The National Forests of the Northern Region
Living Legacy—

Chapter 15
Working With Others

State, private, and other Federal lands are contiguous to and often intermingled with national forest lands. These "alienated lands" have a significant impact on the management of the national forests and occasion the need for cooperative efforts in the protection and management of forest resources of every kind. The multiple uses of forest resources also have required the development of cooperative management and resource utilization.

The following studies are intended to exemplify the cooperative work of the Forest Service in the Northern Region. They include cooperative fire prevention and control, elk habitat and herd management programs, the Greater Yellowstone Association, grazing associations, cooperative research, and the Job Corps programs.

Cooperative Fire Prevention and Control

Fire has been a preeminent element in the management of the national forests in Region 1. John Mumma (who began his Forest Service career in Colorado in 1962 and served as a wildlife biologist, staff officer, and district ranger in Region 3 before assuming staff and supervisory duties in Region 4) became Regional Forester for the Northern Region in February 1988, only a few months before the beginning of one of the most destructive fire seasons of all time. Many rank the 1988 fire season with that of 1910. Regardless, Mumma said later that it was "one that will not soon be forgotten." By November, "when snows had dampened the last flames," he said, "the fires had burned more than 571,000 acres of national forest land in Montana, northern Idaho, and the western Dakotas....More than 988,000 additional acres had burned in Yellowstone National Park." Mumma extended appreciation to the thousands of State, county, city, and rural firefighters who cooperated in battling the blazes. [1] Cooperation, however, has not always been characteristic of firefighting.

In the past, public and private organizations with overlapping forest lands went their own way in matters related to fire control. George T. Morgan has said that in the early years of Region 1, "the most pressing problem...was the deficient system of fire protection." Private, State, and Federal holdings were intermingled throughout the region; each interest was almost solely concerned with protecting its own lands, to the obvious detriment of comprehensive fire control. [2] The Forest Service became a catalyst in the development of cooperative fire protection and control programs soon after it became established in the Northern Region.

Hero of 1910 Fire Edward L. Pulaski, District Ranger, Coeur d'Alene, Idaho. Pulaski developed the forestry hand tool that bears his name.

Region 1 was unique in its inception of cooperative firefighting initiatives. In most of the Western States, the Forest Service and the States each maintained exclusive firefighting organizations and jurisdictional areas. The responsibility for forest fire control generally fell to State forestry agencies for State and private land and the appropriate Federal bureau for Federal land. Only in a disastrous fire season did private timberland owners and State and Federal forest firefighters begin working together. However, the northern Rocky Mountain area had a different history.

In Region 1, particularly in northern Idaho, fire control on private lands began as a private matter, but soon extended to Federal lands. According to Alfred D. Folweiler (who later became head of the Texas Forest Service) and A.A. Brown in their critical study Fire in the Forests of United States, private landowners in the Idaho panhandle were "compelled to band into mutual protection associations before there was any public recognition of the need for assistance to private owners." Private protective fire associations were organized in Oregon, Washington, Idaho, and Montana. According to George Morgan, the Coeur d'Alene and Clearwater Timber Protective Associations were organized in 1906, the Potlatch Timber Protective Association the following year, and the Pend Oreille Timber Protective Association and the North Idaho Forestry Association in 1908. [3] Thus, at the time when Region 1 was being organized under the auspices of the National Forest Service, associations were providing the only fire control services available in the region. Unfortunately, insufficient funds plagued the private fire control associations, as many landowners refused to join and accept the required assessment.

William B. Greeley, the first Regional Forester, realized the value and importance of the private protective associations and, beginning in May and June 1909, developed cooperative agreements between the associations and the Forest Service. One important element in these cooperative agreements involved the preparation of maps indicating the contiguous property holdings of national forests and the lumber industry. [4]

The Forest Service, the States, and the private associations divided responsibility for fire control and shared authority and costs for combatting fire. During the terrible fire season of 1910, $52,000 in cooperative firefighting costs incurred under the agreements were prorated between private and Federal authorities. The Weeks Law of 1911 greatly facilitated the development of cooperative fire protection by authorizing and funding the establishment of State forest and fire protection agencies and legislation. Idaho, according to George Morgan, led all States in the development of the protective association concept. [5]

The 1913 fire plan for the Coeur d'Alene National Forest, for example, included cooperative agreements among the private associations (usually timber company lands), private landowners (including farmers), and the Forest Service. The Coeur d'Alene deployed 10 fire protection units while the Coeur d'Alene Forest Protective Association maintained six fire patrolmen and one lookout in the field, Under the agreements, fires were fought by combined Forest Service and private association personnel on both public and private lands. Thus, in 1913, of the 61 fires fought by Coeur d'Alene National Forest personnel, 29 were on the forest and 32 were on private lands. In that year, the Clearwater Forest Protective Association shouldered $504.60 in firefighting costs, and the Forest Service $357.26. [6]

In 1924, the Clarke-McNary Act, which stressed cooperation and voluntary fire control, passed Congress. Among its provisions, the act provided financial support for fire protection to the States and the private associations. It also enabled the States and the Forest Service to provide fire protection through "offset" procedures; that is, when such practices improved protection, private land could be protected by Forest Service crews and Government lands could be protected by private crews.

The five protective fire associations operating in northern Idaho in the 1920's included the Clearwater, Potlatch, Coeur d'Alene (which combined with the St. Joe Association in 1921), Pend Oreille, and Priest Lake. The two associations in Montana were the Blackfoot Forest Protective Association and the Northern Montana Forest Protective Association. The Idaho Forestry Law of 1925 required owners of forest lands to maintain adequate fire protection or to be taxed by the State for fire services. This greatly stimulated both the expansion of protective fire associations and the cooperation between the private associations and State and Federal forest managers. [7]

The Forest Service became the monitor, or supervisor, of the protective associations in this period. Key association organizers and liaisons included Les Tarbet and Ralph Hanson (Blackfoot), Burt and Maurice Boorman (Northern Montana), Lee White (Priest Lake), and Bert Curtis and Mick Kopang (Clearwater). Progress in reducing acreage burned, however, was slow. In one ranger district, more than 90 percent of the fires during a 5-year period began in slash or cut-over areas. [8]

Throughout the history of forest management in the region, fire has ranked as perhaps the most significant factor. The role of the protective associations was particularly important in the years before World War II, between 1908 and 1935. Their role began to decline in the 1930's as firefighting techniques and equipment became more costly and as depression-era timber income plummeted. Concurrently, the Forest Service became better financed and protection boundaries were redefined. In addition, the Civilian Conservation Corps assisted immeasurably in fire control work in the 1930's. In their day, however, the protective associations had been very important. Ralph S. Space recalled that he was initiated into forest firefighting as a smokechaser for the Clearwater Timber Protective Association in 1919. Ralph L. Hand remembers that in 1932 the Coeur d'Alene Timber Protective Association was dissolved, and according to Dean R. Harrington, the Forest Service assumed responsibility for the Potlatch Lumber Company Fire Protective Association in that decade. Most, but not all protective associations terminated in the 1930's, although the Orogrande Forest Protective District was cooperating with the Clearwater National Forest as late as 1947. [9]

Later, the Forest Service extended cooperative fire control to a broader base. Cooperative agreements such as those consummated in 1937 between the Blackfoot Forest Protective Association, the Northern Montana Forest Protective Association, the Priest Lake Timber Protective Association, the National Park Service, the U.S. Indian Service, and the States of Montana and Idaho helped create a genuinely "regional" fire-protection program. In addition, the "Keep Green" campaigns and tree-farm movements begun in the early 1940's helped sustain the spirit of cooperative forestry and cooperative fire control programs. However, not everyone believed in cooperative fire protection. Sanders County, Montana, for example, obtained an injunction against the State of Montana after the State approved a fire-protection assessment law. The county refused to participate until all private land in the county was inventoried and classified. The state forester's office under Rutledge Parker solved the problem by using timber-type maps, aerial photos, and the technical assistance of the Forest Service. [10]

One of the most fascinating epochs in cooperative fire control in the region began as early as 1917 when, at the request of the Forest Service, the Army Air Corps began flying fire patrols over Western forests. Major Hap Arnold, for example, flew fire patrol in the Northern Region as an Army pilot in 1920. After initial successes in California, flights began over the forests in Washington, Oregon, Idaho, and Montana. The Northern Region initiated its own aerial observation program in the summer of 1925, when Howard R. Flint and Lieutenants Nick Mamer and R.T. Freng of the Air Corps Reserve began patrols out of Spokane, Washington. Region 1 also began to contract with private flying services, such as the Johnson Flying Service in Missoula, for fire patrol services and, in 1938, the Forest Service purchased its own aircraft for surveillance. [11] Air patrols and aerial fire fighting have remained prominent in the region's fire control programs.

Smokejumping, a firefighting technique closely identified with the region, benefited from cooperation with the armed services. U.S. Army staff officers asked to visit the parachute training camp at Missoula to learn techniques for smokejumping and to obtain technical data and ideas for training paratroopers at Fort Benning, Georgia. The region also trained military inductees such as the conscientious objectors during World War II in smokejumping techniques, and the U.S. Marine Corps loaned the region military aircraft for smokejumping missions. During the late 1950's, the region provided smokejumper services for Yellowstone National Park (National Park Service) and training programs for the Bureau of Land Management and the Province of Saskatchewan, Canada. Later, in the 1960's, regional expertise in smokejumping and recovery missions were used in training recovery crews for the X-15 rocket missions. [12]

About 1950, the region began to employ organized fire crews made up of members of the Zuni Tribe from the Southwest. Later, Native American crews from reservations within the region were formed. Interregional fire-suppression crews, including units of the National Park Service and Region 1 and 4, were first established in 1961. Cooperation with State authorities was always a prerequisite of effective fire protection and management. Plus, the Johnson Flying Service of Missoula, Montana, had a long and close relationship with the Northern Region in fire protection and rescue. [13]

Cooperation began very early in the region and improved as the years passed. A general functional inspection of fire control on the Kootenai National Forest in 1959 indicated cooperation by forest rangers with the state forester's office in monitoring questionable practices by small sawmill operators located on adjoining private lands. On the Kootenai, fire protection was particularly difficult because of 516,886 acres of alienated land inside the fire protection boundaries. [14]

Research programs were conducted by the Research Branch of the Forest Service, specifically the Fire Research Division of the Northern Rocky Mountain Forest and Range Experiment Station. Much of this work, under the direction of Harry T. Gisborne, was done in cooperation with Region 1 fire control and national forest personnel. The tireless efforts of Jack Barrows, who joined Gisborne's Northern Rocky Mountain Station fire research staff in 1946, led to the establishment of the Northern Forest Fire Laboratory at Missoula. The story of fire research has been chronicled by Charles E. (Mike) Hardy in The Gisborne Era of Forest Fire Research: Legacy of a Pioneer (April 1983). Hardy served on the staff of the Northern Forest Fire Laboratory at the Intermountain Forest and Range Experiment Station for almost 22 years, working much of that time on refining the fire-danger rating system designed by Gisborne and his research staff. [15] (See also Chapter 7.)

Cooperation in fire or other work requires continuing effort and hard work by the Forest Service and participating public and private agencies. Over 6.5 million acres of State and private lands were enrolled in cooperative fire protection programs with the Forest Service during the 1970's and 1980's. [16]

Cooperation in Wildlife Management: Elk

Wild animals ignore boundaries imposed by human land ownership; thus, protection and management of wildlife requires the continuing cooperation of Federal, State, and private landholders. The fight to protect and preserve the grizzly bear in the Northern Region may command the headlines and generate public sentiment, but it is the elk that has been the bellwether species in the northern Rocky Mountains. Along with timber, North American elk are the most important resource of the mountains and forests of the Northern Region and often are a cause celebre in disputes about its habits and habitat.

Elk were once found from the Atlantic to the Pacific coasts and from Mexico to Alaska, "in habitats that included hardwood and coniferous forests, grasslands, and arid deserts. Today, elk are restricted to a much smaller geographic area and less diverse habitats." Whereas the elk was once principally a grasseater on the plains, it "readily adapted to forbs and shrubs when forced into the mountains." On the winter ranges of the Northern Region, grass holds little grazing value because it is buried beneath deep snow for much of the year; instead, brush and tree foliage are consumed by the elk in winter. The critical winter range for elk are the foothills, south slopes, and river bottoms. A migratory species, it may have home ranges of from 5 to 2,000 square miles. Both unpredictable and habitual, elk seem to delight in presenting contradictions. [17]

While States have authority for management and harvest of wild game, the Federal Government owns most of the land that serves as wildlife habitat, and private landowners control most of the remaining habitat. Thus, cooperation between Federal, State, and private land managers in game management and protection is essential. The story of the elk reflects the nature of cooperative fish and game programs in the Northern Region.

A scientific study of the elk was conducted by the Forest Service and the Biological Survey beginning in 1911. In 1917, Forest Service Chief Henry S. Graves and Biological Survey Chief Dr. E.W. Nelson personally took part in elk studies in the Northern Region and produced the Graves-Nelson Report of 1917. This report recommended, among other things, a long-range, intensive study of the elk, its habits, habitat, and life history. W.M. Rush subsequently conducted such a survey between December 1, 1928, and April 1, 1932. The study was funded jointly by private contributions, the Forest Service, the National Park Service, and the Montana State Game Commission. The Montana Fish and Game Commission published the report in 1932. [18]

Rush's study eliminated much of the guessing about the harvest, forage, and habitat of the elk, and produced more effective game-management programs. He advised new harvest quotas, improved licensing procedures, and removal of domestic livestock from winter elk ranges to ensure adequate elk forage. The study stressed the necessity for interagency cooperation: "It is also mandatory upon the Forest Service," Rush advised, "to cooperate with State fish and game authorities to secure the best utilization of the game resources of the forest areas." [19]

Following the implementation of protective management programs, the elk herds of the Northern Region, and particularly those of the greater Yellowstone area, continued to expand.

Although cooperation among various public and private interests contributed to the success of wildlife management programs, disagreements did occur. The Northern Region Retirees History Advisory Committee expressed it thusly:

To plant more elk involved livestock organizations and organized sportsmen in serious controversy. The controversy was heightened with the continuing problems of too many elk in the Northern Yellowstone herd. Sportsmen groups, the Montana Fish, Game and Parks Department, and others strongly supported more transplants to the National Forests. The region opposed more transplants except in some limited areas. In order to cope with too many elk and severe damage to resources within the Park, the Park Service was forced to reduce the herd by shooting within the Park [in the early 1950's]. The public outcry was fierce. The Park Service was soon forced to stop killing within the Park. Some sportsmen's groups (Butte-Anaconda) insisted on more elk transplants and removal of all livestock where there was conflict. The Forest Service and the State Fish and Game Department were in controversy. Controversy gradually lessened as the two agencies working together applied more scientific [management] methods. [20]

The resolution of elk transplant problems in the 1950's evolved into new controversy relating to roadbuilding, timber harvest, and elk preservation in the 1960's.

Outdoorsmen began to become concerned that the increase in roadbuilding and the larger timber harvest might result in the depletion of elk herds. The Montana Fish and Game Commission announced in 1968 that it "vigorously opposed the Forest Service roadbuilding program where these roads would make travel more accessible into key elk areas" including calving grounds and winter and summer ranges. [21] Local chapters of the Montana Wildlife Federation supported limited access as well. Subsequently, George Engler, Lewis and Clark National Forest Supervisor initiated a region-wide program to gather information about elk, timber harvest, and roadbuilding. In cooperation with the Montana Fish and Game Department and the School of Forestry at the University of Montana, several hundred selected units on seven national forests were studied. Records of elk harvest, type of season, acres of clearcut, and miles of road built were analyzed and, although the results were mixed, several units were identified as areas to be closely monitored to determine if timber harvest and roadbuilding did in fact contribute to a downward trend in elk harvest. [22]

The Bureau of Land Management joined the study in 1971 and, pending the results of the study, the region elected to close some roads to prevent elk habitats from becoming heavily used by people. The management of winter habitat became a major concern, and it was determined that large segments of the Gallatin and Northern Yellowstone elk herds did winter on national forest lands. The Gallatin National Forest adopted a management program in cooperation with and coordinated with "four agencies in wildlife management and five organized wildlife groups" to manage the 1,900-head elk herd located in the Gallatin River Canyon. The Forest identified approximately 95,000 acres as elk range, with 51,400 acres of that being critical winter range. On the winter elk range, greater protection was extended by limiting snowmobile travel to "trails only." [23]

A cooperative agreement for the management of the Northern Yellowstone elk herd entered into by the National Park Service, the Montana Fish and Game Department, and the USDA Forest Service recognized the "very different, equally valid land use objectives of the others." Each agency agreed to provide part of the necessary biological data and, annually, "field personnel of each agency prepared recommendations, based upon their studies, for the administrators." From these reports, recommendations were forwarded to the Montana Fish and Game Commission for the establishment of hunting seasons and quotas. [24]

Douglas Houston, author of a 1982 elk management study, suggested expanding fire management in Yellowstone National Park to include the entire northern elk range. This would require a cooperative agreement with the Gallatin National Forest, similar to agreements in effect between Yellowstone National Park and the Bridger-Teton and Shoshone National Forests of Region 4. These agreements essentially permitted fires originating in the park to spread into the national forests as a mechanism for enhancing elk browse. The controversial Yellowstone fires of 1988 subsequently created a new examination of such fire policies. Nonetheless, a relationship between fire, roadbuilding, timber harvest, seasonal browse, elk harvest, and the welfare of elk herds was acknowledged. [25]

Analysis of the welfare of elk herds sometimes developed into more disputed analyses involving the concepts of "security cover" and "thermal cover." "Security cover," according to some authorities, is the basic minimal amount of vegetal cover that makes use of an area by elk possible. "Thermal cover" aids the elk in conserving energy and maintaining narrow tolerance limits of body temperature. During the summer, overstory vegetation intercepts incoming solar radiation and provides a cooling effect; in the winter, it limits radiation loss and convective heat loss. [26] Wildlife biologists who have joined the regional staff in increasing numbers since World War II in response to the need for more scientific game-management programs recommend to land managers that adequate security cover and thermal cover be maintained. This requirement generally has become a consideration in timber-harvest decisions.

The 1985 report Coordinating Elk and Timber Management, published by the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife, and Parks, culminated 15 years of work by a research committee composed of representatives from four public agencies and a private timber company. Bob Milodragovich described this as a "classic in joint effort." The report addressed such considerations as security during logging operations, the redistribution of elk, traditional home range use by elk, road construction and design, road management, area closures during hunting seasons, clearcuts, cover type, moist sites, elk/cattle relationships, and winter ranges. Clearcuts were considered useful in providing forage for elk, but the size of such cuts needed to be regulated and the slash depth closely controlled. [27]

Cooperative State and Forest Service studies on logging roads and elk resulted in closure of designated forest roads, permanently or intermittently, on both public and private lands as a measure to provide security and cover to elk herds. The road-closure program resulted in better hunting, but reduced harvesting rates and limited off road hunting opportunities. [28]

The years of study and interagency cooperation resulted in more knowledgeable and effective game management in the northern Rocky Mountain area. Chief Peterson used the elk studies to explain to the House Committee on Appropriations in 1986 the distinction between single-use planning (timber) and multiple use planning (including elk management) on the Deer Park Area of the Lolo National Forest. Single-purpose management, he said, could result in a 90 percent reduction in elk habitat in one decade, whereas multiple-use planning would preserve such habitat. [29]

The Deerlodge forest plan, for example, discusses elk habitat management in two appendices. The plan identifies 45 elk "hunting recreation opportunity" geographic areas, indicating the type of hunter ingress and "game retrieval distances." Elaborate calculation processes for effective cover were employed, and elk security analysis areas were mapped. The forest plan anticipates interagency monitoring and evaluation in cooperation with the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife, and Parks. [30]

How has concern for and study of the Northern Yellowstone elk herd been translated into plans and activities by the Northern Region? A review of current forest plans and environmental impact statements for the Beaverhead, Custer, and Gallatin National Forests demonstrates the adoption of the guidelines established by the Montana Cooperative Elk-Logging Study. The Beaverhead is providing habitat for 4,150 elk on national forest winter range. The Custer has entered into cooperative work with biologists from the Montana, North Dakota, and South Dakota fish and game departments for habitat development and study. The Gallatin provides elk security by maintaining hiding cover and through road access management, and cooperates in wildlife and fish resource management with numerous agencies such as the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife, and Parks; the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; Yellowstone National Park; and private landowners and other agencies. The Gallatin also employs the "elk effective cover" analysis used on the Deerlodge National Forest. The Gallatin plan indicates that 5,600 elk, of the total wintering elk population of 9,800, winter on national forests, and that the remaining 4,200 winter on private and State land adjacent to forest boundaries. [31]

Although this discussion has used elk as the primary example, cooperative work in wildlife and fisheries in the Northern Region encompasses many species and almost as many agencies and entities. To be sure, cooperative work on a technical and personal basis always has been essential in management of fish and wildlife and their habitat. Ed Slusher recalled that during his service on the Deerlodge, Custer, and Gallatin National Forests after World War II, overpopulations of deer were causing winter ranges to be depleted:

We worked with State fish and game, local sportsmen's organizations, and ranchers to try for extended seasons, two-deer limits, and either-sex hunting. I can remember one joint meeting in Butte when Barney King, president of Rocky Mountain Sportsmen, walked out, saying, "I'll have nothing to do with any group who proposes the killing of female deer." It was of little use to us to know the science of game management if we didn't know the art of public relations. [32]

The essence of cooperation is good public relations. One of the most sensitive areas of cooperation and public relations in the Northern Region relates to Yellowstone National Park, which is administered by the National Park Service but affects the management of contiguous national forest lands.

The Greater Yellowstone Area

Yellowstone National Park is one of the two gems of the National Park System. Others would use greater superlatives, as did the Chairman of the House Committee on Interior and Insular Affairs, John F. Seiberling, who in 1985 said, "Yellowstone National Park is probably the most unique aggregation of geologic and biologic resources in the United States and perhaps in the world." [33]

Yellowstone National Park is part of an ecological and geological system that is surrounded by six national forests, another national park, and at least 11.7 million acres of contiguous lands. The Greater Yellowstone area includes State lands, national wildlife refuges, unreserved public domain, and private lands as well as national forests. It is the area loosely defined as the high, mountainous region centered around Yellowstone National Park and surrounded by dry plains. About 90 percent of the area is administered by the National Park Service, the Fish and Wildlife Service, and the Forest Service. The Bureau of Land Management regulates mineral development in the region. [34]

Conflicting uses and priorities occur in the Greater Yellowstone area. Each of the major managers of land and resources manage their lands for essentially different purposes: National parks are managed for preservation and recreation, national wildlife refuges are managed for wildlife, and national forests are managed for many uses, including timber, grazing, energy and minerals, recreation, and fish and wildlife. These differing management purposes at times result in conflicts among various resources and users. [35] Understanding the cooperative relationships involved in the Greater Yellowstone area requires a comprehension of each agency's principal role.

Two important reports provide a good framework for this analysis: Issues Surrounding the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem: A Brief Review (1985) and The Greater Yellowstone Area: An Aggregation of National Park and National Forest Management Plans (1987). These reports explain, for example, that national parks and national forests have been managed differently since their inception. National parks "were founded upon the principles of preservation, public enjoyment, and noninterference with natural processes." Developmental activities such as logging, oil and gas production, mining, hunting, livestock grazing, and wildlife habitat modification are restricted or banned on national parks but are primary uses of national forest resources. Although the national parks, including Yellowstone and the adjacent Grand Teton National Park, are not designated wilderness areas, large areas in each are managed as wilderness. [36]

Although the National Park Service does not manage park resources for multiple use, it confronts the sometimes contradictory mission of providing resources for public enjoyment while preserving those resources. Conflicts between preservation and enjoyment can be serious when visitor use is high, as it most often is in Yellowstone and concurrently in contiguous Forest Service lands. Classically, for example, confrontations between visitors and bears have required one or the other to give way. While bears have been relocated in some cases, in others people have conceded territory to the bears. Despite their intrinsic differences in missions, and not too infrequent conflicts, national forests and park managers began to appreciate the necessity for coordination and cooperation in the management of their resources in the Greater Yellowstone area in the early 1960's. [37]

To coordinate management and public services in the area, the Greater Yellowstone Committee, including representatives of the Northern, Intermountain, and Rocky Mountain Regions of the Forest Service; the regional (Rocky Mountain) director of the National Park Service; the superintendents of Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks; and the supervisors of the Beaverhead, Custer, Gallatin, Shoshone, Targhee, and Bridger-Teton National Forests, was formed in 1960. This group has met annually for the past three decades. In 1985, the Regional Forester of Region 2 became the designated coordinator of the committee's work. [38]

A congressional oversight hearing held in October 1985 resulted in a more formal agenda for the Greater Yellowstone Committee. During testimony before House subcommittees, Chief R. Max Peterson recounted the history of the Committee and cited the development of the Greater Yellowstone grizzly bear guidelines (1974), a cooperative transportation study in 1978, and the "Bear Us in Mind" grizzly bear education campaign in 1982 as examples of its cooperative endeavors. Peterson concurred that the Greater Yellowstone Committee could well include representatives from the Fish and Wildlife Service, the Bureau of Land Management, and possibly the U.S. Geological Survey. [39] Multiple-use land and resource management increasingly requires the coordination and cooperation of managing agencies and the resource users.

Administrators of the agencies participating in the Greater Yellowstone Committee indicated full support for cooperative efforts during the 1985 hearings. William Penn Mott, Jr., Director of the National Park Service; Robert F. Burford, Director of the Bureau of Land Management; Ronald E. Lambertson, then Acting Director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; and R. Max Peterson, Chief of the Forest Service, urged interagency cooperation. Peterson commented that the Greater Yellowstone area "is one of the best coordinated places on earth." [40]

Mott responded to a question from Montana Congressman Ron Marlenee concerning cooperation between the National Park Service and other agencies by observing that "at the field level there has been good understanding between the superintendents and our people relative to the management of the areas outside of the park..." He added that communications among the Fish and Wildlife Service, the Forest Service, the Bureau of Land Management, the State of Montana, and the National Park Service had always been open. However, Mott advised that cooperation could be further enhanced by the organization of a continuing Greater Yellowstone Interagency Committee, structured like the Grizzly Bear Committee. [41]

Subsequently, the Rocky Mountain Region of the National Park Service and the Northern, Rocky Mountain, and Intermountain Regions of the Forest Service approved a memorandum of understanding in September 1986. The critical point of the agreement simply stated that, "to provide better service public, we agree to work together." [42]

The Gallatin National Forest has been particularly affected by the Greater Yellowstone cooperative agreements. Cooperation involves its continued commitment to local users who use forest resources for outdoor recreation; the livestock industry that depends on the forest for forage; local lumber mills dependent on the forest for their timber, commercial outfitters and guides; and the many other users of the forest resources. Cooperation also requires "complementing the work of and coordinating with the National Park Service, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Bureau of Land Management, State agencies such as fish and game departments," and "a wide range of interested organizations and private citizens." [43]

Beginning in 1986, the newly established Greater Yellowstone Committee undertook an ambitious project to aggregate the plans for all Federal lands in the Greater Yellowstone area. The project proposed to "aggregate all the National Forest, National Park, and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Refuge plans into one set of maps and a companion narrative document." The final document, Aggregation of National Park and National Forest Management Plans, was published in September 1987. It provided maps and basic data on resources and management decisions for specific area and type of use in the Greater Yellowstone area and was intended to be (and is) "a valuable aid to public understanding, as well as a useful tool for coordination and future interagency planning within the Greater Yellowstone area." [44]

The interagency initiatives taken within Yellowstone National Park denote a new era of cooperative endeavors that will affect future planning and management by the Northern Region. The Greater Yellowstone Committee is authorized to oversee interagency and interregional review and analysis of identified issues. This review and analysis may lead to changes in national park and national forest management direction, for each national forest and each national park must incorporate the policies and decisions of the Greater Yellowstone Committee in their management plans. The integration of resource management has been facilitated by the dual appointment and funding of committee coordinators. Coordinators, such as Jack Troyer (Custer National Forest), are paid salaries by both the National Park Service and the Forest Service. [45] The Committee now faces the difficult job of evaluating the 1988 fires and assessing postfire plans and actions.

Interest groups such as the Greater Yellowstone Coalition already have challenged the Forest Service plans to salvage timber from national forest lands burned in the area surrounding Yellowstone National Park. Salvage has been an integral part of timber management throughout the region's past. Yellowstone National Park, pursuant to this traditional policy of "natural" management, would not salvage. [46]

Whatever the outcome, the Yellowstone fires of the 1988 season are but a prologue to forest planning and management in the Northern Region. Although difficult, that work would be even more difficult—if not impossible—were it not for structures such as the Greater Yellowstone Committee to provide coordination and cooperation in management policies and programs.

Grazing Associations and the Grasslands: A Partnership Effort

One of the more distinctive and unique cooperative associations in the Northern Region is that established between the Forest Service and the grazing associations that use the national grasslands and national forests for livestock forage. (See Chapter 9 for a discussion of the creation of the land utilization projects, and subsequent establishment of the national grasslands under national forest supervision.) The role of the private grazing associations in the management of the grasslands provides an outstanding example of cooperation between the Forest Service and private interests in behalf of the common good.

During its administration of the grasslands (1938-54), the Soil Conservation Service encouraged the development of grazing associations—"organizations of local landowners who grazed their cattle on the public lands" to assist in the rehabilitation and management of the destitute lands. The Forest Service continued what has become a vital and effective partnership with these associations. The associations receive single permits to grazing rights on the grasslands, allocate "headrights" (animal unit months) among their members, prescribe rotation procedures, and monitor compliance. They participate with Forest Service staff in developing grazing allowances, improving pasturage, and protecting wildlife. By managing the grasslands through the boards of directors of the grazing associations, the Forest Service can resolve issues collectively (and usually very effectively) rather than individually with each livestock producer. [47] The various grazing associations are themselves organized into an Association of National Grasslands, which provides input for rangeland management on a national basis. As are the national forests, the grasslands of the Northern Region are commingled with private lands, and grazing on the adjoining and commingled lands affects and is affected by the management of the national grasslands. Thus, through the grazing associations, public and private land managers on the sensitive grasslands determine management policies for almost twice the land accounted for by the approximately 1.2 million acres designated as national grass lands under the jurisdiction of the Custer National Forest. [48]

The national grasslands then are administered in some respects on the concepts of the Greater Yellowstone management area, but here the cooperative system is a public-private partnership that has been functioning with considerable success for, in many cases, almost a half century.

Grasslands Research

Cooperative programs on the national grasslands extend to the area of grasslands research. Range surveys and grazing research by foresters and stockmen benefit both. Anthony (Tony) Evanko participated in range research at the Northern Rocky Mountain Forest and Range Experiment Station. He recalls that range and watershed research efforts, often difficult because of the lack of funding, began in earnest at the Northern Rocky Mountain Forest and Range Experiment Station (near the Vigilante Experimental Range on the Beaverhead National Forest) in 1936. Initial studies related to forage plant development and range readiness for livestock grazing, evaluation of the impact of grazing on ranges, study of grazing patterns and range utilization, and studies in plant nurseries of grasses and legumes suitable for rangelands. The nursery studies, Evanko remembers, "formed the basis for subsequent erosion control and stabilization projects on both Federal and private lands." [49]

Other range research studies related to studies of cow-calf weights, mechanical and herbicidal control of noxious and poisonous plants, and the use of fire to control sage-dominated range areas. Erosion control studies were particularly significant, Evanko believed, but while some results, such as erosion control and noxious plant control systems were utilized, others, such as evaluations for range readiness and range conditions, were "not readily accepted, if at all, by administration." More than 1 million acres of privately owned lands were seeded in the late 1930's and early 1940's as a result of the range research programs conducted at Miles City and Fort Keogh. In 1948, the Inland Empire Research Center, at Spokane, Washington, provided valuable information on forest management, range management, noxious weed control, and watershed rehabilitation throughout the Forest Service and certainly influenced the work of Region 1, although it was not located in the region. Working relations there "were the best encountered in my career," Evanko said, "especially with private land owners—both ranchers and farmers—whose utilization of research information was most rewarding and beneficial to all parties." [50] Cooperation necessarily extended into both management and research functions.

Later, the Northern Rocky Mountain Forest and Range Experimental Station was consolidated. The Intermountain Forest and Range Experiment Station and the Agricultural Research Service assumed responsibility for Inland Empire's range studies in 1954, a move that somewhat reduced Forest Service experimental grazing work at the very time it had assumed the national grasslands from the Soil Conservation Service. But the work and the experience in grazing administration facilitated the Northern Region's administration of the grasslands.

The Job Corps

A more contemporary, and distinctly different, cooperative endeavor of the Northern Region involves the administration of Job Corps Training Centers. Established as a result of President Lyndon B. Johnson's declaration of war on poverty, the Job Corps was part of the Economic Opportunity Act of 1964. At the signing ceremony for the act, on August 20, 1964, Johnson commented, "Today, for the first time in all the history of the human race, a great nation is able to make and is willing to make a commitment to eradicate poverty among its people." [51] Likened to the Civilian Conservation Corps work of the depression era, the Job Corps Training Program focused on preparing unskilled men and women for jobs. During its 25 years the program has weathered many storms, including objections from local communities concerned about undesirable elements moving into their midst, but it has become one of Region 1's proud accomplishments and "Montana's best kept secret." [52]

The Anaconda Job Corps Center, administered by the Deerlodge National Forest, over its lifetime worked with some 11,000 disadvantaged young people between the ages of 16 and 21, often from inner-city areas. They were given employment, a healthy environment, training, and opportunity. It is estimated that, since 1966, the Anaconda Center, which involves cooperation with local communities, school districts, private industry, and other government agencies, has contributed an estimated $12 million to the economic value of western Montana communities. [53] Most importantly, the young people who participated in the Anaconda programs obtained a fresh start, enhanced education and skills, and productive employment.

The Trapper Creek Job Corps Center on the Bitterroot has, since its establishment in 1966, trained some 10,000 young people. "In the last 23 years, Trapper Creek has helped 6,272 individuals find jobs; 1,167 students have returned to school; 858 have joined the military; and 1,483 have earned GED certificates." [54] Students from the Job Corps centers have provided important volunteer labor to the communities and to the Forest Service. The benefits have been mutual. Another center, operated by the Flathead Reservation, obtains the support and cooperation of the Forest Service when needed. In one sense, Job Corps programs are indicative of the more integrated, cooperative kinds of human resource programs that have been assigned to the Forest Service and other Government agencies by Congress since the 1960's.

Cooperation Is a Necessary Part of "Doing Business"

Forest Service professionals have learned that cooperation is a necessary part of "doing business." In the early days, rangers, who identified with their districts and their forest users, constantly worked with others in accomplishing their jobs. Then, as now, the work of the forester also was shaped by others. Management structures for cooperation were established within the region for fire control in the very early years of the region's organization. Cooperation in wildlife management from the start involved working with State authorities who controlled game seasons and harvests while the Forest Service administered much of the habitat. In more recent decades, this cooperation has been extended to include other agencies, private landowners, and diverse interest groups. Elk studies and elk management are outstanding examples of cooperation in game management. The Greater Yellowstone area has become a regional and interagency cooperative management enterprise that typifies modern land-management parameters. And the somewhat more historic grazing association-grasslands partnerships denote a generally successful case of integrated private-public land-management programs. A trend toward more cooperative management is not only apparent, but urged by the greater complexity of modern society and, indeed, by the growth in the data upon which decisions must be based.

Reference Notes

1. John Mumma, "A Season to Remember," Wildfire, Vol. I (Northern Region Wildfire Information Series), p. 1.

2. George T. Morgan, "The Fight Against Fire: The Development of Cooperative Forestry in the Pacific Northwest," Idaho Yesterdays (Winter 1962):21-30.

3. Alfred D. Folweiler and A.A. Brown, Fire in the Forests of the United States (St. Louis, MO: John S. Swift Co., 1946), pp. 12, 1-189.

4. Morgan, "Fight Against Fire," p. 25.

5. Ibid., p. 26.

6. USDA Forest Service, Northern Region, Clearwater National Forest, "Supervisor's Annual Fire Report for the Calendar Year 1913," historical files, Clearwater National Forest.

7. R.N. Cunningham, "Review of Co-Operative Fire Protection, North Idaho," 1924, pp. 1-16, historical files, Idaho Panhandle National Forest.

8. Robert R. Milodragovich, Northern Region Retirees History Advisory Committee, to Henry C. Dethloff, October 4, 1989, Intaglio Collection, University of Montana Archives, Missoula, MT.

9. USDA Forest Service, Region 1, Early Days in the Forest Service, Vol. 3, pp. 109, 125, 209; press release, Region 1, #791, 1937; "Area Statistics, 1947 Season, Orogrande Forest Protective District," historical files, Clearwater National Forest; C.S. Crocker, "General Integrating Inspection, Clearwater National Forest, July and September 1949," pp. 1-48, historical files, Clearwater National Forest.

10. Press release, Region 1, #791.

11. Stan Cohen, A Pictorial History of Smokejumping (Missoula, MT: Pictorial Histories Publishing Co., 1983), pp. 11-13, and see pp. 1-172.

12. History of Smokejumping (Missoula, MT: USDA Forest Service, Northern Region, 1980), pp. 1-30.

13. Milodragovich to Dethloff, October 4, 1989.

14. USDA Forest Service, Northern Region, Division of Fire Control, "General Functional Inspection (Fire Control), Kootenai National Forest, 1959," pp. 1-10, Intaglio Collection, Montana State University Archives.

15. Charles E. (Mike) Hardy, The Gisborne Era of Forest Fire Research. Legacy of a Pioneer (Washington, D.C.: USDA Forest Service, April 1983), FS-367, pp. 1-71.

16. USDA Forest Service, Washington, D.C., April 1972, "Report of General Integrating Inspection: A Future Framework for R-1, R-4, Intermountain Station, June-August 1971," p. 16, Federal Records Center, Seattle, WA, 095-176A0908.

17. Jack L. Lyon and A. Lorin Ward, "Elk and Land Management," in Jack Ward Thomas and Deale E. Towell, eds., Elk in North America (Harrisburg, PA: Stackpole Books, 1982), pp. 433-477, and see pp. 1-698; Bob Milodragovich, "Review of Chapter 5," memorandum to Henry C. Dethloff, March 16, 1989, and Ed Slusher to Henry C. Dethloff, February 21, 1989, Intaglio Collection, University of Montana Archives; Montana Cooperative Elk-Logging Study, Coordinating Elk and Timber Management (Bozeman, MT: Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife, and Parks, 1985), pp. 3, 1-53; U.S. 99th Congress, 1st Sess., House Committee on Interior and Insular Affairs, Subcommittee on Public Lands and the Subcommittee on National Parks and Recreation, Oversight Hearing, Washington, D.C., October 24, 1985, Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, Serial No. 99 — 18, 1986), p. 340. [Note: The hearings comprise 697 pages.]

18. W.M. Rush, Northern Yellowstone Elk Study (Bozeman, MT: Montana Fish and Game Commission, 1932), p. 5, and see pp 1-131.

19. Ibid., pp. 80-81.

20. Memorandum, Northern Region Retirees History Review Committee, "Chapter 5," Missoula, MT, March 16, 1989, Intaglio Collection, University of Montana Archives.

21. USDA Forest Service, Northern Region, Division of Range and Wildlife Management, Elk, Logging and Roads (Missoula, MT: Northern Region, 1970), pp. 1-46.

22. Ibid.; USDA Forest Service, "Report of General Integrating Inspection: A Future Framework for R-1, R-4, Intermountain Station, June August 1971," Washington, D.C., April 1972, pp. 38, and see pp. 1-110, Federal Records Center, Seattle, WA, 095-76A0908.

23. USDA Forest Service, Northern Region, Division of Range and Wildlife Management, "Division of Range and Wildlife Programs for 'Framework for the Future'," Missoula, MT, 1971, historical files, Region 1, p. 17.

24. Douglas B. Houston, The Northern Yellowstone Elk: Ecology and Management (New York: Macmillan Publishing Co., 1982), pp. 199-200.

25. Ibid., p. 197.

26. Lyon and Ward, "Elk and Elk Management," p. 443.

27. Montana Cooperative Elk-Logging Study, Coordinating Elk and Timber Management, p. ii, Bob Milodragovich to Dethloff, March 16, 1989, Intaglio Collection, University of Montana Archives.

28. Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks, "Forest Road Closures," n.d., n.p., pp. 1-16, Intaglio Collection, University of Montana Archives.

29. U.S. 99th Congress, 1st Sess., House Committee on Appropriations, Subcommittee on the Department of the Interior and Related Agencies, Hearings, Washington, D.C., April 22-24. May 8, 10, 13, 1985, Department of Interior and Related Agencies Appropriations for 1986 (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, Part II, 1985), pp. 735-1183, and see especially pp. 772, 782.

30. USDA Forest Service, Northern Region, Forest Plan, Deerlodge National Forest (Missoula, MT: Region 1, 1987), chapters N-5, N-11, P-1, P-10, and p. II-3.

31. USDA Forest Service, Northern Region, Record of Decision, USDA Forest Service Land and Resource Management Plan and Environmental Impact Statement for the Beaverhead National Forest (Missoula, MT: Region 1, 1986), p. 10; Record of Decision: Custer National Forest and National Grasslands (Missoula, MT: Region 1, 1987), p. 11; Forest Plan, Gallatin National Forest (Missoula, MT: Region 1, 1987), pp. II-4, II-17, 18; Record of Decision, Beaverhead National Forest (Missoula, MT: Region 1, 1986), p. 7; Wildlife and Fisheries Program (Missoula, MT: Region 1, 1987), pp. 1.-8.

32. Letter, Ed Slusher to Henry Dethloff, February 21, 1989, Intaglio Collection, University of Montana Archives.

33. Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, p. 2.

34. Ibid., p. 340.

35. Ibid.

36. Ibid., pp. 338-372; Greater Yellowstone Coordinating Committee, The Greater Yellowstone Area: An Aggregation of National Park and National Forest Management Plans (n.p.: National Forest Service and National Park Service, September 1987), pp. 1-1, 1-2.

37. Ibid.

38. Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, pp. 173-177.

39. Ibid.

40. Ibid., pp. 56, 173-195, 382-393.

41. Ibid., pp. 29-30, 35-36.

42. Greater Yellowstone Coordinating Committee, The Greater Yellowstone Area, Appendix A.

43. Forest Plan, Gallatin National Forest, p. V-26.

44. U.S. 100th Congress, 1st Sess., House Committee on Appropriations, Subcommittee on the Department of the Interior and Related Agencies, Hearings, Washington, D.C., March 17, April 9 and 21-22, 1987, Department of the Interior and Related Agencies Appropriations for 1988 (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, Part 10, 1987), pp. 829-1155; Greater Yellowstone Coordinating Committee, The Greater Yellowstone Area.

45. Ibid.

46. Ibid.

47. Custer National Forest, The National Grasslands (R1-89-21), n.d., n.p.

48. Ibid.

49. Tony Evanko to Bob [Miodragovich], September 1988, "Vigilante Experimental Range," Intaglio Collection, University of Montana Archives.

50. Ibid.

51. Lyndon Baines Johnson, The Vantage Point, Perspectives of the Presidency, 1963-1969 (New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1971), p. 81.

52. Brochure, 25th Job Corps Anniversary, [1989] n.p., Intaglio Collection, University of Montana Archives.

53. Ibid.

54. Ibid.

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

Last Updated: 10-Sep-2008