Depression Era Protection and Management
The Copeland Report
The sharp decline in timber production in the Northern Region that occurred after 1929 forced the Forest Service to divert its energies to long-term protection and management goals. Fire control, insect and pathogen depredations, timber stand improvement, range restoration, and capital improvements, including road building, campgrounds, lookout towers, and water systems, occupied the foresters and the abundant labor crews provided under the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) programs. Out-of-work loggers and sawmill operators provided a reservoir of supervisory personnel to manage the enrollees in the emergency relief and CCC projects.
The Great Depression produced a significant increase in the work force on the national forests of the Northern Region, while the general economy suffered. According to Elers Koch, the region already had plans developed for needed improvements on the national forests when Franklin D. Roosevelt initiated the "New Deal," which brought money and people into Region 1. It also marked a time for progress in timber management, research, disease and insect control, fire protection, and silviculture practices.
A National Plan for American Forestry, better known as the Copeland Report, was a key planning and management document for the Forest Service during the depression era. It stressed public ownership of forest land and cooperation with private forest owners in the management of private lands. The report, prepared by Earle Clapp under the authority of the Chief of the Forest Service in 1932, reevaluated an earlier policy guideline known as the Capper Report (1920). The 1,677-page planning document went to the Senate in the spring of 1933 and proved instrumental in bringing about congressional budget increases for the Forest Service. It also forestalled the transfer of agency grazing areas into the Grazing Service of the Department of the Interior and aggravated administrative conflicts between the Departments of Agriculture and the Interior. 
The Copeland Report observed that "nearly all the conservation problems" were on private lands, and most of these lands were not susceptible to conservation practices. Cooperative management programs, however, could achieve effective conservation practices on the remainder of the private lands. Also, for conservation and efficiency in timber management one-half of the Nation's timber resources should "pass into federal ownership through massive expansions of the National Forest System. 
One section of the Copeland Report, "The National Forests," was authored by C.M. Granger, Director of the Forest Survey. Granger observed that "inferior" timber species, such as the Rocky Mountain type of Douglas-fir and larch, had no markets and that these uncut species resulted in mixed stands in regenerated forests. Cutover areas on national forests generally regenerated in 10 to 15 years to achieve 85 to 100 percent of their fully stocked condition. Regenerated stands of the Englemann spruce type in the Northern Region produced less than 50 percent of their fully stocked condition. 
Most Montana forests were described in a section titled the "Missouri River Basin," while the northern Idaho and northwestern Montana forests of Region 1 were included as portions of the "Columbia River Basin." Grazing on the Columbia Basin forests was negligible, but heavier on the Missouri Basin forests. Fire seemed unusually prevalent in both basins. A permissible burn was recognized at 7 percent of the forested area over a 10-year period, and both northern Idaho and the Montana forests exceeded that figure during most decades. One recommended fire deterrent was to pile and burn slash, particularly in areas of high fire hazard. According to the "Green Book," as foresters affectionately called the Copeland Report, fire protection and effective timber management in the Northern Region could best be accomplished by adding 946,000 acres of the public domain in Montana and 2.228 million acres in Idaho to the National Forest System. 
This, of course, did not occur, but it did provide inspiration and incentive for Forest Service activities in the Northern Region. What the Copeland Report did for forestry, the Senate Report titled The Western Range (1936) performed for grazing. Both positively affected the Forest Service.
The Western Range
The Secretary of Agriculture transmitted The Western Range to President Roosevelt on April 28, 1936. Compiled by the Senate Committee on Public Lands, the full title of the report, The Western Range, A Great But Neglected National Resource, indicated its contents. The advent of the range cattle industry in Montana and Idaho followed the discovery of gold in the northern Rocky Mountains. Small herds were first introduced into the area in the 1860's to feed the miners. Only a few hundred thousand head of cattle and sheep grazed the mountain ranges in the 1880's, but the advent of the railroad transformed the industry overnight. Sheep counts, for example, soared from several hundred thousand to 2.6 million in Idaho and to 5.7 million in Montana in 1903. The ensuing pressure on forest ranges depleted the grazing lands, from which there had been no recovery even by the mid-1930's. 
This analysis amplified the concerns raised in the Copeland Report. According to William D. Rowley, author of U.S. Forest Service Grazing and Rangelands: A History, the Copeland Report stressed the need to rehabilitate the range and reverse the soil erosion caused by the overgrazing of the forest ranges. The report urged that grazing be made compatible with the "dominant uses of timber production and watershed protection," and it recognized the principle of multiple use. But these conservation concerns, Rowley admitted, confounded the realities of the depression. Livestock interests desperately sought new grazing opportunities and lower grazing fees, not higher fees and reduced allotments, which would be inspired both by the Copeland Report and The Western Range. 
Personnel in the Departments of Agriculture and the Interior differed sharply over the analysis and interpretation of both reports. Secretary of the Interior Harold Ickes responded to The Western Range, which strongly impugned Interior's handling of the western range under the provisions of the Taylor Grazing Act by seeking (unsuccessfully) to transfer the Forest Service from Agriculture to the Interior.  These legislative reports seem to have inspired a burst of long-range planning and policy initiatives by the Forest Service on both national and regional levels. One of those initiatives had to do with public regulation of private forestry.
Public Regulation of Private Forestry
During the 1930's, the Forest Service consistently decried the destructive logging practices on private timberlands. Forest Service spokespersons, in the Journal of Forestry and before the annual conventions of the Society of American Foresters, discussed the need to regulate private forest lands. In 1935, Chief Ferdinand A. Silcox proposed a six-point program of public regulation at the society's convention. The discourse between representatives of private forestry and the Forest Service continued throughout the decade. At a meeting of the National Lumber Manufacturers Association, Emanuel Fritz, then professor of forestry at the University of California and former editor of the Journal of Forestry, said that the Forest Service staff did not "give a damn for forestry, except the aggrandizement of the Bureau." Finally, on February 16, 1940, the Forest Service presented lengthy recommendations to the Joint Congressional Committee on Forestry that related to supporting public regulation of private forestry.  The Northern Region issued its own supporting document in December 1940.
Forest Economy for the Nation as Related to the Northern Region
The regional report began with the following observation (without mentioning Fritz): "The program recommended is not for the aggrandizement of the Forest Service."  The report stated that the Forest Service advised the Joint Congressional Committee on Forestry that there were two main "classes of remedies applicable to owned forest lands" that could be applied concurrently. The first remedy was public cooperation, and the second was public acquisition.  Thus, the Northern Region was drawn, or threw itself, into the swirling controversy over Government regulation of private forest lands.
The Northern Regions's report reviewed the problems confronting the national forests, as typified on the 17 national forests and 108 ranger districts then administered under its auspices. The report pointed out (correctly) that the only dependable backlog of timber lay on the national forests that were managed for sustained yield. Much more than 1 million acres of national forest timberlands were understocked because of repeated fires. Approximately a half million sheep and 100,000 head of cattle and horses grazed the forest ranges each season, divided among approximately 2,000 permittees. On two-thirds of the national forests, on lands unsuited for livestock grazing, wildlife abounded. Recreational campgrounds needed to be expanded to three times their current capacity. The appendix stated that more than 2 million acres of timber lands in the region had been treated for white pine blister rust through fiscal year 1941, but to complete that work by 1950, an additional appropriation of $10 million was required. Finally, 34.6 billion board feet of commercial timber, from the region's available 72.7 billion board feet, were on the national forests. 
The implication of the report was that the Forest Service could better plan and protect the interests of the people in the States it served than could the free market and private enterprise. During the depression years, that would seem to have been the case; the lumber industry declined, and the Forest Service became the employer of thousands of unemployed youth through such programs as the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC).
The CCC and Public Works in Region 1
The CCC, described in Chapter 6, contributed greatly to the work of the Forest Service in Region 1 during the depression. Evan W. Kelly, Regional Forester at the time the CCC was organized, was brought to Washington, D.C., in 1933 to help establish Forest Service-related CCC programs and administrative structures. CCC camps designated for Montana, Idaho, and Washington were under the administrative authority of the Ninth Corps of the War Department, while the North Dakota camps belonged to the Seventh Corps. In Region 1, the Forest Service provided planning and technical management, while the Army offered supervision and authority. CCC labor quotas for 1933 were set at 1,500 enrollees for North Dakota, 5,800 for Montana, and 9,600 for Idaho (including southern Idaho administered by Region 4). By 1941, more than 100,000 young men had worked in CCC programs within Region 1. 
With this large labor pool, the region expanded its construction of roads and bridges, fire towers, trails, campgrounds, and recreation facilities. The region also used CCC crews for fire suppression, blister rust control, and the cleanup of burn areas.
These young enrollees, between the ages of 18 and 25, most often came from the cities and were totally unskilled in the use of basic tools. A few local or regional volunteers participated, but most were from the Eastern States. The CCC provided them with a place to "sleep and eat and become useful citizens." Many of the young men remained with the Forest Service, and the CCC became one of the primary recruiting grounds for many of the postwar era foresters and administrators. 
Through December 1940, the CCC in the Northern Region provided an estimated 6.5 million person-days of labor and employed about 105,000 youngsters. Eugene (Gene) R. Grush, who retired in 1952, provided technical assistance to a 200-person camp. The crews rebuilt roads and surfaced them (for the first time) with crushed rock. "They did good work," Grush said, "built a steel bridge across the Yaak below Sylvanite, several steel bridges across the creeks, some side roads and trails, and worked on fires and in other places where we could use them." 
There were so many CCC camps and so many men on so may national forests in Region 1 that many lives have been affected by that experience. Camp reunions, books, and reminiscences are all evidence of the personal impact of those days on so many people.  The Fort George Wright District of the CCC was located west of the Fort Missoula District and was organized in May 1933. By summer, there were 45 companies of 200 persons each in a district that extended from Lake Chelan in Washington to Libby, Montana, and from the Canadian border to a line running just south of Moscow, Idaho. 
In the short time between April 5, 1933 and March 31, 1934, 51 Forest Service-operated CCC camps in Idaho contributed 28,750 person-days of fire suppression and 1,166 person-days of fire presuppression work. In addition, they constructed 48 miles of firebreak and 15 lookouts, cleared 427 miles of road and trail, worked on 3,683 fire hazard reduction projects, built 2 erosion control dams, cleared 100 square yards of riverbank in flood control projects, reconstructed 200 cubic yards of levees, and excavated 10 cubic yards of earth in channel enlargement.  Such levels of intensive activity were characteristic of the entire region throughout the 1930's.
Dean Harrington, then on the St. Joe National Forest, said that the forest's early CCC crews went to work on blister rust. He helped establish one CCC camp at Clarkia, on the Clarkia Ranger District. Deserted buildings from an old lumber town were used to house the encampment. A road was built to connect to Ranger Ralph Hand's district at Round Top. Another camp located at Emida provided crews for both Clarkia Ranger District and Palouse District. Harrington believed that the CCC was an undisguised blessing for the Forest Service. Besides providing these men work, the agency accomplished long-term improvements that would otherwise never have been made, such as fire lookout towers, telephone lines, timber stand improvement, blister rust control, and replanting. 
According to Charlie Shaw, the first CCC camp on the Flathead was set up in 1933 on Desert Mountain Road. The camp had 200 enrollees, plus the administrative staff. During its first summer of operation, the camp constructed a 12-mile road to Desert Mountain lookout. Crews, sometimes stationed in "spike" camps, maintained trails and constructed buildings, water systems, fences, and telephone lines. 
The work achieved by Company 530 on the Kootenai National Forest in 1937 was typical; many miles of roads, trails, and telephone lines were built.  Other crews specialized in "snag felling" that is, the removal of old burned treetops susceptible to lightning strikes.
In addition to protection, conservation, and construction work, CCC enrollees were involved in classwork and correspondence courses, ranging from the low primary grade levels through high school. One of the enrollees summed up the significance of the CCC experience:
Who then, he concluded, can deny the worth of the CCC? In terms of its impact on the lives of the individual and on the Forest Service in Region 1, the depression-era CCC marked one of the most catalytic moments in the history of the region. The CCC contributed immeasurably to physical improvements in the national forests that enhanced fire protection, conservation, and timber management.
Changes and Consolidations of the National Forests
Consolidations and boundary adjustments in the period between the two world wars changed, and most often improved, the administrative character of the individual forests. These consolidations often reflected the improvement of road, automobile, and communications facilities within the region. National forests inevitably contain land within their outer boundaries that is privately owned. In the early days, this was referred to as "alienated" land, which implied that it was not in correct ownership. In 1922, the General Exchange Act (42 Stat. 465) authorized the Forest Service to exchange national forest land and stumpage for privately owned land and stumpage of equal value.
Region 1 and the other regions worked rather intensively to "block up" or consolidate ownership of land within the outer boundaries. In the process, the term alienated lands disappeared from the forestry vocabulary, and exchanges became the common usage. Between 1922 and 1938, there were 248 exchanges within Region 1, with the value of land and timber exchanged in excess of $800,000. In Montana, 274,594 acres of private lands were added to the national forests, and 129,203 acres of national forest land was exchanged. In northern Idaho and northeastern Washington, 116,670 acres of private land were added and 2,750 acres of national forest land surrendered. 
Donated lands also provided a means for enlarging the national forests. During the depression years, lumber companies and individuals donated considerable timberland to the Forest Service. The land probably would have gone to the county for nonpayment of property taxes, but such donations were good for both parties. Although the timber was cut over, the influx of CCC and other workers enabled the Forest Service to provide protection and timber planting and improvement.
In Clearwater County, for example, large tracts of cutover timberlands were defaulted to the county by the failure to pay taxes. The county donated these lands to the Clearwater National Forest. The Clearwater Timber Company also had lands from which white pine timber had been removed and donated these lands to the forest. In 1937, Potlatch Forests, Inc., donated 4,300 acres of land in the county to the Forest Service, which was added to the Clearwater and St. Joe National Forests, bringing the total of the firm's donations to 148,000 acres. 
Other donations included 520 acres of cutover land in Boundary County, Idaho, deeded from the Bonners Ferry Lumber Company in 1936 to the Kaniksu National Forest. The next year, McGoldrick Lumber Company donated 4,828 acres in Pend Oreille County, Washington, which was also added to the Kaniksu. The total of land donations in northern Idaho by June 1936 totaled 186,000 acres. 
There were many consolidations and recombinations of national forests and ranger districts within the region. President Herbert Hoover's Executive Order of February 17, 1932, for example, consolidated the Beartooth and Old Custer Forest into a new Custer National Forest. Administratively, the merger actually occurred on July 1, 1931. The Custer had the Stillwater, Rock Creek, Pryor, Ashland, Twenty-Mile, Fort Howes, Sioux, and Short Pines Ranger Districts. Part of the Cooke Ranger District was moved to the Absaroka Forest, and some of the old Absaroka Forest was added to the Stillwater District. Additional districts were consolidated such that by 1943, the Twenty-Mile and Pryor Districts no longer existed.
The Blackfeet National Forest was eliminated in 1935, with most of it absorbed by the Flathead National Forest, while the Fortine District was reclassified as a part of the Kootenai National Forest. A tract of land was also withdrawn from the Flathead for the Coram Experimental Forest.  The Selway National Forest was eliminated in 1934, when its lands were distributed among the Bitterroot, Clearwater, Lolo, and Nez Perce National Forests. The new forest boundaries often related to fire protection requirements and capabilities.
Other modifications in forest boundaries occurred in almost every year of the depression era. Boundary adjustments were made on the Absaroka, Deerlodge, Gallatin, Helena, Missoula, and Shoshone in 1929; on the Custer and Helena in 1930; and on the Beaverhead, Bitterroot, Clearwater, Deerlodge, Gallatin, Helena, Lewis and Clark, Lolo, Madison, Missoula, Nez Perce, and Pend Oreille in 1931. The Jefferson National Forest ceased to exist in 1932, and the Gallatin and the Lewis and Clark, among others, were enlarged. Boundary changes were made on the Coeur d'Alene, Kaniksu, and Pend Oreille in 1933 and on the St. Joe the following year. The Clearwater, Flathead, and Lolo were altered in 1935, the Beaverhead and Kaniksu in 1939, and the Helena and Lolo in 1940. No changes occurred on the forest boundaries within the region in 1936, 1937, and 1941.  There were, however, some important redesignations of land areas within the region, which would become significant at a later date.
Designation of Wilderness and Primitive Areas
In the 1930's, Region 1 reclassified large tracts of land on the national forests and placed them in designated "primitive" or "wilderness" areas. This was done in response to internal Forest Service initiatives that had originated with the creation of the Gila Wilderness in the Southwestern Region in 1924. At the time, there was no congressional legislation or mandate to establish wilderness areas. To keep some national forests areas pristine, the primitive designation was used. There would be no roads and no cutting. Grazing was limited to the stock of outfitters, guides, or dude ranches and others using the areas for recreational purposes.
In the areas designated "primitive," improvements were limited to trails, telephone lines, and structures necessary for administrative purposes. No private developments were allowed. For example, Chief Robert Y. Stuart classified the Mission Mountains Primitive Area under the authority of Forest Service Regulation L-20 on October 31, 1931. In addition, the South Fork Primitive Area on the Flathead National Forest was established in 1931; it contained 584,000 acres. The region established the Pentagon Primitive Area with approximately 95,000 acres in 1933 and the Sun River Primitive Area with 240,000 acres in 1934. These primitive areas later became the core of the Bob Marshall Wilderness Area. 
In later times, "wilderness" became a terribly controversial subject within Region 1, as it did elsewhere. In some respects, this would be a paradoxical situation in view of the early Forest Service (and Region 1) commitment to wilderness preservation. As Dennis Roth observed:
"In Lieu" Lands and the Northern Pacific
Land classification and use have always been important in Region 1 activities. Ralph Space, for example, spent many years of his professional forestry career in the region working on the settlement of a land dispute involving the Northern Pacific Railroad. When the original grant to the Northern Pacific was made by Congress, the legislation recognized that some of the lands designated within the alternate sections granted had never been surveyed, that some would be Native American treaty land, and that others might have been homesteaded or claimed under various mineral acts.
To compensate for these lost lands, the railroad was allowed to select unoccupied land "in lieu" of the lost lands within a strip 20 miles wide on either side of the railroad right-of-way. The General Land Office later ruled that national forest land did not qualify as "in lieu" land. Yet in 1917, the Northern Pacific applied for an "in lieu" selection on the Gallatin National Forest, and through error, the Department of the Interior granted the patent. A suit was then filed to force the return of these lands to the Forest Service. The suit reached the Supreme Court in 1922, and the court ruled that if public domain lands would not satisfy the railroad's claim, then national forest lands could indeed be selected. 
Congress, however, passed a resolution preventing further selection of "in lieu" lands from national forests, but it allowed the railroads to seek damages for losses. The Northern Pacific then appealed to the Supreme Court, which endorsed the railroad's claim. As a result, the Northern Pacific proceeded to select 870,000 acres in Region 1, involving all the national forests except the Nez Perce. Even this transfer was finally avoided when, under the authority of the Transportation Act of 1941, the railroad agreed to drop all claims against the Government in return for which the Government agreed to pay the railroad at one-half the regular rate for all Government passengers and freight, rather than the no-cost schedules imposed by prior agreements.  In part, this problem had arisen because of the lack of adequate land surveys in the areas served by the Northern Pacific. Land surveying, in fact, required a continuing effort.
The National Forest Survey in Idaho and Montana
Congress authorized a nationwide survey of all forested areas, irrespective of ownership, through the McSweeney-McNary Act of 1928. The survey work, however, proceeded slowly. Timber surveys held little enthusiasm when the market for timber was virtually nonexistent. A committee met in 1930 to establish policy for the survey. Jim Girard from Region 1 was appointed to direct the survey. In fiscal year 1932, the Northern Rocky Mountain Forest and Range Experiment Station received $20,000 for forest survey work within the region. The forest survey was begun in northern Idaho that year and was completed in 1937. During the survey work, private and public information on the condition, species, and volume of timber was checked and adjusted to conform to forest survey standards. Areas of merchantable timber for which information was unavailable were cruised by the line-plot method. The Montana inventory, including the collection of growth and drain information, began in 1934, and before its interruption by World War II, "the survey was completed for that part of the State west of the Continental Divide and in four counties east of the Divide". 
While the nationwide forest survey proceeded, independent forest surveys of all forest lands, commercial and noncommercial in all ownership classes, were conducted on the national forests to strengthen the data base for management planning. These surveys, however, were limited in scope because of a drastic reduction in funding for timber survey allotments. The entire region, for example, was allocated $5,100 to $5,700 for surveys during each fiscal year between 1929 and 1935. The work was usually done for the commercial portions of each national forest and proceeded by block, working circle, or some other geographic area. In 1930, a timber estimate and silvical description was made of the Spruce Lake unit on Keeler Creek of the Kootenai National Forest. The survey indicated that the merchantable portion was 1,481 acres, containing an estimated 26.3 million board feet of sawtimber, based on a 10-percent area sample. Timber cruises provided the necessary information for timber sales. 
A special survey of 3,890 acres by Thomas E. Rowland, for example, on Deer Creek of the Lolo National Forest indicated that mature, merchantable timber stood on approximately 2,573 acres. However, inasmuch as the Deer Creek drainage was in a working circle where there would be little commercial demand, Rowland proposed that this site be used to establish an experimental area for work on mensurational, silvicultural, and planting problems and to conduct physiological and pathological studies. From 1929 to 1938, timber surveys were conducted on most of the forests of the region, and in several, including the Deerlodge and the St. Joe, five surveys were made during an 8-year period.  These surveys facilitated the development of timber management plans and contributed to early attempts to develop sustained-yield programs.
Timber Management Plans and Sustained Yields
As of January 1, 1932, only 21 percent of the national forest timber was covered by detailed management plans. Management plans typically contained a description of the region and the forest, statements regarding the economic situation, silvicultural policy, administrative objectives, timber sale policy including allowable cuts and salvage, and a map of the national forest or of the working circle.
A sampling of many of the working circles of the Region 1 national forests (for example, the Salmon River, South Fork, and Middle Ford working circles of the Nez Perce; the Lincoln working circle of the Helena; and the Ashland working circle of the Custer) indicated that in 1941, few operated on the basis of timber management plans. An exception might have been the Beaverhead working circle on the Beaverhead National Forest, which operated on a timber management plan prepared in 1916. A plan for the entire St. Joe National Forest was prepared in 1941, as was a management plan for the Bitterroot working circle on the Bitterroot National Forest. The first timber management plan on the Gallatin was prepared in 1961 for the Big Timber working circle, although there was an older plan for that circle prepared when it was a part of the Absaroka National Forest. 
Sustained-yield management planning depended heavily on timber surveys and the development of timber management plans, but the definition of "sustained yield" changed over the years. Originally, the term meant "a botanically oriented yield equals-growth policy." During the New Deal, the concept changed to "the need to coordinate public and private timber supplies to achieve a stable market." In the 1920's and 1930's, Region 1 was conscious of the idea that sustained-yield management was inextricably tied to the welfare of the local community and forest industries. Regional Forester Richard H. Rutledge was interested in sustained-yield management, as was David T. Mason, who formerly worked on timber survey and classification in Region 1 and now taught at the University of California School of Forestry. Mason indicated to Rutledge that Chief Greeley would be congenial to the use of national forest timber "to promote the general adoption of sustained yield by private owners but he is willing to do this only where public opinion would now permit." 
There is evidence that in Region 1, industry and the Forest Service did cooperate in promoting sustained-yield management. In 1928, K.A. Klehm of the lumber industry, for example, wrote the following to the regional forester and the supervisor of the Kootenai:
A sustained-yield management plan was implemented and continued to guide timber policy on the Kootenai National Forest through out the 1930's.
In 1933, Article X of the National Industrial Recovery Act (295 U.S. 495) contained minimum standards for logging performance prescribed by the Forest Service. Despite efforts by industry to soften the logging codes, strict controls were approved by Franklin Roosevelt, and the code became effective in June 1934, only to be invalidated with the National Industrial Recovery Act by the Supreme Court on May 27, 1935. Thereafter, the conservation and sustained-yield thrust of Article X was maintained under timber sale arrangements and through voluntary cooperation between industry and the Forest Service. 
Kootenai Supervisor C.S. Webb recommended in 1936 that the Forest Service do what it could to support the J. Neils lumber mill in Libby "as a measure of welfare to the National Forest and the Forest community." He believed that all available timber cuts from private lands and the allowable cut from the national forest would be required to sustain the plant. In 1937, the preliminary "Kootenai Unit Timber Management Plan" included a proposal for a long-term agreement between the forest and the J. Neils Lumber Company that a combined annual cut of 43 million board feet for the next 8 years be scheduled from both public and private land and that, at the end of 8 years, the company's entire cut would be from the National Forest unit. Anaconda Copper timber holdings on the Fisher River were also scheduled for J. Neils Lumber Company use, but future developments on private lands could not be clearly anticipated.  It was clear that both public and private interests believed that economic survival on some cooperation and degree of sustained-yield management
Commercial Timber Sales and Free Use
Commercial timber sales in Region 1 climbed sharply in the 1920's, reaching a peak of more than 117.5 million board feet in each of the years 1926 through 1928. Sales declined in 1929 and continued to drop to 77.8 million board feet in 1931 and to 36.2 million in 1932. However, recovery began in 1933 as follows: 
World War II, of course, precipitated enormous new increases in timber production in the region. It is interesting, however, to note the dependence of the industry on white pine during the depression years.
The mechanics of the timber sale are worthy of note. Timber placed for sale must first be appraised by the Forest Service. An appraisal, under the residual method of calculating prices for raw materials, including timber, called for estimating the probable product grades (in the 1930's, primarily lumber) and their probable prices. From this estimate was subtracted an estimate of the logging and milling costs and an allowance for profit and risk. The remainder was called the "appraised price," from which the Forest Service would then advertise the sale, generally accepting the highest bid from a reputable operator at or above the appraised price. Often, on one-bidder sales, the contract would be awarded at the appraised price. 
The logging engineer on each national forest was responsible for the appraisal. A set of guidelines for the "stumpage appraisals" came from the Regional Office. For example, on April 23, 1930, Acting Regional Forester Theodore Shoemaker distributed information and tables for appraisals that included the current market value of lumber, manufacturing costs (including machine rates, wage rates, equipment depreciation, and shipment), and profit margins. 
Current logging and milling cost data came directly from operators or from controlled experiments on the national forests by which logs and boards were literally followed through co-operating mills from the forest floor. This was called a "millscale study." Such a study, for example, was conducted on a plot of western white pine in Clearwater County near Orofino, Idaho, in 1935 and 1936 by I.V. Anderson and E.F. Rapraeger of the Forest Products Division of the Northern Rocky Mountain Forest and Range Experiment Station. Another, conducted by Philip Neff on manufacturing cost trends in the Inland Empire mills, concluded that "general manufacturing practice and efficiency of operation are higher in this region than elsewhere." 
The economic situation within the region would have been much worse had the white pine species not been protected somewhat through blister rust control programs. Not all economic relief, however, could be measured in terms of actual timber sales. Free use of timber resources also provided for the welfare of the people during these difficult years of depression.
The region encouraged people to take firewood, posts, and personal lumber needs from the forests during the depression. For the fiscal year ended June 30, 1936, 17,841 cases of free use (that is the taking of up to $100 worth of timber free) were recorded (how many were unrecorded?), totaling 43 million board feet of timber, or 30 percent of the annual harvest. Of the free use, 80 percent occurred on the 7 eastern national forests of Region 1: the Absaroka, Beaverhead, Custer, Deerlodge, Gallatin, Helena, and Lewis & Clark. Most of the timber taken was from dead and diseased trees, downed timber, and thinnings in areas of crowded timber sales. 
Pressures for more grazing privileges also rose during the depression, at a time when carrying capacities were actually declining because of the regeneration of forests in old burn areas and an increase in wildlife. The region estimated that carrying capacities on Montana mountain valley and prairie grassland ranges had declined by almost 60 percent of their "original" capacity. Overgrazing tended to be prevalent. Some unofficial spokespersons for the region attributed the overgrazing primarily to "ignorance" and the "unwillingness to concede existence of such ignorance." Nevertheless, the conditions of depression and desperation, together with grasshoppers, fire, drought, and competition from growing herds of elk and deer, contributed to overgrazing and considerable difficulty by the region to improve range conditions. 
In the 1930's, the region experienced greater successes in reforestation and timber stand improvement than in range and grassland improvement. The depletion of rangelands in eastern Montana and the Dakotas led to the Federal Government purchasing these lands under the Bankhead-Jones Act of 1938.
These lands were entrusted to the care of the Department of Agriculture's Soil Conservation Service, which in turn transferred them to the Forest Service in 1954, as discussed in later chapters. Thus eventually, range and grassland management became an increasingly important aspect of the management planning of the region.
Reforestation and Timber Stand Improvement
The hundreds of thousands of trees planted in Region 1 during the depression came for the most part from the Savenac Nursery. D.S. Olson, its director, was instrumental in improving the techniques and equipment of the nursery. As a result, the region was ready for the remarkable planting programs conducted by the CCC an blister rust control crews. 
Blister rust control crews usually worked through mid-September and then converted to tree planting until winter. George S. Haynes recalls that he and Paul E. Nelson trained the crew foremen and enrollees in good planting practices, inspected the work, ironed out problems, and "ramrodded" the job through to completion. Despite too little rain in the early weeks, followed by too much rain and snow later, their crews planted 515 acres of ponderosa pine in one season. 
Lloyd Donally began his tree planting work in the region on the St. Joe National Forest in 1927. He headed a 14-person crew in 1930 and a crew of 40 in the spring of 1931. The expected per person planting rate in the rough terrain, replete with windfalls and thick brush, was 1,200 seedlings per 8-hour day. His crew was raised to 48 in 1932 and to 50 in 1933. After that, his crews, he said, were an "FDR alphabet soup." He supervised many crews paid with National Recovery Administration funds in 1933 and 1934, and in the spring of 1935, he supervised five foremen and CCC crews, but the planting rate fell to only 400 to 600 trees per day. His tree planters that fall were Emergency Relief Administration employees, and in the spring of 1937 through the spring of 1942, he supervised CCC work crews.  After that, the forests were rapidly depleted of young men because most had gone to war.
Research: Experimental Forests, Fire, and Gisborne
Although research and experimentation took place on the national forests of the region in earlier years, the McSweeney-McNary Act of 1928 (45 Stat. 699) provided the solid foundation and authority for sustained research. Region 1 research before and during the depression era concentrated on white pine management and fire research. In both areas, some significant work was completed.
On July 1, 1931, the Northern Rocky Mountain Forest and Range Experiment Station, which serviced the Northern Region, opened for business in Missoula. Silvicultural and forest-product research, which had formerly been conducted through the Regional Office and on the forests, was consolidated under the direction of Lyle F. Watts, who later became Chief of the Forest Service. Two experimental forests (the Priest River Experimental Forest established in 1911 and the Coram Experimental Forest on the Flathead) and two experimental ranges (the Vigilante Experimental Range on the Sheridan Ranger District and the Fort Keugh Experimental Range at Miles City, Montana) functioned under the supervision of the Northern Rocky Mountain Station. The programs and budgets of the station rose from $20,000 in 1931 to more than $140,000 in 1939. 
Among the most distinctive work of the station was the pioneering research in forest fire behavior accomplished by Harry Gisborne and his research staff. George Jemison, whose original summer employment turned into a career and who rose to head Forest Service Research, was one of those staff members; Lloyd G. Hornby was another. Gisborne established three timber inflammability stations and a highly successful fire-danger rating meter, which was a simple cardboard device similar to the system then used to calculate exposure settings for cameras. 
A real milestone in fire management was the development of an operational fire-danger rating system by Gisborne and his associates. A fire weather station provided information for predicting the fire-danger rating on a daily basis; it consisted of a weather box or shelter, on stilts, with slanted slats or louvered siding. The weather box normally contained a sling psychrometer, a maximum and minimum thermometer, and a fuel moisture stick scale. An anemometer was at the top of a nearby 20-foot-high pole. Fuel moisture sticks were on the ground, inside the fenced installation.  These fire weather stations were the trademark of ranger stations and some lookout towers.
One of the first major conflagrations "predicted" by Gisborne and Clayton S. Crocker (then Acting Supervisor on the Selway National Forest) came in early 1934 when the fire danger was so high that Gisborne believed that any fire would become a "blowup" if it were not extinguished almost immediately. On the night of August 10, a dry lightning storm ignited what eventually became the Pete King-McLendon Butte fire, which burned more than 250,000 acres. 
Forest Fires and Fire Control, 1929-41
Although foresters from the region remember 1929, 1931, and 1934 as the "fire years" of the era, none of these approached the magnitude of the fires of 1910, when more than 2.5 million acres burned, or 1919, when 1.3 million acres burned. There were, however, several striking features of the fires of the 1930's. First, most fires were caused by lightning rather than by humans (72 percent). Second, most were extinguished before they became critical.  Fire prevention and suppression were particularly effective during the depression decade. Certainly, the presence of large personnel reserves, research, and improved transportation, communications, and suppression equipment were contributing factors.
Fires consumed approximately 241,000 acres in 1929, with many of the conflagrations (67) concentrated on Flathead National Forest lands. The Sullivan Creek fire on the Kaniksu burned 35,000 acres, and the Half Moon fire on the Flathead burned an estimated 100,000 acres of national forest and private timberland, along with lands in Glacier National Park. The 30,000-acre Bald Mountain fire burned lands on the Lochsa Ranger District of the Selway National Forest and lands of the Powell Ranger District on the Lolo. These lands are now part of the Clearwater National Forest. The Clear Creek fire on the Nez Perce National Forest destroyed more than 13,000 acres in 12 hours. Similarly, a fire jumped the Coeur d'Alene River, Dean R. Harrington recalled, and raced 8 miles in 7 minutes. He and his crew took refuge on an island in the river and wet themselves down with a Pacific Marine pump to ward off the heat. 
Albert J. "Bert" Cramer, on the Sandpoint Ranger District of the Pend Oreille National Forest, remembered the 1931 season as a nightmare. He stated, "Hundreds of miles of fireline were built, hundreds of miles of line lost, and at least some incendiarism to contend with, including the initial setting of the (Dear Creek) fire." He recalled that during the fire, a firefighter was struck and killed by a tall white pine snag. The timekeeper overreacted and called for 500 more men on the line, to which Regional Forester Evan Kelley replied, "What the hell is wrongkill one man and order 500 to replace him?" Kelley canceled the order. 
Fires in the region in 1934 consumed 318,993 acres. The best known of these was a complex of fires occurring on the Lochsa and Selway Rivers, officially known as the Pete King-McClendon Butte fire. At one time, it occupied 5,000 fightersmostly CCC youthon the lines. The experiences of managing fires enabled the region to better dispatch crews, organize control efforts, and evaluate the results. The vigorous prosecution of "firebugs," sometimes referred to in the region as "ridgerunners," and of unthinking campers or burners reduced fire hazards, as did improved training, instructional manuals, and surveillance from the air. From 1935 through 1959, the largest single fire in the region was on 41,000 acres. 
White Pine Blister Rust
The success of work on fire control was echoed in some respects by achievements in white pine blister rust control. White pine blister rust was first found in Geneva, New York, in 1906 on eastern white pine. It appeared on western white pine near Vancouver and in northwestern Washington in 1921. It was located in Region 1 in 1922. Hope of eradicating the fungus was quickly abandoned, and local control measures (that is, the removal of the alternate host, currant, or goose berry) began. Following a reconnaissance for the presence of infected ribes plants on 3,500 acres of the Clearwater National Forest in 1925, treatment began. Between 1926 and 1928, another 190,000 acres were inspected, and spraying and hand pulling the ribes on small acreages followed. Clarence S. Strong headed a 30-person ribes eradication camp above Priest Lake in 1925 and worked on the Kaniksu in 1926. He and Philip Neff headed the entire ribes eradication program during the depression. 
Blister rust control work expanded rapidly after 1930, and by 1933-34, more than 5,000 young men were working on the crews. In 1936, 229,000 acres were worked by these crews, and a total of 1.6 million acres of infestation had, by then, been treated in the region. Most of the work in 1936 was done by Emergency Relief Administration workers and 6 percent by CCC and State cooperative workers. Despite the massive control work, the threat from blister rust remained great. 
Insect Damage and Control
Insects also caused large timber depredations within the region. From 1910 to 1944, losses caused by insects on Montana forests totaled an estimated 12.8 billion board feet, mostly on ponderosa, western white, and lodgepole pines. The beetle was resident on the Coeur d'Alene National Forest at the time it was created, and it was first detected on the Flathead in 1909. Howard Fliret reported a beetle epidemic between 1914 and 1918 on lodgepole pine stands near the Monture Ranger Station of the Lolo National Forest. 
Losses in the region from beetle infestation peaked during the 1920's. The largest single pine beetle infestation of epidemic proportions occurred on lodgepole pine on the Beaverhead, Bitterroot, and Deerlodge National Forests between 1928 and 1931. The beetle infestations declined during the 1930's.
Annual surveys were conducted on the Coeur d'Alene National Forest under the supervision of James C. Evencon, Entomologist-in-Charge of the Bureau of Entomology's forest insect laboratory at Coeur d'Alene. He concluded that beetle damage would be severe unless control measures were established. Forest Supervisor Charles McHarg received support from Regional Forester Evan Kelley and Elers Koch in timber management for additional funding ($150,000) to fight "the bug." George S. Hayes assigned in the fight on the Little River District, and control work was also initiated on the Carter, Pritchard, and Magee Districts of the forest in 1930. Haynes explained:
The western spruce budworm also bothered forest of the region. First detected in 1922, epidemic infestation was reported in Idaho. At the instigation of Evenden and with the support of Elers Koch and Richard H. Rutledge (Region 4), district rangers made annual surveys for budworm infestation. The surveys conducted between 1925 and 1933 indicated annual budworm attacks on the Clearwater and Nez Perce National Forests and on several districts of the Helena National Forest. 
A Time of Change
In terms of disease and insect infestation, as well as timber and grazing management, forest surveys, and fire control, the 1930's effectually witnessed the advent of modern forest management and long-range planning. Although few at the time could be aware of their full extent, the 1930's brought change in most areas of forest management and in the way life was lived in the region.
When he retried in 1955, Ralph L. Hand had compiled an annual journal of experiences and reminiscences for the also 35 years he had work in Region 1. Having served as an assistant ranger on the Roundtop District of the St. Joe National Forest in the 1920's, he was the ranger there in 1932 when a road came through to Roundtop. It was the end of an era, he said. Before that, roads "were something we heard about but seldom saw" and "the mule was king." The region, in fact, was soon forced to rely on its own supply of pack animals as mules and horses rapidly disappeared from the area. Remount Depot at Ninemile Creek became the packing center for the region. From there, horses and mules were sent to fires on GMC trucks and Reo "Speedwagons." Although the mule and Remount operations remained in use until 1953, the modern era had long before crept up on the region. 
By the end of the 1930's, automobiles and trucks had largely replaced the mule, highway construction became more important than trail construction, and fires were being scouted by airplane. Almost within a single decade, the telephone replaced the older (and unsatisfactory) heliograph and was supplemented by the radio. By 1936, the region had a network for shortwave radios handling about 2,700 communication contacts with high reliability. That year, for the first time, in the Kelly Forks fire on the Clearwater National Forest, an airplane observer maintained direct communications via radio with a fire boss on the ground.
Although photographs from an airplane were first taken by H.R. Flint in 1926, the region purchased its first aerial camera in 1932 and, in each of the next 3 years, photographed approximately 4,500 square miles of forested lands. In 1936, the Region hosted a national conference on aerial photography; Evan Kelley and J.B. Yule, who had devised ingenious instruments for producing drainage maps from aerial photographs, explained the processes of forest survey by air.  The changes that occurred in the 1930's, however, were dwarfed by those that followed. World War II marked a watershed in the history of forestry in the Northern Region and elsewhere.
6. William D. Rowley, U.S. Forest Service Grazing and Rangelands: A History (College Station: Texas A&M University Press, 1985), p. 149. The Taylor Grazing Act of 1934 was landmark legislation, placing for the first time all public domain lands under some administration. It also created the Grazing Service of the Department of the Interior. The Grazing Service was later to become the Bureau of Land Management. The act also legalized grazing advisory boards.
12. Charlie Shaw, The Flathead Story (Kalispell, MT: USDA Forest Service, Northern Region, Flathead National Forest, 1967), p. 135; Albert N. Cochrell, A History of the Nezperce National Forest (Missoula, MT: USDA Forest service, Northern Region, 1970), p. 91.
15. Bill Sharp, a retired forester, has written a comprehensive history of the Civilian Conservation Corps in Montana and of the Fort Missoula District for the period May 1933 through July 1942. His manuscript examines the location, leadership, and work projects of many camps. See Bill Sharp, "The Civilian Conservation Corps in Montana and Under the Fort Missoula C.C.C. District, May 1933 through July 1942," Intaglio Collection, University of Montana Archives, Missoula, MT.
25. Wilson F. Clark, "A General History of Custer National Forest" (1982), Custer National Forest historical files, 120 pp.; Shaw, The Flathead Story, pp. 7, 141. The Blackfeet consolidation occurred in 1935 rather than in 1933.
26. Ralph Space, The Clearwater Story: A History of the Clearwater National Forest (Missoula, MT: USDA Forest Service, Northern Region, 1964), p. 40; Establishment and Modification of National Forest Boundaries: A Chronological Record, 1891-1973 (Washington, D.C.: USDA Forest Service, Division of Engineering, 1973), pp. 59-77.
31. "Forest Service Appropriation Increases for 1932" Forest Worker (March 1931): 12; S. Blair Hutchison and R.K. Winters, Northern Idaho Forest Resources and Industries, Misc. Pub. 508 (Washington, D.C.: USDA Forest Service, Northern Rocky Mountain Forest and Range Experiment Station), pp. 1-75; S. Hutchison and Paul D. Kemp, Forest Resources of Montana, Forest Resource Report No. 5 (Washington, D.C.: USDA Forest Service, 1952), pp. 1-76.
32. David A. Clary, Timber and the Forest Service (Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, 1986), p. 89; E.E. Carter, Assistant Forester, to the Forester, February 7, 1928, and December 16, 1931, in Federal Records Center, Seattle, 095-67A0136.
33. Thomas E. Rowland, "Timber Survey Report, Deer Creek, Lolo National Forest," February 3, 1930, pp. 1-17; "Statutes, Regulations and Instructions Under Which Records Were Assembled: Timber Surveys; C." Origin of Forest Service Estimates, Region 1, 1939, pp. 41-44q, in Federal Records Center, Seattle, WA, 095-67A0136.
34. A National Plan, p. 581; "Management Plan for the Bitterroot Working Circle, Bitterroot National Forest, Bitterroot Valley, Montana, 1941," pp. 1-24, and "Timber Management Plan for the Bitterroot Working Circle, Bitterroot National Forest, Region One, Montana, 1954," pp. 1-67, in Federal Records Center, Seattle, 095-67A0136.
38. C.S. Webb, Memorandum for files, May 10, 1936; George E. Sholtz, "Kootenai Unit Timber Management Plan (Preliminary and Tentative)" (1937); "The Timber Situation and Possibilities for a Sustained Yield Management Plan in the Kootenai Unit, Montana," 1938, in Federal Records Center, Seattle, WA, 095-67A0136.
39. USDA Forest Service, Northern Rocky Mountain District, "Forest Statistics and Maps, 1929," pp. 1-52, in historical files, Idaho Panhandle National Forest, Coeur d'Alene, ID; Tabular data "Region One, July 1, 1970," Table 10, in Federal Records Center, Seattle, WA, 095-74A401.
44. Cochrell, A History of the Nezperce National Forest, p. 80; Space, The Clearwater Story, pp. 79-80; "The Most Critical and Important Range Problem: Ignorance, the Principal Range Problem in Montana, and the Unwillingness to Concede Existence of Such Ignorance," and "Summary" (n.p., n.d.), in Federal Records Center, Seattle, 095-770315; Clark, "A General History of Custer National Forest," pp. 27, 36.
48. USDA Forest Service, Northern Rocky Mountain Forest and Range Experiment Station, Forty Years of Forest Research in the Northern Rocky Mountain Region (Missoula, MT: USDA Forest Service, 1950), pp. 1-62; "Northern Rocky Mountain Experiment Station Enlarged," Forest Worker 7 (July 1931) 45:13.
51. Forty Years of Forest Research, p. 6; "Forest Service Appropriation Increases for 1932." Forest Worker 7 (March 1931): 12; Charles E. Hardy, The Gisborne Era of Forest Fire Research, FS-367 (Washington, D.C.: USDA Forest Service, 1983), pp. 15-36.
55. Shaw, The Flathead Story, pp. 2,7, 87; Cochrell, A History of the Nezperce National Forest, pp. 81, 83; Early Days in the Forest Service, Vol 3, pp. 122-125; Press release, Region 1, #729, July 5, 1936; USDA Forest Service, Northern Region, Fire Control Handbook, rev. 1936, and Fire Control Planning, Policy, Standards and Instructions, Region One, in Federal Records Center, Seattle, WA, 095-770315; "Fire Board of Review Report, 1939 Season, Meeting at Libby, Montana, January 24-27," pp. 1-19, in historical files, Kootenai National Forest, Libby MT; Doetch, "History of the Kootenai National Forest," 1976, p. 127.
56. J.F. Martin and Perley Spaulding, "Blister Rust on White Pine," in Trees, The Yearbook of Agriculture, 1949 (Washington, D.C.: U.S. Department of Agriculture, 1949), pp. 453-458; Early Days in the Forest Service, Vol. 3, pp. 252-254.
58. S. Blair Hutchison and Paul D. Kemp, Forest Resources of Montana, pp. 42-43; H.R. Flint, "Various Aspects of the Insect Problem in the Lodgepole Pine Region," USDA Forest Service, Northern Rocky Mountain District, D-1 Applied Forestry Notes, 54, 1924, pp. 1-4.
60. "Progress in Insect Control Work in the Northern Rocky Mountain Region," Forest Worker 6 (May 1930): 10-11; Philip C. Johnson and Robert E. Denton, "Outbreaks of the Western Spruce Budworm in the American North Rocky Mountain Area From 1922 Through 1971," Ogden, Utah, USDA Forest Service, Intermountain Forest and Range Experiment Station, General Technical Report INT-20, 1975, pp. 1-144.
61. Ibid., pp. 104-109; Jane Reed Benson, Thirty-two Years in the Mule Business: The USDA Forest Service Remount Depot and Winter Range (Missoula, MT: USDA Forest Service, Northern Region, Lolo National Forest, 1980), pp. 1-40.
62. Space, The Clearwater Story, pp. 89, 91-93; Shaw, The Flathead Story, p. 2; Cochrell, A History of the Nezperce National Forest, p. 60; Early Days in the Forest Service, p. 208; Clark, "A General History of the Custer National Forest," pp. 18, 56,92; Press releases, Region 1, #760, October 31, 1936, #757, October 24, 1936, #713, April 24, 1936, and #723, June 2, 1936.