A History of the Six Rivers National Forest...
Commemorating the First 50 Years


1In order for forest reserves to be created in the East, they had to be purchased rather than carved out of the public domain. The Weeks Act authorized such purchases through the National Forest Reservation Commission, acting as Congress' broker.

2The Trinity National Forest, from which the Six Rivers' Mad River and Lower Trinity districts came, had been established since April 26, 1905. The Klamath National Forest was established shortly thereafter, on May 6, 1905. The Siskiyou National Forest was created October 5, 1906; in 1911, the Klamath's Gasquet/Smith Fork Ranger District was transferred to the Siskiyou.

3At times, the NRPU was under the administrative wing of Gasquet Ranger Station. When the Six Rivers was first organized, this arrangement apparently started with "a cryptic note" in the mail, assigning the fire control responsibilities for the NRPU to the Gasquet District. Ranger Quackenbush joked that it was done because the NRPU was usually shorthanded and because the...

fire load down there is rather light. Anyway it is light until one gets started.... That N.R.P.U. brush is so big, the timber mgt. crew very often takes increment borings on huckleberry and only discovers their error when the 'cones' are found to be edible [Quackenbush et al. 1947: 2].

4The earlier line separating the Siskiyou's Gasquet District from the Klamath's Orleans district was different than it is currently. A 1936 map showed the district boundary traversing Red Mountain from the west, heading southeast along the current 14N01 road and, again, following the current 14N01 road, northeast, to Cedar Camp Spring. At the junction of the Summit Valley Trail with current road 15N01, the boundary appears to have followed today's 15N01, southeastward, to the current district boundary. Gasquet District had been organized as the Smith Fork Ranger Station in 1909 (Cooper 1939: Del Norte County section and part III 3a, 4).

In addition to this net national forest land acreage, there were 46,942 acres of alienated land within the outside boundary of Six Rivers land formerly part of the Siskiyou National Forest; 7,555 acres of alienated land formerly part of the Klamath National Forest; and 113,333 alienated acres within lands formerly part of the Trinity National Forest (Fischer 1950: Appendix, Table II).

5Regional Forester Show had long demonstrated a keen interest in the north coast region. His 1932 technical bulletin on timber growing and logging practices on the redwood coast promoted the idea that it made better long-term economic sense to modify logging methods and post-logging burning practices in order to use redwood growing lands for intensive timber management than to convert them to farming or grazing lands. Writing the bulletin during the depression, he remarked that even though the hard times had been unfortunate for timber operators in the redwood region, on the bright side, it had stimulated a "search for means of weathering the crisis" and "opened new possibilities for increasing both immediate profits and the long-term return from manufacture, and.., for decreasing the cost of reforestation." Show was confident that in-depth investigation and research would prove that "[p]rofitable perpetuation of a going concern by deliberate timber growing" was more prudent "than the alternative of dismantling the business as soon as the virgin forest is cut" (Show 1932: 20-21).

6Lyle F. Watts tenure as Chief of the Forest Service was characterized by his conviction that the agency was at a turning point following World War II. He viewed the nation's saw timber supply as declining in quantity and quality; its losses from harvest and from natural causes exceeded annual growth by 50 percent. At the same time, he viewed the nation's need for saw timber as greater than the post-war harvest levels. He warned in his forward to Forests and National Prosperity: "Whether we are in for a permanent timber shortage or whether we shall have plenty of timber depends largely on what we do now. We have enough forest land. The challenge is to grow the timber." His was a call for intensive timber management and for sustained yield on both national forest land and on private timber land (USDA, FS 1948: iv).

7In 1935, through its National Forest Reservation Commission, Congress authorized the Forest Service to acquire land within a Northern Redwood Purchase Unit (NRPU) in Northwestern California. The purpose was to create a 130,000-acre national forest within the growth zone of coastal redwoods in order to assure productive second growth of that species. Between 1939 and 1945, the federal government acquired 14,567 acres of redwood land within the NRPU boundary. Before the Six Rivers National Forest was established, the NRPU was administered through the Trinity National Forest's satellite office at Crescent City.

8Unfortunately, this "work load and boundaries report from Region 5" has, thus far, not been located. Its title was apparently: "Recommended Reorganization of National Forest & Ranger District Boundaries and Calculated Load." Refer to the 1946 Brandeberry report.

9At the same time that the Gasquet Ranger District was transferred to become part of Six Rivers National Forest, the lands which officials had agreed would go from the Rogue River National Forest in Region 6 to the Klamath in Region 5 were also transferred. It included those lands within the exterior boundaries of the Rogue River National Forest in Townships 40 and 41 South, and Ranges 1 East and 1 West. W.M., south of the divide between the Rogue and the Klamath rivers.

10Gifford Pinchot died of leukemia October 4, 1946 at age 81.

11The Memorial Redwood Forest would have encompassed the lands within the Redwood Purchase Unit boundaries. Therefore, once the Six Rivers was organized and had assumed temporary administration of the lands acquired for the Northern Redwood Purchase Unit, the intent of creating what became the Six Rivers and the imbroglio over the Memorial Redwood Forest were entwined in the public mind.

12In 1934, the Del Norte County Board of Supervisors passed a resolution asking Congress to attach the portion of the Siskiyou National Forest within California to the Klamath National Forest. Secretary of Agriculture, Henry A. Wallace, rejected the idea, primarily citing the natural watershed boundary that supported the Gasquet District remaining part of the Siskiyou. Winter access was also a consideration; the Siskiyou Mountains blocked transportation to the Klamath's headquarters in Yreka via the Happy Camp Road, making it necessary to travel to Gasquet via Grants Pass (USDA Wallace 12-26-34).

13George Ferrare had briefly, just prior to his assignment to what would become the Six Rivers, been assigned to the Regional Office's Recreation and Lands division.

14Cornelia Bryce Pinchot, 1881 to 1960, was an activist in the suffrage movement and, throughout her life, took a keen interest in liberal politics. She met Gifford Pinchot while campaigning for Theodore Roosevelt in 1912. It was largely due to Cornelia's influence that Gifford's definition of conservation broadened in the 1920s and 1930s—beyond scientific management—to embrace the human dimension: the condition of workers, education for betterment of society, and securing resources for international peace (Severance 1990: passim). One can see how the Pinchots' conservation philosophies aligned with those of Representative Douglas. (See chapter: Congresswoman Douglas and the Roosevelt Memorial Redwood National Forest.)

15Josiah Gregg—along with L. K. Wood and six other men traveling from the Weaverville area—was credited with "discovering" Humboldt Bay December 22, 1949, having heard about the bay from Indians. Gregg died of starvation not long after the party headed for the Sacramento Valley; the others survived. Gregg was responsible for naming the Elk, Mad, Van Duzen, and Eel rivers (Gudde 11-19-46).

16Hermann Ehrenberg, after serving in the "Texas war for independence," came to Oregon and, in 1848, to California. He explored the general region of the new national forest and was reputedly the first non-Indian to "discover" the mouth of the Klamath River and Gold Bluffs; he was also the first to formally map the area.

17R. S. Monahan of the Regional Office wrote a memo to the files that further clarified the naming process. He noted that he had been the one to contact Kyne and that Kyne had initially offered the name "Cincos Rios" because he had counted five major rivers within the new forest. The regional Forest Names Committee liked the name, though counted six major rivers and also thought the Spanish name should not be used, since the north coast had not been under Spanish influence; further, they argued that the Spanish rendition would be "difficult to spell and pronounce" (Monahan 12-12-46).

18Save the Redwoods League was formally organized in 1919. By 1949, it had 15,000 members and was responsible for purchasing large tracts of redwoods for preservation. Its purposes were four-fold: to purchase, by private subscription and state and county bond issues, redwood groves, concentrating on the most awe-inspiring ones along the highways; to establish a national redwood park; to encourage the state to purchase cutover redwood areas for reforestation; and to promote study of second growth redwood for timber (Powers 1949: 150-151).

19The investigative and reporting party consisted of R. F. Hammatt, Assistant District Forester (Chief of Party); M. B. Pratt, Deputy State Forester for California; and Donald Bruce, Associate Professor of Forestry, University of California. Paul Redington, who had succeeded Coert DuBois as Regional Forester, was also on the trip for "the greater part of the time."

20Filling-in behind "Bung" Bower, Hallin's headquarters at Crescent City consisted of an office and garage. These buildings were later donated to the Del Norte County Fair grounds.

21As Resources Management Specialist, Hatzimanolis vigorously attempted to apply findings and implications from research on the adjacent Yurok Redwood Experimental Forest to the challenge of meeting harvest targets on the NRPU. Hatzimanolis had to blaze trail with many of his decisions and worked hard to look at proposed harvests from a scientific and broad resource perspective.

22For example. the Federal Emergency Relief Administration (ERA) and the later CCC programs provided the manpower at Gasquet to build a new ranger station; beginning in 1933, they replaced the old Smith Fork Ranger Station on the north side of the Middle Fork by building Gasquet Ranger Station. Also completed during the CCC era on Gasquet Ranger District were the Patrick Creek Guard Station and campground, Big Flat Guard Station, and camp facilities at Grassy Flat, Madrona, Sawyers Bar and Cedar Camp. Lookouts were built at Stone Corral (High Divide), Camp Six, Baldy Peak, Summit Valley, Red Mountain, High Plateau, Rattlesnake, and Monkey Creek Ridge. The Bear Basin and South Fork of the Smith roads were also constructed as were a number of trails and trail and road improvements (Quackenbush et al. 1947: 1). Among the many CCC projects at Lower Trinity was a new ranger station relocated to a former public campground at Salyer. Other CCC projects included telephone lines from Salyer to Boards Camp, construction of a 20-foot steel tower lookout at Boards Camp at the head of Grouse Creek, a 75-mile branch telephone line at New River, construction of a 30-foot steel lookout at Brush Mountain along with a complete guard station, another guard station at Ammon Ridge, a 30-foot steel tower lookout at Grouse Mountain, and lookouts at Virgin Buttes and Cabin Peak (Hotelling 1978: 92; Cooper 1939: part III 65). Similar depression-era construction projects occurred on Orleans and Mad River ranger districts, including new ranger station compounds, guard stations, lookouts, roads, and trails.

23The Six Rivers was haunted by its long, narrow shape, with its consequent challenges to administrative cohesion. In 1955, inspectors Lepley and Fisher reviewed the monthly diaries that had been summarized from July. "The ratio of time spent behind steering wheels as compared to effective time on jobs for both ranger district and Staff personnel..." left a wide margin for improvement: "The long distances from Eureka to each ranger districts [sic] make one and two-day trips run high to travel and low to productive work on-the-ground. Where there is so much rushing 'hither and yon', one gets the impression that 'the job is running the man' rather than the reverse, as it should be" (Fisher and Lepley 5-12 & 6-26-55: 1 & 3).

24A quarter century later, in 1971, Six Rivers officials calculated that, given the envisioned intensive program of timber management—including precommercial thinning and intermediate cuts at 10-year intervals at about age 50—stand development would be accelerated by about 10 years, yielding a final harvest rotation period of 140 years instead of 150 years. As stated in the Six Rivers' Timber Management Plan for 1971 through 1980, the ultimate goal of the forest's timber management program was a "regulated forest: ...The classic regulated forest is one of equal age class distribution where each acre is producing wood at its maximum potential for the management intensity and rotation selected." Though recognized that a completely regulated forest was an unachievable goal, the forest's efforts were aimed at that target (USDA, FS 1979: 11, 24).

25This article was essentially a verbatim series of quotes from Fischer's 1950 work, "A Prospectus Of the Six Rivers National Forest." From its taproot of Progressivism, the Forest Service had a strong tradition of decentralization as a means of cutting red tape and increasing accountability to its publics.

26A board foot (bf) is the volume of wood in a board that measures one inch thick and is one foot square. "M" signifies 1,000 and "MM" signifies 1,000,000. Therefore 16 mmbf is shorthand for 16 million board feet. Sometimes the same quantity would be expressed as: 16 MMBM, the trailing "M" standing for "measure."

27The Six Rivers' "recreation reserve" was about two percent of the commercial forest area, or 15,000 acres (Hallin 4-29-54).

28Estimating visitor use on a national forest is inexact. Compare these figures with Gasquet's Ranger Quackenbush who, in 1947, reported having counted 158,224 out-of-state (south-bound traffic) visitors passing the Gasquet Ranger Station. He also reported that many of them stayed in the district's campgrounds along the Redwood Highway and that "scads of fish were taken in the Smith River and its tributaries" (Quackenbush et al. 1947: 4). Compare the 1956 figures, too, with those from just four years earlier: 1,004,578 visitors, comprised of 7,624 anglers, 2,183 hunters, 7,369 campers, 15,121 picnickers, resort guests, etc. and 947,500 recreation visitors labeled as "passing through" (Payne and Juntunen 1954: appendix A-2).

29Early in the Six Rivers' history, the Policy and Procedures Handbook said that permits for isolated summer homes would not be issued; only for summer home lots located within approved summer home tracts. Approval by the Chief of the Forest Service was required for designating new summer home tracts. Supervisor Fischer underscored the importance of recommending summer home tracts only on lands not necessary or suitable for general public use (USDA, FS, SRNF Handbook, Recreation 10-30-47).

30In 1949, there was a total of 237 unpatented mineral claims on the Six Rivers; 206 of those were believed to be fraudulent, encumbering 5,580 acres. Forest-wide, there were 335 abandoned mineral claims totaling 8,290 acres. No claims existed on the Northern Redwood Purchase Unit since that land, purchased under the Weeks Act, is not subject to mineral entry (Fischer 1950: appendix table XV).

31The Highway 199 portion of the Redwood Highway was opened for traffic in 1926. A significant portion of Highway 199 parallels the Smith River.

32In 1996, there were three, standing trail shelters using the Quackenbush design: one each at Upper Coon Mountain, Summit Valley, and Buck Creek. Only Buck Creek is along the South Fork of the Smith. Gasquet Ranger Quackenbush, Packer Robert Steven, and Big Flat Patrolman Floyd Lyne built a trail shelter at Elkhorn Bar, on the South Fork of the Smith River, in September. Gasquet was enthusiastic about its trail shelters, noting in the 1947 district diary that "'Quack' and his trail shelters are rapidly becoming famous on the Six Rivers. Big plans are in preparation to extend this practice to other districts" (Quackenbush, et al. 1947: 5). Though the 1949 summary of improvements in Fischer's "Prospectus of the Six Rivers National Forest" lists a total of six trail shelters—five on Gasquet and one on Orleans—to date, only three have been recorded on Gasquet Ranger District/Smith River National Recreation Area. Reportedly, there was also a Quackenbush-type, Adirondack-style shelter built at Sky High Valley on the Klamath National Forest (Bower 1978 Vol V: 92).

33The guard stations for Mad River were Hoaglin, Zenia, and Ruth; for Lower Trinity, they were Campbell Creek, and Trinity Summit; Bluff Creek for Orleans; and Patrick Creek and Big Flat for Gasquet.

34Perhaps more than for most other national forests in California, trails on the Six Rivers continued to be important transportation byways into more recent time. The relatively late arrival of other transportation systems—for example high standard roads and railroads—due to relative demand, remoteness, low population density, and topographical challenges, contributed to this phenomenon. For example, the Northwestern Pacific Railroad was one of the last US rail lines to be built; its northbound tracks finally reached Eureka in 1914. Some historic trails such as the Eel River-Weaverville Trail, a long section of which is on the Mad River District, are still maintained as the County Line Trail. The Humboldt Hyampom Trail from Trinity Bay (Trinidad) to Coxs Bar (Big Bar) was also a primary artery with vestiges on Lower Trinity Ranger District. Important pack trails, such as the Kelsey Trail between Crescent City and Fort Jones, partly on the Smith River National Recreation Area, also lace the Six Rivers.

35Hotelling's father, William, had been a miner in the Orleans Bar area who, in 1906, was appointed as a Forest Guard and, later, as Assistant Forest Ranger at Orleans. In 1908, he built the first ranger station in Orleans, about three miles north of the present station location. It was a log structure with wide chinking; it had a full front porch, was side-gabled and had a shake roof. In 1911, William quit the Forest Service and became manager of the A. Brizard branch store in Somes Bar. Ellen, his wife, managed a hotel in that community; Ellen's mother was Indian Mary from Eye-ee-s Bar, who had married Alvirus Ferris, an Orleans area miner.

Wes Hotelling's first Forest Service job was in 1917, hanging telephone wire from Orleans toward Somes Bar. After serving in France during World War I, Wesley returned to his Orleans home and got a job as the lookout on Orleans Mountain and, later, as a Forest Service crew member. In 1920, he became the acting District Ranger at Orleans, still a unit of the Klamath National Forest. After gaining experience on the Sequoia and the Inyo national forests, he was assigned, in 1927, to replace Ranger Frank Graham at Lower Trinity Ranger District on the Trinity National Forest. Briefly serving at the Upper Trinity District headquartered at Weaverville, he returned to Lower Trinity at Salyer, remaining as ranger of that district until he retired in 1955. Upon retirement from the Forest Service, he took a position with the Brizard Matthews firm and continued with them until 1970. An interesting sidebar is that while Hotelling was the Mt. Whitney District Ranger at Lone Pine, he had a supplementary night job working in Carl Bruno's Square Deal Garage; Bruno later established the Trees of Mystery near the town of Klamath (Hotelling 1978: 18, 19, 26, 27, 32, 51, 69, 76, 87, 103).

36In general and at least by the mid-1930s, the Forest Service discouraged converting mining claims to residential special use permits when it was known or suspected that the claim was held in bad faith—that is, a claim filed, title to the land received, and improvements built where no appreciable mineral deposit actually existed. Forest officers were encouraged to contest fraudulent mineral entry claims but to avoid even an appearance of harassing bonafide miners. Along Highway 199 and the Smith River, it was noted that there was "considerable abuse along this particular highway of people locating mining claims for the purpose of selling them to people who have principally in mind the idea of building summer homes. A number of areas possible for this kind of use have been posted and are being developed as public recreational grounds..." (Mitchell 7-20-34).

37We think of fish hatcheries as being a relatively recent manipulation, but one existed at Hoopa before 1891. Historian Andrew Genzoli reported seeing an item published in 1891 that read: "Captain Brice representative on this coast of the National Fish Commission made a call to The Humboldt Times Tuesday. The captain has been at Hoopa for several weeks overhauling and adding to the hatchery there. About 90,000 salmon were turned into the river last winter, and arrangements have been made for increasing that number greatly. Trout will be propagated at Hoopa, for which purpose a breeding pond has been built which now contains about 200 trout. An auxiliary salmon hatchery will be established at Bair's place on Redwood [Creek], and another on Mad River, but just at what point has not been determined. Captain Brice expects to be able to turn out about half a million salmon yearly after this year" (TS 9-8-75: 16).

38Over the years of 1947, 1951, 1964, and 1965, a total of 51 elk were "planted" in the Bear Basin area. The 20 elk planted in 1964 and 1965 were tagged and sightings of them were recorded. Of the 51 elk 16 were bulls and 35 were cows.

39Fire control assistants were later called Assistant District Rangers. In the earlier years, FCAs handled fire control and maintenance of the improvements under the district ranger in order to free up the ranger for management of the district's other resources.

40Vaux' figures for 1950 were that the forest industry directly provided jobs for 8,726—or one of every three—"occupied persons" in Humboldt County. For the same year, he also noted that timber industries accounted for one of every three dollars of civilian income. Though one can quibble with the exact figures, the trends and implications for the area's economy are more firm: that the area depended heavily on the forest products industry and that declines in the industry rippled through the region with sharp economic effects. By 1953, lumber production in Humboldt County was four and one-half times larger than it had been in 1940 and the number of sawmills had multiplied eight fold (Vaux 1955: 5, 9).

41Part of the Brain Book, or the "Policy and Procedure Handbook," was composed of five-year goals. Annual plans of work were tied to the goals and, in turn, to annual financial plans. The "Forest Board of Directors"—composed of the four district rangers, S.O. staff, and the forest supervisor—determined the distribution of funding accordingly.

42Prior to 1944, Douglas fir was not assessed for taxes because it was not considered to have any taxable value. After that time, all private commercial timber stands were assessed, resulting in additional county revenue.

43The reference to "potential" national forest lands had to do with the use of pre-cutting agreements with timberland owners. Often this involved the private timberland owner agreeing, before harvest commenced, to exchange for government timber, a given piece of cutover land from the private owner. The deal was made on the condition that the private operator harvest in accord with sustained yield practices, generally involving selection cutting and leaving an adequate residual stand as well as not broadcast burning after the harvest.

44Old-growth was defined as stands where over 50 percent of the coniferous canopy was composed of mature trees and fewer than 20 percent of the young trees were over 12 inches diameter base height.

45Prior to 1952, the Six Rivers did not collect deposits for extra fire protection from its timber sales. In 1952, 30 cents per thousand board feet was collected. with 25 cents going for extra protection and the remainder for burning, accomplished by Forest Service personnel. Though Jarvi, in his 1952 inspection, judged this figure to be inadequate, he urged forest officials to keep close account of actual costs in order that a more appropriate figure could be used in future timber sale appraisals.

46To aid in resource surveys and planning, one of the first tasks on the new national forest had been to delimit "working circles." These were management areas that shared enough common characteristics and were generally definable on the ground, often by watershed. Resource inventories were generally done on the basis of working circles, with an emphasis on timber. The working circle, then, formed the scope for management plans and for the projects to carry out the plans. Working circle management plans typically described the acres and timber volumes by ownership classes, the existing transportation system, the silvicultural objectives and practices to be used—including preferred logging methods, annual sustainable cut, and timber sale objectives and policy within the working circle.

47Table VI of Fischer's 1950 prospectus listed a total of eight saw timber sales within the Six Rivers National Forest in 1949.

48Until the plan for FY 1971 through 1980 was completed, timber management plans focused on achieving their objectives primarily through regeneration cuts. Under the newer plan, objectives were to be met applying intensive timber management practices to convert the forest to a more regulated condition of equal age-class distribution; forestry practices related to this included regeneration, release, intermediate cuts, precommercial thinning, and planting. With that paradigm, the harvest potential for the standard component of commercial forest land on the Six Rivers was set at 2059.3 million board feet for the first decade, or about 206 million board feet annually. exclusive of the Northern Redwood Purchase Unit. Previous plans had set the annual harvest at 160.4 million board feet; revised for intensive management, the annual cut was increased to 197.7 million board feet, with 18.1 million board feet deducted when the NRPU became trading pieces for the Redwood National Park (USDA, FS 1979: v).

49The 1951 Regional supplement to the General Administration Manual defined the GII as an examination of how the forest performed in "achieving depth and breadth of administrative vision and action - weaving all Forest plans and activities into a unified pattern of land management, where the Forests' resources and their products can make the highest sustained contributions to the people."

50The National Forest Manual Regulations and Instructions stated that the "[n]ational forests have for their objects to insure a perpetual supply of timber, to preserve the forest cover which regulates the flow of streams, and to provide for the use of all resources which the forests contain in the ways which will make them of largest service. Largest service means greatest good to the greatest number in the long run. It means conservation through use, with full recognition of all existing individual rights and with recognition also that beneficial use must be use by individuals; but without the sacrifice of a greater total of public benefit to a less. In other words, the forests are to be regarded as public resources to be held, protected, and developed by the Government for the benefit of the people" (chapter on administration and protection, 3-A).

51The source of this list of purposes is probably a pre-1947 document not yet found. Note its similarity with the list in Cronemiller and Kern's 1949 general integrating inspection report.

52Other sources put the total timber resources of the Six Rivers at 18 billion board feet on about 779,000 acres of commercial forest lands. The predominant species were Douglas-fir (about 85 per cent), sugar pine, Jeffrey, and ponderosa pine, white and red fir, Port Orford-cedar, and incense cedar.

53February 1947, the State Board of Forestry adopted forest practice rules for the Redwood Forest District (HT 3-23-47). Forest practice rules for the Coast Range pine and the fir forest district became effective April 10. The Regional Office's position on the efficacy and usefulness of these rules were that "they must be considered as in their initial stage." They were initiated from within the industry and "merely provide for the leaving of seed trees, specified retention and pre-suppression effort and certain care in logging." RO officials felt this type of control would only have the effect of keeping timber land productive; not of effecting maximum or sustained yield.

There was a level of professional friction between the Forest Service and State Forestry because state officials "stand steadfast behind the philosophy of the Forest Practice Act as the final answer" without evidence of their having done the inspection and enforcement necessary to confirm that conclusion. Somewhat snidely, inspectors Cronemiller and Kern reported that: "White collared people often had their fingers crossed because they thought they were seeing the rules in action and couldn't accept the result as good forestry. Labor just knew that industry-made rules couldn't be good and was open for suggestions." The inspectors folded all of these issues into a proposed research program for the forest but admonished: "In spite of a lot of pioneering work by federal foresters, care should be taken that no attempt be made, consciously or unconsciously, to take the leadership away from the employees in private industry, but give it full support" (Cronemiller and Kern 1949: 3-7).

54P. A. Thompson succeeded S. B. Show in late 1946 as Regional Forester for California. Thompson had been Forest Supervisor of the Willamette National Forest in Oregon for three years, beginning in 1935. Before being appointed by Chief Watts as Regional Forester for California, Thompson had been chief of the Regional Office's Fire Control Division (CR 11-13-46:1).

Show left the Forest Service after serving 20 years as Regional Forester for California. Not yet ready to retire, he became Deputy Director and Chief Silviculturist in the Forestry and Forest Products Division of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (CR 8-28-46: 1).

55"An Appraisal of the Economic and Social Effect of the Proposed Roosevelt Redwood Forest" provides a wonderful, panoramic snapshot of the commodity and recreational values of the study area as seen through the eyes of the Forest Service in the immediate post World War II years. It contained chapters on resource inventories (timber, agriculture, recreation, and other), the extent and character of present use (local government, fire situation, land ownership, importance of resource to county, timber, agriculture, recreation, other), a comparison of present use with use under National Forest administration, and recommended boundary revisions.

Regional Forester Show had appointed Hamilton K. Pyles to be in-charge of completing this momentous report. He also named Jack C. Kern, Assistant Forest Supervisor on the Angeles and who would later serve with F. P. Cronemiller in completing the first General Integrating Inspection of the Six Rivers National Forest; Roy G. Wagner, Assistant Forest Supervisor on the Shasta; Jack L. Reveal, Farm Forester for Napa and Sonoma counties, and who would later become District Ranger of the Summit District on the Stanislaus National Forest; Dana W. Cox, a District Ranger on the Mendocino; Vernon C. Hallin, Ranger for the Northern Redwood Purchase Unit administered by the Trinity National Forest, who would later be assigned to key positions on the Six Rivers; and Leland E. Berriman, a District Ranger on the Sierra (USDA, FS 8-7-46: 1).

56Parts of this article are nearly verbatim of the October 29, 1946 Regional Office press release regarding establishment of the Six Rivers (USDA, FS 10-29-46).

57Senator Dewey Anderson sponsored S. B. 1820, linked with Douglas' H. R. 2394. He sponsored "An Action Program for the Redwood Forest," published as Report No. 5 of the Public Affairs Institute.

58Douglas was also routinely criticized by her detractors for her previous careers as a Broadway actress, opera star, and Hollywood screen actress. She was married to the actor Melvyn Douglas.

The Redwood National Park Act was signed by President Johnson on October 2, 1968. One result was that the sizable Northern Redwood Purchase Unit shrank to 540 acres; the lion's share of the NRPU was used as exchange parcels for more desirable lands held by private timber land owners and desired for the Redwood National Park.

59The inspectors reported that "[t]wo of the Rangers, Wes Hotelling, (Lower Trinity District) 32 years of service, and Leo Quackenbush, (Gasquet District), 25 years of service were also as signed the Forest at its establishment. Both of these 'old timers' plan to retire within the next 2 years. The two remaining Rangers, Charles Yates, (Orleans District) and Robert Janes, (Mad River District) have 2-1/2 years and 1-1/2 years of experience, respectively, on the Six Rivers" (Williams & Kern 1952: 2).

60Otto Brichacek was selected as Tish-Tang District Ranger in 1958. In 1959, Walter Kirschman replaced him and remained at Tish-Tang until the district was dissolved in 1968. Kirschman then was assigned to the Six Rivers Supervisor's Office where he headed writing the forest's new, ten-year sustainable yield timber management plan. That plan withstood two Sierra Club appeals as well as a Federal judge review (Kirschman 6-9-97: pers. comm.).

61Vern Hallin also developed a special ax sheath that became widely used within the Forest Service (Hallin 5-20-97: pers. comm.).

62Six Rivers facilities were known, regionally, for their remoteness. For example. Gasquet Ranger Station did not have commercial electrical power until December 8, 1947 when the California-Oregon Power Company completed its power line to the station (Quackenbush, et al. 1947: 5).

By 1971, the Six Rivers estimated that its ultimate road system would be 5,888 miles; to that date 1,154 miles had been constructed (USDA, FS, SRNF 1971: 24).

63The Six Rivers had 22 pack and saddle horses and mules in 1955 but, like other forests in the region, was seeing that new or more readily available technologies—such as helicopters—were curtailing the need to maintain pack strings. Forest officials were also responding to the increased availability of stock for rent as more people and services moved into many areas. Use for fighting remote fires was coming to be seen as the major justification for maintaining pack stock. The inspectors noted that it cost about $140 per animal for maintenance and replacement, and that those expenditures were justified as long as each animal worked at least 25 days. Five animals were cut from the Six Rivers employment roster by early 1956 and still further cuts were being contemplated (Fisher and Lepley 5-12 & 6-26-55: 6 and Spinney 11-8-56: 3).

64At least as late as 1955, Six Rivers district rangers were graded as GS-9s. Because this was out-of-step with the region and did not reflect the complexity of the work, Regional Office inspectors Fisher and Lepley encouraged Supervisor Wes Spinney to upgrade the District Rangers to GS-11s: the "journeyman" professional level. Soon after the 1955 inspection, Spinney reported that he had upgraded one ranger and that another was in the works for 1956. In the same report, inspectors congratulated Spinney for "de-professionalizing" the dispatcher positions on the ranger districts, shifting that workload from Junior Foresters and adding it to the workload of district clerks (Fisher and Lepley 5-12 & 6-28-55: passim and Spinney 1-18-56: passim).

65For a 1952 inspection, a summary analysis was completed of the 1951 diaries of three forest staff officers, an assistant staff officer, four rangers, three fire control assistants, and a district timber management assistant. The analysis found that 29 percent of their time was reported in resources management tasks, seven percent in lands and uses, 45 percent in fire control duties, 10 percent in improvements work, and nine percent in leave. Of the time spent in resources management. 85 percent was spent in timber management. 7 percent in range, 5 percent in recreation. 2 percent in water management, and one percent in wildlife management. The relative time spent in fire control reflected a heavy fire year (Williams & Kern 1952: 10-11).

66In a 1952 report, Supervisor Fischer noted one of the toughest administrative snags for the Six Rivers: inadequate housing. Fischer characterized it as a problem that "seriously affects recruiting the right people for jobs." Just to take care of the increased timber business, Fischer projected that, in addition to a laundry list of needed offices, barracks, and room additions at existing administrative sites, "at least one, and perhaps two, complete new station developments" were necessary in the next 10 years. As an illustration, by 1955, out of Salyer/Lower Trinity Ranger Station alone, there were 30 logging operations going at one time as well as seven sawmills within the district.

67As the name implies, one acre foot is equal to the volume of water that covers an acre to a depth of one foot; equivalent to 43,560 cubic feet of water.

In their 1949 general integrating inspection report, Cronemiller and Kern summarized the Six Rivers' watershed situation:

As a watershed it produces as great a volume of water as any forest, yet without the elevation that produces snow packs. Firm summer flows are at a minimum with the result that water shortages are prevalent and the feasibility of power production questionable. Watershed management must provide situations that will keep peak discharges at a minimum and summer flows at a maximum. Water management must contemplate service to an increasing agricultural economy and also to what will become a great industrial center for the manufacture of the whole array of wood products from lumber through cellulose to chemistry. These inspectors also envisioned one of the major wildlife problems to be fisheries, and connected to fisheries, new and added pressures wrought by future water developments (Crone miller and Kern 1949: 1).

68From 1940 to 1949, 3,440 acres were burned on the Six Rivers that were attributed to incendiary causes; the year 1944 accounted for 2,608 of those acres. Interestingly, figures maintained for the same years regarding the "class" of people responsible for human-caused fires on the Six Rivers did not list Indians for 1944. Instead, ranchers, miners, stockmen, timbermen, fishermen, hunters, and "unknown" comprised the total of 17 human-caused fires for that year (Fischer 1950: appendix table XX).

69Lands that became the Six Rivers National Forest had been traditionally occupied by the Tolowa, Yurok, Karuk, Hupa, Tsungwe, Chimariko, Wyot, Whilkut, Nongatl, Chilula, Wintu, Lassik, Wailaki, and Pitch Wailaki.

70This was, of course, Ranger Wesley Hotelling. Hotelling reportedly dealt even-handedly with all within and outside the Native American communities. Hotelling's grandmother was Karuk; he was proud of his ancestry and had an exceptionally high cultural awareness of native people, especially those along the Klamath River.

71One Native American practitioner of Forest Service and Indian relationships remarked that there was a "vast cavern of ignorance that existed for many years as to the types of land management activities that annually were carried on by the Indians—un-noticed until the Forest Service began to manage more and more of the land.... My later research indicated that much of the fire [ignitions were] cultural burning" (Heffner 5-13-97: pers. comm.).

72The role of specialists in the organization continued to grow with the surge of environmental legislation that started in the 1960s, such as the Multiple Use-Sustained Yield Act of 1960, the 1964 Wilderness Act, the 1968 Wild and Scenic Rivers Act, the 1970 National Environmental Policy Act, the 1974 Forest and Rangeland Renewable Resources Planning Act, and the 1973 Endangered Species Act. As stated in a Forest Service miscellaneous publication from 1960: "No longer are the National Forests the inaccessible and distant hinterlands they were when the system was first established. No longer can the Forest Service be primarily a custodian whose principal function is protection of National Forests from fire. Barriers of time, distance, and inaccessibility have been fast fading, especially in the last two decades. The people have found the National Forests, and the Forests' vast resources are in great demand" (USDA. FS 1960: 4).

73Minerals known to occur on the Six Rivers in commercially viable quantities include gold, chrome, copper. nickel and silver.

74Compare the 1946 figures with this 1949 table (Fischer 1950: appendix table XI):

GasquetOrleans Lower
Blacktail deer
Black bear
Elk (Roosevelt)

Mountain lion
30 15320
Fox (red)
Ringtail cat



Wildlife listed as decreasing were: lynx, coyote, wolf, badger, marten, fisher, weasel, porcupine, jackrabbit, and valley quail (Fischer 1950: appendix table XIa).

75Trapping had historically been an important activity on the lands that became the Six Rivers National Forest. The practice seems to occur more regularly during times of economic depression, when it appears that more people trap to supplement diet and/or income. In 1929 at the Gasquet district, for example, it was noted that "trapping was quite profitable for several parties . . . and quite a number of cougar were killed" (Cooper 1939: part III, 54).

76Today, the Six Rivers has no summer home tracts. The three developed tracts it once had—the Ranger Lewis Tract, North Gasquet and Lower Gasquet were all on the Gasquet Ranger District. Forest managers, seeing that the district was burdened by an ever-increasing workload in permit administration that netted no real benefit to public lands, decided to trade out of these summer home tracts. After formally determining that these lands would never again be valuable for general forest use, the Six Rivers challenged tract owners—in an "all or nothing deal"—to organize, locate land that would be equally valuable and desirable as an acquisition for the Six Rivers, purchase it, and exchange it for the recreation residence tract land. One-by-one, these permittees met the challenge and became owners of the land under their recreation residences while the Six Rivers acquired other valuable real estate (Frey 6-6-97: pers. comm.).

77Kotok married Stuart Show's sister, Ruth. S.B. Show was a prolific writer; among his works is the unpublished and undated manuscript, "The History of the Development of U.S. Forest Service Fire Control." A rare copy of it is in the Pacific Southwest Regional Office, Heritage Resource files.

78Ranger Cooper noted in his administrative history of the Siskiyou National Forest that, in 1917, "[a] lady lookout was employed this season on Bald Knob, the first on record." She must have been a success since for the 1920 season, Cooper reported that "[t]hree women lookouts were employed on the Forest" (Cooper 1939: part III, 18, 27). Perhaps Region 6 took its lead from Region 5 where, in 1913, Hallie Daggett was appointed as lookout at Eddy's Gulch on the Klamath National Forest.

Principally, lookout personnel were men, but many had wives and it was expected that they would fill-in when their husbands had to leave the lookout to fight a fire or perform other duties. At least one woman who worked with her husband at Bear Basin Butte in 1934 protested, remarking that she was not willing to fill-in unless the ranger paid her for the work. Thereafter, she was paid. In later life she observed that, in those days, "women weren't very important until they were needed." Considered to be a 24-hour a day and seven day a week job, the pay for a Forest Service lookout in 1934 was $84 a month.

The earliest lookout towers being platforms mounted to treetops, they evolved through lumber, and then to steel materials. Nationwide, their use steadily increased until they reached a peak of 5,060 towers used by state forestry and Forest Service. Since that time, the increase in aerial detection and increased access resulting in citizen-reported fires has translated to a plummeting number of lookouts. The Forest Service and the Six Rivers National Forest experience were reflected in this national trend (cf. USDA, FS 1969: 8-13).

79The 1953 GII used 14 groupings of forest users to compare which ones were most needful of fire prevention education. The inspectors found that, of the total of 206 reported fires on the Six Rivers between 1943 and 1952, most were started by timbermen (17 percent) and fishermen (12.6 percent) Payne and Juntunen 1954: appendix A-7).

80A kind of lore has developed around the lives of fire lookouts, and for good reason. Unlike most jobs, it is not uncommon for ranger districts to maintain rosters of those who served in each lookout, even though in many cases, these fixed-point detection sites are no longer used or even physically exist. To illustrate some thing of the life of a fire lookout in the mid-1950s, following is a brief memorandum from Ranger Scollay Parker about an inspection of the Doctor Rock lookout. C. F. Brock in October 1955:

[Brock's] lookout point is Peak #8 on which there is an Osborne fire finder. No cover is provided for the observer. Living quarters are at Doctor Rock, approx thirty minutes travel time away. Brock has completed new quarters. working at the job when fire weather permitted. He has also done considerable brushing and spraying work along the Elk Valley trail—fire weather permitting.

The cabin is in need of new tables and chairs to replace those made of split cedar. This should he arranged for the 1956 season.

81The area encompassed by the Six Rivers National Forest acquired the moniker: "the asbestos forest." The relatively low burned acreage and comparatively low levels of industrial and recreational activity in the area served to sustain this perception until very recently. Though there were more exceptions than acknowledged (for example, Ranger Cooper noted in his 1939 history of the Siskiyou National Forest that Gasquet Ranger District suffered large fires in 1915, 1917, 1918, and 1932, higher moisture content in the atmosphere and vegetation served to slow and sometimes snuff fires before they consumed large areas. Historically, fire danger and incidence, even on the most northerly quadrant of the Six Rivers National Forest, was of great enough concern that inventive patrols were initiated. In 1915, a motorcycle-based fire patrol rode the Grants Pass to Crescent City Wagon Road, from Monumental to Berteleda/Hiouchi (Cooper 1939: part III, 11, 17, 21, 63). Later, exponential increases in logging and associated road-building on the Six Rivers provoked a different situation on the ground. A Regional Office inspection of the forest's fire program isolated two main culprits to effective fire control: dealing with logging slash hazards and with the high incidence of lightning fires in difficult to access areas. With increased logging slash and timber values, some of the most costly fires in the entire Region occurred on the Six Rivers in 1951. And although additional fire positions were created in the aftermath with increased State Cooperative and Forest Service funding, the Regional inspector believed these positions were "merely 'plugs' for the obvious gaps" in the forest's protection system (Jarvi 8-8-52: 1).

82Effects of the 1964 flood on redwoods were also a focus for study. Investigations funded by a National Science Foundation grant yielded the preliminary result that repeated flooding and siltation on the alluvial flood plains in the redwood growing region had the effect of maintaining the homogeneity of the redwood groves and their "open, park-like, and cathedral appearance;" indeed, that redwoods had adapted to periodic flooding (Becking 1967: 14-15 and Black 1967: 7).

Clear/patch cuts, road construction, and type conversions were among the forest management practices critics believed constituted the primary smoking guns held in the hands of the Six Rivers when trying to answer the question of why the 1964 flood devastation was so severe. Type conversions, though extensive on some other national forests in California, were not undertaken on any significant scale on the Six Rivers. It was judged that the Six Rivers supported few locations favorable to the practice because of watershed considerations. Most benches and flats where type conversions could be undertaken did not have good enough soil to justify clearing "and holding the cleared area, against natures [sic] efforts to recover the land." Mad River District Ranger, Kenneth Smith, went on to say that "increasing forage production for domestic stock [through type conversion techniques] would have to be justified from a dollars and cents stand???point. . . . I see no justification for clearing land which can't naturally hold its own as a forage type, and which at best would be marginal for forage crops if it was cleared" (Smith 1949). The role of clearcuts and road construction, however, was not as easily dismissed.

83Seeds for intensive management of forest lands were germinating during World War II. A fascinating document that defined a post war agricultural program for California stated the position that, heretofore, efforts to manage timber lands, watersheds, and range lands had almost entirely depended on the two-pronged approach of "curbing destructive forces such as fire, erosion, and over-use" so that nature's regenerative powers could take hold. Acknowledging that that pattern of management had accomplished much, the writers judged it to be "at best but a fractional return from the true productive capacity of mountain lands. There has not been the appreciation of the need for intensive management through positive cultural practices on these lands as now exists through soil conservation programs on deteriorating croplands" (USDA, RICC 1944: Forest Land Section 9). Chief of the Forest Service, Lyle Watts, could not have agreed more.

84Volumes could be written about the history of women in the Forest Service workforce and the awkward relationship between gender and the organization. Opportunities for women in the Forest Service have been circumscribed by the role expectations of the larger society and by a strong culture of masculinity within the agency. Throughout its history, the presence of women in the Forest Service has been recognized, albeit in support positions. Even Gifford Pinchot—perhaps owing to the influence of his wife, Cornelia—often included references to women. For example, in talking about advancement policies in the Forest Service, he wrote that one could be promoted "just as far as each man or woman showed the character, ability, and good???will to go." About pay and hard work of Forest Service employees, he said: "The men and women of the Service earned good pay by their good work, and good pay, by the standards of the time, I was determined they should get." However, these words were hemmed-in by the acceptable sphere of women in the workplace; generally as receptionists, clerks, or secretaries. When the male labor pool was pinched, due to war or other factors, women tended to get "non-traditional" jobs in the Forest Service that had not been generally available to them before. However, when the labor shortage dissipated, the numbers of women correspondingly declined. This can readily be seen during World War II when many women were hired in the Forest Service as lookouts and Air Warning System observers.

As late as 1964, a federal pamphlet titled "Careers in Forestry" read:

The majority of office workers (typers, stenographers, clerks) are women. Women also fill other responsible support positions such as accountants, statisticians, writers, personnel specialists, and research technicians. Women are occasionally employed as forest fire lookouts, but they are usually recruited from local residents who are acquainted with the country under observation. Since most lookouts are required to locate and sometimes help [fight] fires, men fill most of these positions [quoted in Kelly 1992: 5].

Forest Service Manual references exclusively used male pronouns for everything but support work until the latter 1970s when an Executive Order required that gender-neutral language be used in Federal publications. While some, such as Department of Defense, replaced masculine pronouns with he/she, the Forest Service interpretation was to avoid gender-specific personal pronouns entirely, at least in its directives (personal communication with Elizabeth Hecker, R-5 RO). In 1973, Gene Bernardi, a sociologist in the Forest Service's Pacific Southwest Research Station in Berkeley, sued the Forest Service after repeatedly being passed-over for promotion. Bernardi ultimately charged sexual discrimination against all women in the Forest Service's hiring and promotional practices. After seven years, the suit resulted in a consent decree which required that Region 5 attain at least 43 percent female representation in each grade and series. By the end of the court-designated time period for compliance, the Forest Service had not reached its goals, and a three year extension was ordered, beginning in May, 1988. The upheaval manifested in such actions as a countersuit by the "white male class" and letters to the court from a group of female employees known as CECO, the Committee to End Court Oversight. Judge Samuel Conti, although accusing the Forest Service of "foot dragging" in meeting the letter and intent of the decree, lifted the decree in May 1992. Though this was a Region 5 phenomenon, the entire Forest Service closely watched California and sought to implement changes that would avoid their being embroiled in similar charges of sexual discrimination (Kelly 1992: 6-8).

85The aim of shelterwood cuts was to produce an even-aged stand of new trees in series of two or three cuttings. The aim of selection cuts was to produce uneven-aged stands with a constant supply of both young and old trees. Patch clear cuts were to produce even-aged stands.

86In 1988, the Hoopa-Yurok Settlement Act (FL 100-580) precipitated yet another change for the old Yurok Redwood Experimental Forest/Redwood Ranger Station administrative site. Congress directed that—contingent upon the Yurok Tribe meeting conditions of the Act—the administrative site, as well as other specified lands, would be transferred in trust to the tribe for incorporation into the Yurok Reservation. These lands comprised the 354 remaining acres of the NRPU adjacent to the Klamath River along with the 14-acre YREF/RRS administrative site. For five years, Forest Service officials misconstrued the Act and believed these lands were under the Bureau of Indian Affairs' jurisdiction while the Act's provisions were being met by the Yurok. Accordingly, the RRS was occupied by the Yurok Tribal government's transition team in 1988. Following a protest and a subsequent legal opinion, the Forest Service found that the administrative site should remain under its jurisdiction until the Yurok Tribe met provisions of the 1988 Act. Thus currently the Yurok Tribe occupies the place under a Forest Service Special Use Permit (USDA, FS 1995: 2).

87Probably reflecting the program areas in which the Regional Office wanted to see big results, the September 1969 GII was conducted by Paul Neff, Regional Office Deputy for Timber Management, and Jon Kennedy, Regional Office Highway Engineer. On the operations side, the inspectors generally commended the Six Rivers for its rehabilitation work in the wake of the disasterous 1964 flood and for coping with the resulting Douglas-fir beetle epidemic. But on the human resource side, their primary finding was that too many Six Rivers employees were entrenched and, that "both for their own career development and the needs of the Service," they should transfer to other forests and the Six Rivers should actively seek new blood (USDA, FS 1969: 2-3).

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Last Updated: 14-Dec-2009