GLO Commissioner to Detailed GLO Clerk G. V. N. Ogden, 21 September 1891, General Land Office, Division "R", Press Copies of Letters Sent to Registers and Receivers [Special Agents, Secretary of the Interior and Miscellaneous Persons] Concerning Saw Mills, Timber Permits, and Forest Reserves, 1891-1908, Record Group 49, Records of the Bureau of Land Management, National Archives, Washington, D.C. [Hereafter cited as GLO, Div. "R", Letters Sent, RG 49, NA].

9. U.S. Department of the Interior, General Land Office, "Circular of Instructions Relating to Timber Reservations," 15 May 1891, Compilation of Public Timber Laws and Regulations and Decisions Thereunder: Issued January 21, 1897 (Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1897), p. 131.

10. Andrew Denny Rodgers, III, Bernhard Eduard Fernow: A Story of North American Forestry (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1951), p. 199; Miller, "Congress and the Origins of Conservation," p. 281; Interior Annual Report (1891), I: XIII; and Secretary of the Interior Noble to Robert Underwood Johnson, 28 August 1891, in Remembered Yesterdays, by Robert Underwood Johnson (Boston: Little, Brown, and Co., 1923), p. 295.

11. General Land Office, "Circular of Instructions Relating to Timber Reservations," 15 May 1891, Compilation of Public Timber Laws, p. 132; and GLO Commissioner to Special Agent B. F. Allen, 10 October 1891, GLO, Div. "R", Letters Sent, RG 49, NA.

12. Interior Annual Report (1891), I: XV.

13. Secretary of the Interior Noble to President, 25 March 1891, Department of the Interior, Patents and Miscellaneous Division, Miscellaneous Letters Sent, 1894-1908, Record Group 48, Records of the Office of the Secretary of the Interior, NA [Hereafter cited as DOI, P & Misc. Div., Letters Sent, RG 48, NA].

14. During the period 1891 to 1897, the forest reservations were called "Timber Land" and "Forest" reserves. The research found no significance in the differing names. It appears to be simply a change in title. The term "Timber Land" reserve was used from the establishment of the Yellowstone National Park Timber Land Reserve on March 30, 1891, to the creation of the San Gabriel Timber Land Reserve on December 20, 1892. Prior to San Gabriel, the term "Forest Reserve" was used twice—first with the Pecos and then the South Platte. After San Gabriel, the term "Forest Reserve" was consistently used when naming the new forest reservation. All forest reservations were renamed "National Forests" by act of Congress in 1907.

15. Interior Annual Report (1891), I: CXXXVII-CXXXVIII; Eliza Ruhamah Scidmore, "Our New National Forest Reserves," Century Magazine 46 (September 1893): 795; Thomas G. Manning, Government in Science: The U.S. Geological Survey, 1867-1894 (Lexington: University of Kentucky Press, 1967), pp. 155-165; and Aubrey L. Haines, The Yellowstone Story, 2 vols. (Boulder: Colorado Associated University Press, 1977), II: 94-95.

16. See correspondence in files for Santa Fe National Forest, Pike's Peak National Forest, and White River National Forest, GLO, DIV. "R", National Forest Files, RG 49, NA; GLO Commissioner to Secretary of the Interior, 18 January 1893, GLO, Div. "R", Letters Sent, RG 49, NA; Edgar T. Ensign, "Forest Reserves of the Western Mountain Region," Proceedings of the American Forestry Association at the Tenth, Eleventh, and Twelfth Annual Meetings, Washington, December, 1891, 1892, and 1893, and at the World's Fair Congress, Chicago, October 18 and 19, 1893, Vol. 10 (Washington, DC: American Forestry Association, 1894), pp. 116-122; and Lawrence W. Rakestraw, A History of the United States Forest Service in Alaska (Anchorage: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, 1981), p. 10.

17. There were limits to this broad interpretation of the Forest Reserve Act. When it was proposed that the "Petrified Forest" in Arizona be set aside under that law, the General Land Office convinced the secretary of the interior that it was not the character of "forest" contemplated by the act. Assistant GLO Commissioner to Secretary of the Interior, 14 February 1893, GLO, Division "E" Press Copy Letters Sent to Surveyors General [and Others], 1872-1908, RG 49, NA; Scidmore, "Our New National Forest Reserves," p. 795; and Ensign, "Forest Reserves," p. 119.

18. Interior Annual Report (1891), I: XV; Ibid. (1892), I: IV; Rakestraw, "History of Forest Conservation in the Pacific Northwest," pp. 35-53; Douglas H. Strong, "The Sierra Forest Reserve: The Movement to Preserve the San Joaquin Valley Watershed," The California Historical Society Quarterly 46 (March 1967): 5-13; GLO Annual Report (1893), p. 78; and the General Land Office final reports for forest reservations in GLO, Div. "R", Letters Sent, RG 49, NA.

19. The Yellowstone National Park, White River Plateau, and Battlement Mesa forest reservations were all established by Secretary of the Interior Noble without benefit of reports from special agents.

20. The investigation of potential forest reservations was time-consuming. Examination of many areas—often covering hundreds-of-thousands, and at times millions, of acres—took weeks, sometime months, to complete. During that time the potential forest reserves were threatened with being overrun by settlers, speculators, and others before the lands were withdrawn by presidential proclamation. The situation prompted the Land Department to adopt a policy of making "temporary" withdrawals of the public lands selected for examination. These temporary withdrawals withheld the public lands affected from entry and location, and allowed the Land Department to maintain the status quo in an area until its final deposition was determined. See Pike's Peak Park (20 July 1891) in Decisions of the Department of the Interior and General Land Office in Cases Relating to the Public Lands, U.S. Department of the Interior (Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1892), Vol. 13, p. 54-55 [Hereafter cited as L.D.]; Battlement Mesa Forest Reserve, 16 L.D. 190-192 (25 January 1893); and GLO Commissioner to W. B. Harlan, Como, Montana, 28 September 1891; GLO Commissioner to Secretary of the Interior, 16 February 1892; and GLO Commissioner to Secretary of the Interior, 23 January 1893, GLO, Div. "R", Letters Sent, RG 49, NA.

21. General Land Office, "Circular of Instructions Relating to Timber Reservations," 15 May 1891, Compilation of Public Timber Laws, p. 131-133.

22. GLO Commissioner to Senator Henry Teller, 2 April 1892, GLO, Div. "R", Letters Sent, RG 49, NA.

23. GLO Commissioner to Special Agent Edgar T. Ensign, 19 October 1891; GLO Commissioner to Special Agent M. J. Haley, 11 January 1892, Ibid.

24. GLO Commissioner to Secretary of the Interior, 28 January 1892; and GLO Commissioner to Secretary of the Interior, 18 January 1893, Ibid.

25. See the discussions regarding this principle in Military Reservation—Entry—Power of President, 1 L.D. 30 (15 July 1881); Albert White, 1 L.D. 451, 452 (10 February 1881); Fort Maginnis, 1 L.D. 552 (21 October 1881); Staltz v. White Spirit et al., 10 L.D. 144 (11 February 1890); Emma F. Zumwalt, 20 L.D. 32 (19 January 1895).

26. See discussions in Military Reservation—Entry——Power of President, 1 L.D. 30 (15 July 1881); Rees v. Churchill, 1 L.D. 450 (4 January 1882); and Jefferson Davenport, 16 L.D. 526 (16 June 1893).

27. GLO Commissioner to J. W. Ryder, Hayden, Colorado, 2 December 1891; and GLO Commissioner to Register and Receiver, Glenwood Springs Land Office, Colorado, 10 December 1891, GLO, Div. "R", Letters Sent, RG 49, NA.

28. GLO Commissioner to Secretary of the Interior, 29 January 1892; GLO Commissioner to Register and Receiver, Glenwood Springs Land Office, Colorado, 20 February 1891, GLO, Div. "R", Letters Sent, RG 49, NA; Secretary of the Interior to GLO Commissioner, 2 February 1892, Department of the Interior, Lands and Railroads Division, Letters Sent by the Lands and Railroads Division of the Office of the Secretary of the Interior, Microfilm Publication M620, Record Group 48: Records of the Office of the Secretary of the Interior, NA [Hereafter cited as DOI, L&RR, Letters Sent, RG 48, NAI; GLO Commissioner to Secretary of the Interior, 13 January 1892, GLO, Div. "R", National Forest Files, Bitterroot National Forest, RG 49, NA; and Battlement Mesa Forest Reserve, 16 L.D. 190 (25 January 1893).

29. GLO Commissioner to Secretary of the Interior, 24 November 1891, and GLO Commissioner to Secretary of the Interior, 22 March 1892, GLO, Div. "R", Letters Sent, RG 49, NA; American Forestry Association, Proceedings of the Tenth, Eleventh, and Twelfth Annual Meetings (1894), 14-15; Rodgers, Fernow, p. 157; and Kirkland, "The American Forests," pp. 191-194.

30. Interior Annual Report (1891), I: XIV; Rodgers, Fernow, p. 157; Kirkland, "The American Forests," p. 190; and Steen, U.S. Forest Service, p. 28.

31. Kirkland, "The American Forests," pp. 189-190; Secretary of the Interior to Chairman, House of Representative Committee on Public Lands, 13 January 1892, and Secretary of the Interior to Chairman, Senate Committee on Public Lands, 13 January 1892, DOI, L&RR, Letters Sent, RG 48, NA; and Instructions, 15 L.D. 284-285 (10 September 1892).

32. Noble's sentiment as to the use of discretionary authority is best illustrated by his remarks regarding the regulations for the Timber Permit Act of 1891. See Interior Annual Report (1891), I: XIV; and "Address of Hon. John W. Noble, Secretary of the Interior," Forest Leaves 3 (March 1892): 114.

33. GLO Commissioner to Secretary of the Interior, 24 November 1891; and GLO Commissioner to Secretary of the Interior, 6 July 1892, GLO, Div. "R", Letters Sent, RG 49, NA.

34. Secretary of the Interior to Chairman, House of Representative Committee on Public Lands, 13 January 1892, and Secretary of the Interior to Chairman, Senate Committee on Public Lands, 13 January 1892, DOI, L&RR Letters Sent, RG 48, NA; and Interior Annual Report (1892), I: V.

35. The restrictions did not apply to travel through or hunting and fishing in the reserves. See Secretary of the Interior to GLO Commissioner, 15 July 1892, DOI, L&RR, Letters Sent, RG 48, NA; and Acting GLO Commissioner to Editor, The Avalanche, Glenwood Springs, Colorado, 2 November 1891; GLO Commissioner to Secretary of the Interior, 6 July 1892; and GLO Commissioner to E. W. Parker, White Oaks, New Mexico, 8 February 1893, GLO, Div. "R", Letters Sent, RG 49, NA.

36. The extent of the new administration's support is illustrated by the appointment of Edward A. Bowers as assistant commissioner of the General Land Office. Bowers was a leading forestry advocate and prominent member of the American Forestry Association. He had also worked as a special agent in the General Land Office, and in that capacity outlined a timberlands policy for the public domain. Ise, Forest Policy, pp. 95, 111; Rodgers, Fernow, pp. 154-156; Steen, U.S. Forest Service, pp. 26, 39-40; Scidmore, "Our New National Forest Reserves," p. 797; U.S. Congress, House of Representatives, Committee on Public Lands, Public Timber Lands, Ex. Doc. 242, 50th Congress, 1st sess., 1888.

37. Interior Annual Report (1893), I: IX, LX-LXI; and GLO Annual Report (1893), p. 79.

38. Ibid.

39. In fiscal year 1893 the General Land Office had responsibility for 571 million acres of unappropriated and unreserved public lands (exclusive of Alaska), as well as the 13 million acres of forest reserves. To investigate frauds, illegal fencing, timber depredations, and other problems on these lands it had 82 part-time special agents, 13 less than the previous year. The 1894 budget allowed for only 40 special agents, and the number of special agents remained around that number through 1897. See GLO Annual Report (1892), p. 390; Ibid. (1893), pp. 78, 135, 301; Ibid. (1894), p. 435; Ibid. (1895), p. 399; Ibid. (1896), p. 368; and Ibid. (1897), p. 349.

40. Interior Annual Report (1893), p. LXI.

41. GLO Annual Report (1890), p. 82; Kirkland, "The American Forests," p. 147, 198.

42. GLO Annual Report (1890), p. 82; Kirkland, "The American Forests," pp. 147, 198; and H. Duane Hampton, How the U.S. Cavalry Saved Our National Parks (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1971), pp. 81-112, 146-151.

43. Secretary of the Interior Noble to Captain George Anderson, Acting Superintendent, Yellowstone National Park, 14 April 1891, DOI, P & M Div., Letters Sent, RG 48, NA.

44. Haines, The Yellowstone Story, II: 95; and Captain George S. Anderson, Acting Superintendent Yellowstone National Park to W. P. Couper, Chief, Patents and Miscellaneous Division, Department of the Interior, 1 November 1895, GLO, Div. "R", National Forest Files, Yellowstone National Forest, RG 49, NA.

45. When possible the General Land Office did send special agents and other officials to investigate problems in forest reserves. See for example GLO Commissioner to Special Agent Edgar T. Ensign, 25 March 1892, GLO, Div. "R", Letters Sent, RG 49, NA; and Acting Secretary of the Interior to GLO Commissioner, 23 June 1893, DOI, L&RR, Letters Sent, RG 48, NA.

46. Interior Annual Report (1891), I: XV; and Ibid. (1892), I: V; Secretary of the Interior to Chairman, Senate Committee on Public Lands, 13 January 1892, DOI, L&RR, Letters Sent, RG 48, NA; GLO Commissioner to Secretary of the Interior, 24 November 1891; GLO Commissioner to Secretary of the Interior, 6 July 1892; GLO Commissioner to Secretary of the Interior, 26 January 1893, GLO, Div. "R", Letters Sent, RG 49, NA; F. D. W. French, "The Forests and the Army," Garden and Forest 6 (22 February 1893): 95-96; and U.S. Congress, Senate, Committee on Public Lands, Report to Accompany S. 3235, Senate Report 1002, 52d Cong., 1st sess., 1892, pp. 11-12.

47. Acting Secretary of the Interior to Secretary of War, 20 July 1893 and Secretary of the Interior to Secretary of War, 16 August 1893, P & Misc. Div., Letters Sent, RG 48, NA; Assistant GLO Commissioner to Secretary of the Interior, 23 June 1893; Acting Secretary of War to Secretary of the Interior, 27 July 1893; Chief, Patents and Miscellaneous Division, "Memorandum for the First Assistant Secretary," n.d.; Acting Judge Advocate General to Secretary of War, 23 August 1893; Acting Secretary of War to Secretary of the Interior, 28 August 1893; Assistant Attorney General to Secretary of the Interior, 16 September 1893; P & Misc. Div., Records Relating to Forest Reserves, RG 48, NA; and Interior Annual Report (1893), I: LX-LXI.

48. In spite of the War Department's ruling, the Department of the Interior was able to have troops at Yellowstone National Park continue patrolling the adjacent Yellowstone National Park Timber Land Reserve. The patrols, which were extended to include the Teton Forest Reserve set aside in 1897, did not end until 1902. Haines, The Yellowstone Story, II: 95, 97.

49. Interior Annual Report (1893), I: LXI; Ibid. (1894), I: XVIII, LXXI-XCIII; Ibid., (1895), I: XXII, LXIII-LXIV; Ibid., (1896), I: XVI; GLO Annual Report (1893), p. 79; Ibid. (1896), pp. 71, 73; Ise, United States Forest Policy, pp. 122-128; and Miller, "Congress and the Origins of Conservation," pp. 300-307.

50. In many respects this was a continuation of a policy adopted by the Harrison Administration in its last weeks. See Assistant GLO Commissioner to George H. Parsons, Colorado Springs, Colorado, 5 October 1893, GLO, Div. "R", Letters Sent, RG 49, NA; Interior Annual Report (1895), I: LXIII; Ise, Forest Policy, p. 120; Rakestraw, "History of Forest Conservation in the Pacific Northwest," p. 54; and Scidmore, "Our New National Forest Reserves", p. 796.

51. Acting GLO Commissioner to S. C. Smith, Bakersfield, California, 28 March 1893; GLO Commissioner to Secretary of the Interior, 1 August 1894; and Acting GLO Commissioner to Secretary of the Interior, 5 June 1896, GLO, Div. "R", Letters Sent, RG 49, NA.

52. GLO Commissioner to Special Agent C. G. Coleman, 11 August 1893, Ibid. Also See Assistant GLO Commissioner to Special Agent Frank Powell, 18 November 1893, Ibid.; and Special Agent Frank Powell to GLO Commissioner, 25 November 1893, GLO, Div. "R", National Forest Files, Gifford Pinchot National Forest, RG 49, NA.

53. By the Act of February 20, 1896 (29 Stat. 11), the Pike's Peak, Plum Creek, and South Platte forest reserves were opened to mining.

54. General Land Office, "Notice," 14 April 1894, Compilation of Public Timber Laws, pp. 133-134.

55. It should be noted under Sections 18-21 of the Act of March 3, 1891, private companies could receive rights-of-way to construct reservoirs, ditches, and canals needed for irrigation purposes. The law, which applied to public lands and government reservations, was amended in 1896 to include electric power generation purposes. No applications under the law were made in the forest reserves until 1893. The rights-of-way could not "interfere with the proper occupation [of the reservations] by the Government," which prompted Secretary of the Interior Hoke Smith in 1895 to stipulate that companies granted easements could not take any timber from outside the area of their reservoirs or water ways. See Act of March 3, 1891 (26 Stat. 1095, 1101-1102); Act of May 14, 1896 (29 Stat. 120); H. H. Sinclair et al., 18 L.D. 573 (7 March 1894); Hamilton Irrigation Co., 21 L.D. 300 (18 October 1895); and GLO Commissioner to Secretary of the Interior, 2 March 1893, DOI, L&RR, Letters Received, 1881-1907, File 1893-2357, RG 48, NA.

56. Frederick V. Coville, Forest Growth and Sheep Grazing in the Cascade Mountains of Oregon, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Division of Forestry, Bulletin No. 15 (1898): 10-11; and William D. Rowley, U.S. Forest Service Grazing and Rangelands: A History (College Station: Texas A&M University Press, 1985), p. 24.

57. California State Senator G. G. Goucher to U.S. Senator Stephen M. White, 10 May 1894; Senator Stephen M. White to Secretary of the Interior, 17 May 1894, GLO, Div. "R", National Forest Files, Sierra National Forest, RG 49, NA.

58. Commissioner Lamoreux took a more lenient attitude toward mining activity. When Oregon Congressman Binger Hermann petitioned that the Cascade Forest Reserve be opened to prospecting and mining, Lamoreux recommended that the reserve's proclamation be modified to permit the location and entry of mineral lands under the mining laws. Secretary Hoke Smith, however, opposed opening the forest reservations to any form of entry and disposal and refused to consider Congressman Hermann's request. See GLO Commissioner to Secretary of the Interior, 31 May 1894, GLO, Div. "R", Letters Sent, RG 49, NA; and Secretary of the Interior to GLO Commissioner, 16 June 1894, DOI, L&RR, Letters Sent, RG 48, NA.

59. This policy stance shows that the Land Department under Secretary Hoke Smith had a narrower interpretation of the Forest Reserve Act than during John Noble's tenure. GLO Commissioner to Secretary of the Interior, 1 August 1894, GLO, Div. "R", Letters Sent, RG 49, NA.

60. Captain James Parker, Acting Superintendent, Sequoia National Park to Secretary of the Interior, 10 July 1894, GLO, Div. "R", National Forest Files, Sierra National Forest, RG 49, NA.

61. Acting GLO Commissioner to Secretary of the Interior, 23 August 1895, GLO, Div. "R", Letters Sent, RG 49, NA; GLO Annual Report (1895), pp. 85-86; and Interior Annual Report (1895), I: XXII.

62. See Homer Cummings and Carl McFarland, Federal Justice: Chapters in the History of Justice and the Federal Executive (New York: The Macmillan Co., 1937), pp. 260-269; and Harold H. Dunham, Government Handout: A Study in the Administration of the Public Lands, 1875-1891 (New York: Da Capo Press, 1970), pp. 261-274.

63. Acting GLO Commissioner to Secretary of the Interior, 14 July 1896; and Acting GLO Commissioner to Secretary of the Interior, 16 August 1894, GLO, Div. "R", Letters Sent, RG 49 NA.

64. Act of March 3, 1891 (26 Stat. 1095, 1103); Act of March 2, 1831 (4 Stat. 472); and Act of March 3, 1875 (18 Stat. 481).

65. Detailed Clerk J. R. Hampton to GLO Commissioner, 25 March 1896, GLO, Div. "R", National Forest Files, Cleveland National Forest, RG 49, NA; Detailed Clerk J. R. Hampton to GLO Commissioner, 1 April 1896, GLO, Div. "R", National Forest Files, San Bernardino National Forest, RG 49, NA; and Detailed Clerk J. R. Hampton to GLO Commissioner, 3 April 1896, GLO, Div. "R", National Forest Files, San Gabriel National Forest, RG 49, NA.

66. Assistant GLO Commissioner to Secretary of the Interior, 23 June 1893; GLO Commissioner to Secretary of the Interior, 1 August 1894; GLO Commissioner to Secretary of the Interior, 26 June 1895; and Acting GLO Commissioner to Secretary of the Interior, 5 June 1896, GLO, Div. "R", Letters Sent, RG 49, NA.

67. United States Attorney, Southern District of California to J. R. Hampton, Detailed GLO Clerk, 7 March 1896, GLO, Div. "R", National Forest Files, San Bernardino National Forest, RG 49, NA.

68. Secretary of the Interior to Attorney General, 22 July 1896, DOI, L&RR, Letters Sent, RG 49, NA; and Attorney General to U.S. Attorney for Oregon, 10 January 1896, Department of Justice, Letters Sent by the Department of Justice: Instructions to U.S. Attorneys and Marshals, Microfilm Publication No. 701, Record Group 60: Records of the Department of Justice, NA [Hereafter cited as DOJ and RG 60].

69. U.S. Attorney for Oregon to Attorney General, 3 September 1896, DOJ, Year Files, 1884-1903, File 1895-8757, RG 60, NA.

70. United State v. Tygh Valley Land & Live-Stock Co., 76 F. 693. 695 (1896) concerned a pleading of demurrer. The defendant claimed in affect that even if the allegations made as to grazing trespass were correct, the legal consequences were not such that required them to be answered or for the proceeding to continue. The trespass complaint against the Tygh Valley Live-Stock Company, therefore, still had to be tried.

71. Coville, Forest Growth and Sheep Grazing in the Cascade Mountains, p. 11; and Lawrence Rakestraw, "Sheep Grazing in the Cascade Range: John Minto vs. John Muir," Pacific Historical Review 27 (November 1958): 374-375.

72. Act of June 4, 1897 (30 Stat. 11, 34-36).



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