The Early Days:
A Sourcebook of Southwestern Region History — Book 1


When Ed Tucker finished his work there were four copies prepared. One became Ed's personal copy. The remainder were distributed around the Regional Office and, for years, were carefully tended. Bob Bates remembers that the Regional Forester's Secretary would annually come to him and ask for an accounting of his copy. This is the treatment normally reserved for high dollar value items of "accountable property."

Each copy consisted of four bound volumes which total 1569 pages. There were no photographs in these copies, merely notations of what the intended photographs would show at various places throughout the text. Perhaps one of the four copies actually had the photographs inserted, but this is not the case with the two still available in the Regional Office. Some of the intended photographs appear to have been used in a much shortened version of the book published in 1972 by the Forest Service. "Men Who Matched The Mountains", by Tucker and George Fitzpatrick combined stories from the original manuscript with an update on Southwestern Region operations. The main difference between this publication and the Tucker and Fitzpatrick book is that here we have retained the original words and patterns of the informants.

In 1982, Bates brought Tucker's work to the attention of the Editor. It was immediately appreciated that publication of this historical material was desirable for a number of reasons. First, this was the history of the Southwestern Region itself and therefore of immeasurable interest to our own employees, both past and present. This was our history. What better way to bring home the point that cultural resources are an important resource than to illustrate that point with such relevant material?

Second, as part of our planning process, the Forest Service is obliged to produce "overviews that summarize the cultural resources of the Region including archeological, historical and ethnographic facts. The Tucker history was seen to contain numerous details about places and events that would contribute to the goals of the overviews. The cultural resources specialists of the Region should find many interesting leads to further research in these pages.

An additional potential benefit can be found in the Region's program of orientation for new employees. Selected readings from Tucker's book should help the students better see where they fit into a long progression of Forest Service events.

A publication proposal was drafted in which the Recreation staff offered to prepare the material for publication. Due to limitations on the staff's printing funds, it was proposed to deal with the four volumes one year at a time. Review of the proposal by the Region's Publications Committee produced a qualified approval. It was agreed that the material was worthy of publication. However, it was said that it was too important to deal with in such an ad hoc way; it would have to be published all at once, or not at all. Unfortunately, after considering the other titles scheduled for publication that year, it was decided that the Tucker book would consume too large a share of the budget if completed at once. The project moved to the back burner.

In subsequent years the Recreation staff's publication budget had ever less purchasing power. Tucker's book was not forgotten, but stayed in the background. Then, in late 1987, the Regional Forester, Sotero Muniz, asked to borrow two volumes. He discovered the inherent interest of the old first-person stories and appreciated the reception that they would have. With his encouragement, the publication effort began to come back to life.

In 1982 the Forest Service had been using its IBM "System Six" word processor machines to ready manuscripts for printing. At that time. Donna Caulkins had started typing a camera-ready version of the text. Before the project was put on hold, she had done a bit more than one full volume. Today, the System Six has been replaced by the more sophisticated Data General computer equipment. Of course, the earlier work was incompatible with the new machines.

By chance, early in 1987, the Editor was able to provide a volume of Tucker to the Recreation Chief Clerk for use in typing drills. As new people came to the unit, they were given that volume to copy on the Data General. Tucker was used as an interesting subject to read while learning how to use the computer's word processing functions. This also got us a head start toward readying the material for publication, should an opportunity arise. Once the project seemed truly viable again, the clerks in Recreation gave Tucker a higher priority and the chapters began to fill the memory disks.

Under the leadership of the Chief Clerk, Dana Woodworth, several ladies devoted many hours to entering the volumes into the Data General. First, Joan Gregorski worked at it. Upon Joan's transfer to the Aviation and Fire Management staff, Joann Osbourne, Berlinda Gaddy, and Lori Long joined the team. To Mrs. Jackson, Tucker's original typist, we give special thanks for she has left to us an excellent "manuscript" copy to work from. To her, and to all of the ladies of the present generation, we owe our gratitude.

One of the virtues of Tucker's work is its lack of pretension. He did not see fit to heavily edit the words of his informants. If someone said he was "gonna" do something, then Tucker didn't presume to use his blue pencil to change what he was "going to" do. There is a clear feeling that people were talking to another Forest Service officer and telling it straight. Attitudes expressed herein are not always ones fashionable in the Forest Service of today. Some stories put the Forest Service in a better light than others, but all seem to be told without intent to deceive and they do reflect the informants' times.

It has been the Editor's purpose to preserve Tucker's intent and his informants' words. Current standards for publications, as well the capabilities and limitations of the word processors in use today, have imposed some format requirements. These differ only in unimportant ways from the first limited edition. Spelling errors, when obviously inadvertent, have been corrected. Where Tucker inserted his own editorial comments in the text, he did so with parenthesis. The few clarifications and additions made in the current editing have been indicated with brackets, except additions to Tables which are always obvious because they post-date Tucker's work.

An interesting change over the years has occurred in the standards of capitalization used in writing organization titles. For example. what we would now call the "Washington Office" was, in the early years, usually referred to as the "Washington office." Likewise, the words "Ranger", "District", "National Forest", etc., were not generally capitalized. The variations you will observe in this book are not the product of inattentive proof readers so much as a deliberate intent to replicate the exact form of documents being quoted. Similarly, various styles of indentation of paragraphs indicate an attempt to replicate the original styles of documents.

Tucker introduced, at various places throughout the book, excerpts from the Use Book, the original Forest Service prime directive. These have been retained and are set off from the main narrative by rows of stars. His brief introductions of new personalities, and some other sources, have been set in double columns of bold face type to better allow the reader to skim through sections.

The main deviation from Tucker's original work will be found in the Tables at the end of the book. Those lists of men and organizational units, unavoidably, ended about 1963. With the cooperation of current Forest Supervisors, the Editor attempted to bring those lists up to date and we has even been able to supply a few names previously missed.

David Gillio
June 21, 1988

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Last Updated: 15-Feb-2011