The Land We Cared For...
A History of the Forest Service's Eastern Region


Earlier periods of development of the Forest Service have been well covered by many writers, but what has happened since World War II is not so well understood. There was, according to Larry Henson, a period after World War II and before the 1970's when the Forest Service was in a "growth mode" which was "fairly unconstrained by the public." The growth was in budgets and in personnel. During the War, heavy demands for wood products had been put on the National Forests. When the War was over the building boom caused even more demand for lumber from the National Forests. The Forest Service responded to this by growing bigger and taking on more land to manage.

In addition, through the 1950's and 1960's there was a great increase in public leisure time. The Forest Service reacted by building picnic and camping sites and by providing greater recreational opportunities. [1]

Postwar Policies

During the War, there was much thought given to what would happen in the postwar period. The Department of Agriculture set up the Interbureau Committee on Postwar Programs to coordinate planning between the agencies of the Department. The Forest Service branch of this effort was headed by Richard E. McArdle. McArdle became so dissatisfied with the complexities of coordination that he began making a separate plan for the Forest Service, even though the Interbureau Committee freely accepted Forest Service thinking on planning goals. Essentially, the goals were the predictable ones of protecting the timber, range, water, recreation, and wildlife resources, with an additional one of stopping the destructive cutting which had been necessary during the War. [2]

In the years 1945 through 1952 a great debate raged between the Forest Service and American Forestry Association (AFA) over basic forestry issues. Chief Lyle Watts ordered a reappraisal of the forestry situation in 1946. The result was a report which found that the national timber supply was dwindling at a rate of 18.6 billion board feet per year. The Chief blamed the problem on poor cutting practices on private lands and called for public control of all logging, even on state and private land.

The AFA made their own survey and with essentially the same findings reached the opposite conclusion that less public control was needed and that more logging should be permitted on public lands. The debate went on with the National Lumber Manufacturers Association (NLMA) and its publicity branch, the American Forest Products Industries (AFPI) joining the fight on the side of less regulation. The debate was settled politically with the election of Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1952. Eisenhower opposed what he called "federal domination of people through federal domination of their natural resources." When he was elected President, the Forest Service was forced to drop their goal of federal regulation of private forestry.

Richard McArdle, who became Chief in 1952, claims he had already decided there were more important concerns than regulation when Eisenhower became President. Be that as it may, McArdle stayed on as Chief under Eisenhower and the Forest Service turned to the task of managing the National Forests. [3]

Land Acquisition

No new laws were passed in the 1950's to allow for the acquisition of large blocks of land for the Forest Service or for the completion of purchase units of National Forests already begun. Some purchasing continued under the Weeks and Clarke-McNary Acts, but funds were drastically reduced by Congress.

In 1953 the Forest Service received some 7 million acres of "land utilization project" lands. These were lands acquired during the depression years of the 1930's by the Resettlement Administration and the Farm Security Administration as part of programs to provide lands for sharecroppers tenants, and other landless farmers. These lands were added to the National Forest System. [4]

Another method of land acquisition was the tripartite exchange. Typical was an arrangement made in 1949 in Vermont which enabled the Forest Service to acquire the Joseph Battell estate. Middlebury College sold the estate land to the nearby towns who then sold it piecemeal to the Green Mountain National Forest over a three-year period. [5]

One provision which made land acquisition complicated was that the state had to pass enabling legislation, inviting the Forest Service to acquire land in that state. In Vermont problems arose in the 1930's, when the Forest Service was acquiring land in the town of Peru, a summer home area popular for recreation residences. Local people believed the Forest Service was picking up parcels better suited for residential development. The townspeople tried to get a movement going which would have eventually stopped future purchases by the Forest Service in Vermont. According to Dick Ackerman, current staff officer of the Green Mountain National Forest. "A compromise was finally reached requiring all purchases of land in Vermont for Forest Service purposes to be approved by the selectmen of the town where the Forest was located." Next, the proposed sale had to be approved by the state board on National Forests. Although the process was time-consuming, most New Englanders seem to agree with Ackerman that:

"these two approval steps required us [the Green Mountain Forest] to maintain public relations and contacts, at least with the selectmen, ever since 1935. It was either do that or risk alienating the public sector outside the Forest Service and not be able to buy land." [6]

According to Jack Godden, Gerald S. Wheeler was involved in the settlement and compromise with town governments. As he was involved in Vermont, he carried the same interests and involvement with town officers in New Hampshire and Maine.

Outdoor Recreation

In the mid- to late-50's, many campgrounds in the National Forests were in need of repair. They had been built during the CCC days, and all wore out at the same time. There had not been appropriations or manpower available for upkeep for many years, so the National Forests had to deal with a tremendous rehabilitation need. [7]

There was also a rapidly growing need for outdoor recreation. In 1948, approximately 3 million people lived within 150 miles of the Allegheny National Forest. By that time the Forest was experiencing heavy recreational use in all seasons with the exception of water sports in the winter. Use figures showed an increase between 1940 and 1947 as follows: residences increased from 250 to 400, picnickers from 75,000 to 132,000, and campers from 3,000 to 4,400 per year. There had been a drastic reduction in such recreation use during the War, but it had increased dramatically after the War. [8]

Recreation Facilities of Region 7

In 1952 Region 7 published a brochure on "Recreational Facilities in the Eastern National Forests." The brochure described the facilities available to the public in each of the National Forests. In the White Mountain National Forest it spoke of the Campton Pond Recreation Area, a 40 acre pond with a sand beach used primarily for swimming and camping, the Dolly Copp Recreation Area, a camping area with a beautiful view of a mountain panorama, a swimming pool, and a nature trail, plus dozens of camping-picnic areas plus an area of geological interest, all developed by the CCC.

Most of these facilities provided drinking water, picnic sites, and some had sanitation facilities. There were also high country cabins at Black Mountain and elsewhere. These cabins had accommodations for 12 persons including bunks and mattresses, a stove, firewood, and toilet facilities. The cabins were originally intended for winter sports enthusiasts, but they were being used throughout the year by those wishing to spend a short time in the mountains. Several of the cabins were of the Adirondack type with one open side for "rugged" camping.

In addition to the cabins provided by the Forest Service, many shelters had been constructed on the White Mountain National Forest by hiking and hunting clubs. The Forest in 1952 had 1,000 miles of hiking trails, 60 miles of ski trails, several practice slopes, and many miles of scenic roads.

The Green Mountain National Forest had four picnic-camping areas and many driveable roads on which motorists could view the richest of Green Mountain scenery. A leading recreational feature on this Forest was the Long Trail hiking trail. Adirondack shelters were placed at six mile intervals along the trail. There was also a good system of horse trails.

In 1952 the Allegheny National Forest had nine camping, picnicking, and nature areas and a protected area of virgin white pines known as the Kelly Pines. One of the most attractive features of this Forest was the abundance of wild animals. Visitors were almost certain to catch glimpses of deer, rabbits, grouse, and other wild game. The Monongahela National Forest listed 10 recreation, picnic, and camping areas. The George Washington National Forest had at least five such areas, and Jefferson National Forest had seven. Many miles of the Appalachian Trail ran through the Jefferson. [9]

There had been an increased use of recreational facilities on the Monongahela during these years, but there were no funds to hire attendants and lifeguards, so the movement toward concessionaire operations began. In 1951 a concessionaire at the Stuart Recreation Area was allowed to charge for parking and to sell food, soft drinks, and souvenirs. [10]

Fire Control

Fire Protection—State and Private

Under the Clarke-McNary Act, each state was required to make an annual fire report to the Regional Forester. The report covered causes of fires, areas damaged, areas burned out, cases of arson prosecuted, escaped fires, and number of fires in state and federal protected areas and total area protected. The reports also included the budgets for fire prevention and expenditures by agencies. These reports were made by the state foresters or fire control officers on a Forest Service form. [11]

Some of the 22 states within Regions 7 and 9 had adequate to good fire protection systems. Others, in the estimation of Forest Service officials, had "far to go in obtaining adequate protection." The work of the CCC in the 1930's did much to improve state fire protection with such projects as fire towers, roads, truck trails, and detection and communication systems.

In 1947, because it was not sure how much of the CCC work still existed, Region 7 requested that all of the states in the Region make comprehensive plans for future development of CM-2 areas. CM-2 was a cooperative fire prevention and suppression program authorized under Article 2 of the Clarke-McNary Act. After providing sufficient time for the plans to be implemented, Region 7 inspectors went to three states, where they found many deficiencies. The main problems seemed to be a lack of a clear concept of the objectives and a lack of interest.

Edward Ritter, head of the Division of State and Private Forestry of Region 7 had the job of recommending reforms for the entire CM-2 system. He proposed a series of studies be made by the states. First, there would be a transportation study in which timber management, recreation, and wildlife activities would be considered. Second, there should be a detection study which would determine which areas were visible from fire towers, where lookout stations and communications systems should be located, and the availability of water supply and the hazard of its use. Third, there should be a plan for expansion which would be integrated with plans for new roads and trails in order to meet the Forest Service's hour-control standards (fire response times). Fourth, there should be a fuel-type study to include the types of forests involved and plans of action to reduce the amount of slash and brush and other fire hazards along roads and trails. And fifth, there should be a maintenance plan which would insure protection of the fire control facilities planned and existing. Ritter's recommendations were to be Region-wide. He recognized that each state would need to adopt standards and policies applicable to localities and special situations. [12]

Ritter saw the job of cooperating with the states in the fire control program as a major concern of the Region. After all, there were seven important states in the Region which had no National Forests and therefore had no dealings with the Forest Service except through such programs as the one for fire control.

In 1947, Ritter conducted an extensive inspection tour of each of the 101 CM-2 Districts of the Region. After completing his tour, Ritter wrote: "I now realize that the CM-2 job can be much bigger than I had first judged it. There are many constructive things [Forest Service] inspectors can help state foresters with if state men will accept the assistance." What Ritter had in mind was help in training, preparing necessary legislation, and what he called "moral backing for those worthy ones in need of it." It was well known within Region 7 that certain states were more worthy than others of Forest Service support for their forestry programs. Pennsylvania was near the top of the worthy list, probably because of the influence of Gifford Pinchot. On the other hand, partisan politics and political appointments to forestry positions put West Virginia and Kentucky near the bottom of the worthiness pile.

In an effort to improve the CM-2 program, Ritter persuaded the Regional Forester to instruct his subordinates to produce new guidelines and standards which would be flexible enough to allow the Region to meet its inspection obligation but "without too much lost motion." Since there were 101 administrative or fire districts within Region 7, more than two in each state, he wanted a "detailed inspection" of at least one district in each state every year. The number of inspections beyond that would depend on the situation and the willingness of state officials to be inspected. [13]

During 1948, the stepped-up inspections by Regional officials brought a measure of reassurance to Ritter and the Regional Office. The inspections showed improved fire records in some states. The improvement was due in part to better communication and improved equipment. Much surplus military equipment had been turned over to the states and was being put to good use. Connecticut for instance, had established a FM radio fire network which broadcast fire messages and weather reports. State arson laws had been improved and some states were actively prosecuting forest fire setters. [14]

Most of the improvements in state forest fire protection in Region 7 were the work of the states themselves, but the CM-2 program and the inspections by Regional officials undoubtedly contributed significantly.

First Aerial Detection Flights

With some trepidation, the Superior National Forest began fire detection flights in the summer of 1945. One pilot in a Piper Cub airplane began making flights over the LaCroix, Kawishiwi, and Tofte Ranger Districts. The flights eliminated the manning of four lookout towers. The plan was to make the flights on a basis of need in accordance with fire danger and visibility conditions. Normally, it would take three hours for the plane to make one patrol flight, and there would be one flight per day; however, as many as three flights might be required after electrical storms or when forest conditions were very dry and winds were high.

Apparently, the Forest was uneasy about placing full trust in the flights for fire detection. It continued to man most of the towers for some time on the rationale that they would be needed to communicate by radio with the plane and would give coverage between flights. Eventually, the aerial detection flights proved successful and manned towers on the Superior National Forest came to be a thing of the past. [15]

Timber Management

Inspection of Timber Operators - Region 7

Part of the job of State and Private Forestry in Region 7 was to inspect and analyze the operation of timber operators. The purpose of this program was to allow timber to be appraised, using cost estimates. Operators volunteered the data, which included logging, sawmill, yard, delivery, selling and administration costs. Sometimes, the Forest Service inspector was unable to obtain all of the information he needed from the books of the operator. In such cases, the inspector went through the accounts, in effect doing some of the bookkeeping himself. Often he had to make appraisals and adjust amounts based on his own experience. The purpose of these reports was to determine the percentage of profit made by the operators. Often it was a difficult task because of the poor bookkeeping of the operators. The inspectors frequently encouraged the operators to keep better records and simplify their cost analysis. When the operators were willing, the inspectors helped them design and install improved record keeping systems. Many private companies were reluctant to open their books to the inspectors, but the prospect of having their bookkeeping procedures greatly improved changed many of their minds.

The general attitude of the Forest Service on this sort of work was that better accounting by the operators would benefit them and State and Private Forestry. Many hours of work and an abundance of accounting went into the inspection program. The Office of Fiscal Management made these inspections as a part of the State and Private Forestry program. In 1962, the Region made 14 of these inspections. [16]

Timber Sales

Many of the National Forests had been planted in the 1930's and were now coming into production. In a speech made in 1953, Region 9 Regional Forester Jay H. Price recognized this fact and predicted the doubling or tripling of the Region's current annual timber harvest (55 million board feet) and the production of much higher quality lumber. [17] The Chequamegon National Forest, for instance, in 1953 had a cut of 55 million board feet, seven-eighths of which was in the form of pulpwood. This was a big increase in board feet of pulpwood over previous years on this once heavily cut-over Forest. Production of sawlogs and higher quality timber could be expected in the future. [18]

Similar things were happening in Region 7. The first big timber contract on the Monongahela National Forest went to the Mower Lumber Co. of Cass, West Virginia in 1951. In the previous 13 years, only 11,000 cords of pulpwood and 50 million board feet of sawtimber were cut on 27,000 acres of the National Forest. But in the early 1960's, annual sales reached 35 million board feet and kept increasing. [19]

Dealings with Local Government in New England

Because of the uniquely New England town meeting form of government the Forest Service had to develop different procedures for dealing with local government there. Federal laws already on the books in the 1940's provided that 25% of the income from the sale of forest products be returned to the county governments whose tax base had been affected by the creation of the National Forest. An additional 10% was to be spent locally by the Forest Service in construction and maintenance of roads and trails. Since county governments are weak or non-existent in New England, the money was to be given to the town governments.

As the Green and White National Forests became more productive in the late 1940's, payments to New England towns increased dramatically. In addition, the Forest Service constructed far more roads and bridges than required in order to protect against fire and to increase recreational use of the National Forests. The effects of this infusion of money and increased recreational use added to the local economies. The towns were provided with funds that other towns in the United States did not have. [20]

In Vermont it is customary for local government officials to carefully monitor the Forest Service. One of their major concerns is taxes. For a long time the return on the 25% fund which the local government received from timber sales was equivalent or better than the amount the town would have received from taxes on that land.

That situation has changed in recent years because of less logging. Forest Service land acquisition staff in Vermont have had to come up with new arguments for Forest Service ownership of land. Today, they point out to local officials the many tourist advantages of preserving the distinctive scenery of Vermont by keeping the hinterlands, the high elevation lands, free from development by letting the Forest Service acquire it for National Forest purposes. The argument works well. [21]

On other National Forests, the 25% fund has continued to make a sizable contribution to the budgets of local governments. In 1953 the contribution made by the Chequamegon National Forest to local governments amounted to $100,000. [22]

Region 7 in the Korean War

The impact of the Korean War on natural resources of the country was not as great as that of World War II. When the Korean War began, leaders of Region 7 were concerned that the demands of the War in Asia would cause a return to the exploitation of forest resources which had taken place in World War II. In 1951, the Regional Office reprinted and circulated an editorial by Michael Hudoba in The Angler, a publication of the Pennsylvania Fish Commission. Hudoba decried the national budgetary readjustments caused by the War which threatened to "de-accent vital domestic resource restoration programs." He called for a continuation rather than an abandonment of such programs. The Regional Office was obviously sympathetic to such conservation views. [23]

Labor Concerns about Forestry

In the early 1950's, some of the unions of the Congress of Industrial Unions (CIO) became concerned about what they considered to be dangerous practices in the forest industry. Forestry, in fact, was a favorite theme at CIO conventions. For instance, the Fifteenth Annual Convention of the Woodworkers of America in 1951 adopted a resolution calling for federal legislation to regulate all cutting of timber on lands everywhere, including private lands. The resolution wanted all future cutting to be based on the basic principles of sustained yield, selective cutting, multiple use, and intensive management. Along with this there would be federal assistance to private landowners who managed their woodlots properly. The woodworkers also had an innovative proposal for experimental public purchase of managerial rights to private timber lands. The Washington Office of the Forest Service took careful note of such resolutions and circulated them to the Regions, but without comment. [24]

The McArdle Reforms

New Timber Needs

In the 1950's, the rapidly growing need for sawtimber to supply the building boom and for pulp products, put heavy pressure on the Forest Service to "up the cut" on National Forests. In Regions 7 and 9 there were restored forests nearing readiness to be put into production. Lumber interests and some high ranking officials of the Forest Service favored increased timber sales to the point where the National Forest would be operating "in the black," a concept no doubt well received in the conservative Eisenhower Administration.

The primary obstacle to increased production was lack of roads in the National Forests. In 1956, Chief Richard McArdle urged a Senate Committee to provide more funds for roads so National Forest production could be raised. The Chief also sought to clear up some misunderstandings the Committee had about "sustained yield" and "allowable cut." The two concepts were not the same. For example, the eastern forests, which had been cut-over, would have an allowable cut low enough to allow the forests to regenerate. When they reached maturity, the allowable cut could be raised to much higher levels and still maintain sustained yield because the forest would be managed at full biological potential. [25]

Timber Resources Review

In 1952, the Forest Service began a national inventory of timber resources—an examination of timber growth measured against consumption. Six years later, following a period of controversy over, the 700 page report Timber Resources for America's Future went to Congress. Although the report described the declining forest base of the nation caused by urban and highway growth, the introduction, written by McArdle, stated flatly that "There is no timber famine in the offing." Indeed, McArdle said that annual sawtimber production had increased in the last decade. [26]

The Multiple Use-Sustained Yield Act of 1960

Chief McArdle was in the process of bringing the Forest Service into the mainstream of American life. Booms in population, technology, standard of living, housing, leisure, and recreation were placing undeniable pressures on the Forest Service to meet new needs. To meet all of these needs, McArdle and the Forest Service pressed Congress to pass the Multiple Use-Sustained Yield Act of 1960. The Act declared that the National Forests would be administered "for outdoor recreation, range, timber, watershed, and wildlife and fish purposes." [27]

What lay behind this action was an attempt to obtain legislative sanction for new policies of the Forest Service and also to back away from emphasis on timber. This is not to say that timber production was to be de-emphasized. McArdle saw the Act as necessary to "continued management of the National Forests for the greatest good of the greatest number in the long run." It was not the final word on this subject, but the Multiple Use-Sustained Yield Act did set the Forest Service on a new course, or to be more accurate on a number of new courses. [28]

Forest Advisory Boards

In 1952, McArdle sent out an inquiry to all Regional Foresters concerning the status of forest advisory boards. These boards had existed since the 1930's. They were appointed boards made up of local civic leaders and persons interested in the operation of the National Forests. There was one board for each National Forest. The members were unpaid but received expenses for meetings and inspection trips. The purpose was to keep the forest management in touch with local public sentiment.

The response to the Chiefs request for information about the status of the advisory boards, indicated that the number of such boards was growing throughout the country. McArdle wrote encouragingly to the Regional Foresters that such boards were nothing new in the Forest Service. "As you know," he said, "we have worked with literally hundreds of local grazing advisory boards for many years." Other advisory boards had been consulted from time to time regarding administrative and cooperative work, and every Experiment Station has had such a board at one time.

The Chief considered it a positive aspect of the advisory board approach that its use had increased and was becoming more effective. He approved this trend, saying it was "in the right direction and should be stimulated."

The advisory councils of Region 7 at that time were a state council in Virginia which included the son of the venerable former Senator of that state, Carter Glass; a council for the White Mountain National Forest; and one for the George Washington National Forest. Region 9 had two National Forest advisory councils. On councils such as these it was customary to have members designated for such areas as finance, recreation, wildlife, soils and water, timber, and overall. [29]

By the end of 1952, nationwide, there were 26 National Forest advisory boards, three state forestry advisory boards, and two Regional advisory boards. Chief McArdle, who had seemed so favorable toward such boards earlier, now wanted it understood that he was not urging anyone to form advisory boards. In fact, he wanted to "go slowly" in this area. This probably suited the leaders of Region 7 and 9 since there were so few of the boards in the two Regions. [30]

Operations of Region 7


Part of the responsibility of the Forest Supervisors was to inspect and report to the Regional Forester of concessions on the National Forests. The concessions were often lodges, inns, fishing camps, marinas, and other resorts. Since they operated on National Forest land, the Forest Service was determined to monitor them carefully. The concessionaires were required to abide by strict regulations and to pay part of their proceeds to the Forest Service. [31]

Fiscal Control

The Division of Fiscal Control made an internal audit of each of the National Forests of Region 7 according to a fixed schedule. Such audits covered the accounts and fiscal procedures of the National Forests. The auditors made sure that the Forests were complying with the "Manual and the Handbook," that is the voluminous Forest Service and Region regulations concerning the handling of money.

One such inspection of the Jefferson National Forest was conducted on October 5 and 6, 1957. The inspectors were F. A. Naughton and H. C. Woods. The inspectors went first to the Supervisor's Office and then to two of the Districts to check management controls. They noted that lines of authority were missing or wrong on some of the management procedures and recommended these be made clear. Also the delegation of authority was not being handled properly, particularly with regard to temporary employment at the District level. The Supervisor had redelegated the open market purchase authority, which was not in compliance with the Manual.

The inspectors found that the Regional Office had failed to meet the schedule provided for general functional inspections, general integrating inspections and business management inspections of the Jefferson National Forest. They also looked into such matters as road construction, and found that contracts had been let for one of the these without being supported by engineering estimates. They checked Supervisor's sales reports and found some timber sales reports were missing as well as appraisal reports. A check on the same sales at the District level revealed similar missing reports.

The inspectors also looked into the funds where special use fees were kept. There they found cases where pasture permit fees of less than one dollar per acre had been allowed, a violation of Region regulations which required at least one dollar. The reason given for this was that the permitees were using only part of the acreage, but this was an "invalid" reason to the inspectors, and they recommended that the fees be raised.

Procurement was another area checked closely. Again there were irregularities. The Forest had made open market purchases without written authorization and had issued confirming orders after the services and supplies had been delivered. Also the inventory procedures were faulty. Contrary to the instructions of the Forest Service, the dates for inventories had been set in advance and pre-inventory lists had been furnished accountable officers so that they could make up shortages and make sure that the inventory came out right. The inspectors recommended that this practice be discontinued so that inventories would reflect the true status of property.

The inspectors also looked into the cooperative funds, as well as all other funds kept by the National Forests. It was a thorough inspection, the report of which ran to 26 pages in length. Where there were irregularities, the inspectors made specific recommendations for improvement. These were always put in the form of recommendations and not directives because of the principles of local autonomy with the Forest Service. There could be no question of the Forest Supervisor's administrative authority, yet the Forest Service and Region policies and regulations needed to be followed. [32]

Cooperative Programs

Region 7 was involved during these years in various cooperative programs with states in the Eastern Region. For example, in 1961 the following cooperative programs were being carried on between Region 7 and the State of Maryland: Conservation Reserve Program (CRP), Soil Bank, CM-2 Forest Fire Control, CM-4 Cooperative Distribution of Planting Stock, Cooperative Forest Management (CFM), Potomac Flood Control, and Small Watershed Projects.

The programs were supported in part by the Maryland Department of Forests and Parks. Forest Service expenditures were distributed on a percentage basis to the various programs. One example was the Soil Bank. Under this federal program, farmers were allowed to put some of their land in crops in return for payments from the Department of Agriculture. Under some agreements, the land in the Soil Bank was to be planted in trees. It was not, however, a big program. The total sum of money for planting stock provided by Maryland was only $3,224 and $5,319 by the federal government.

The fire control program was larger. The state spent more than $500,000 on this program in 1961; of this the federal government reimbursed $110,054. In the distribution of planting stock, the state spent $70,181 and the federal government put up $33,780 for a total of $103,961. For flood control the state spent $19,000 and the federal government, $6,500. Small Watershed Projects were on a matching fund basis. Only a few thousand dollars were spent altogether on four such projects. [33]

In 1961, there was a cooperative program in the lead producing Districts throughout the nation. Four Ranger Districts were funded at increased levels as a demonstration project to show what could be accomplished by the Forest Service in stimulating lead production. The Eagle River District of the Nicolet National Forest was one of the Districts. [34]

The Forest Pest Control Organization

In September, 1961 Regional Forester Hamilton K. Pyles announced the establishment of new field officers of the Forest Pest Control Organization (FPCO) in the Eastern Region. There was a Southern Forest Pest Control Zone with a field office at Harrisonburg, Virginia, and a Northern Forest Pest Control Zone at Amherst, Massachusetts. By July, 1962 there would be a Central Zone established.

These Pest Control Zones would facilitate the pest control program already in service to the states, the National Forests, and others. They were to aid in conducting surveys and determining biological pest problems. They were also to provide on-the-ground assistance in insect and disease control work. The Northern Zone covered Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, and Massachusetts. The Southern one covered Delaware, Kentucky, Virginia, and West Virginia. [35]

Interstate Highways

One special task of Region 7 came about in the 1950's when the new Interstate Highway System was being established. The job of the Regional Office was to coordinate the building of the highways where they passed through National Forests. [36]

Revision of Forest Boundaries

Under encouragement from the Chief's Office, the Regional Forester, Charles L. Tebbe of Region 7, called a Regional Office staff meeting in late 1953 to discuss revising National Forest boundaries. A bill was in Congress at that time which would authorize the sale of National Forest lands in isolated parcels or of lands better suited to agriculture or urbanization. Chief Greeley had also proposed a state-by-state study of the federal land patterns.

At the conference, the Region staff reviewed proposed changes submitted by each National Forest. Generally, the changes considered were minor. The main idea was to bring National Forest and Purchase Unit boundaries into agreement and at the same time fit them into social and economic changes which were taking place.

It was decided that there would be some extensions and some withdrawals. The net result was a reduction of government ownership within the boundaries of the National Forests by about 1.5 million acres. [37]

Region 9 Operations

Helping Local Economies

The 1950's were a period of economic stagnation in those parts of the North Central Region where there were National Forests. Recognizing this, the Forest Service declared for itself the goal of helping the economies of low-income and depressed rural areas. This could be done by increasing employment opportunities, helping landowners to better manage and market their timber, developing timber, wildlife, water and recreation resources, and helping to stabilize forest industry employment. These activities had been going on in the North Central Region since the 1930's, but now they needed to be revitalized.

By 1960 there were clear indications that the National Forests were becoming important factors in improving economic conditions. Many of the Forests were now 25 or more years old. Wood-using industries were starting to consume the rapidly increasing supply of raw materials. Recreation and wildlife areas were also becoming economic assets to local communities because of increasing use by hunters, fishermen, and other recreationists.

In addition, there were benefits to local government from the National Forests. The counties were relieved of responsibility for law enforcement on the National Forest lands. Fire protection there became the job of the Forest Service and often extended to private forest lands. The Forest Service built and maintained roads on its lands which extended the local road systems. The National Forests also provided municipal watersheds. There were also payments made to county governments based on timber production which went to support local schools and roads.

On the down side, the amount of help the National Forests could give to local economies was limited by two factors: the scattered pattern of National Forest land ownership which severely limited the management of the Forests, and a lack of public support for a full program of protection, development, and management of the National Forests. [38]

Public Awareness

To make the public more aware of what the National Forests meant to local economies, some of the Region 9 Forests had prepared statements and brochures for local consumption which listed community benefits that had accrued as a result of the various programs. These publications also made forecasts of expected yields and other benefits. Concurrently, the Region participated in publications designed to increase consumption of wood products. [39]

Land Acquisition

During the 1950's, Region 9 and the Forest Service in Washington came to recognize that the War and postwar developments had almost completely derailed the land acquisition program in the North Central Region. Few of the National Forests of the Region owned more than half of the land within their boundaries and some of the newer ones owned as little as 20%. GII inspectors in 1960 commented that, "Spotty ownership is resulting in difficult problems for National Forest personnel . . . ." They called for a "stepped up land purchase program" to enable the Region to do the kind of multiple use job that needed to be done. The need was particularly acute in the Wayne and Hoosier National Forests and on the Shawnee, Mark Twain, Clark, Hiawatha, and Superior National Forests.

The problem in land purchasing was that there was no longer a buyer's market. Mineral companies had been buying land in Purchase Units, and Corps of Engineer dam projects had sent land prices skyrocketing in some areas. Another large element of land buying was groups and individuals buying private hunting tracts. A study in Michigan showed an average of 235 acres of land being posted every day. The study estimated that by 1975, half the forest land in the state would be posted for private hunting only.

Regional land acquisition experts estimated in 1960 that because of the heavy buying pressures, only about 2 to 6 million acres of land would be available for purchase in the coming 10 to 15 years. Even so, the GII inspectors recommended strongly that money for such acquisitions be sought from Congress. They were convinced that "the consolidation problem is the most serious problem on the Region 9 National Forests." [40]

Information and Education

While the National Forests of the North Central Region were doing a good job of planting, improving, and managing the forests and at the same time making good progress in wildlife management and improved recreational facilities, there was one area which was neglected. That was the job of Information and Education (I&E). Typically, personnel believed that if they were doing their basic jobs, there was no need to make an effort to inform the public about what they were doing, why it was being done, and what it meant in terms of public benefits.

To remedy the shortcomings in I&E work, Washington Office officials recommended in 1960 that the Regional Office put much more emphasis on information and education. They also suggested increased demonstration projects, improved media publicity, and revival of advisory councils for National Forests made up of civic and political leaders. [41]

Problems in Multiple Use

The need to think in broader terms than timber management had not yet sunk in throughout the North Central Region. Planning for multiple use lagged in the Region. The GII inspectors in 1960 found that thinking about wildlife management did not go much father than concern about the damage done to young forests by browsing deer. As for recreation, they commented, "The public will not be satisfied with dusty camp and picnic areas, or the presence of summer homes on key lake shore areas . . ." [42]

The two great hurdles to more effective multiple use management were the land-ownership problem and lack of funds. There was little the Regional Office could do about either of these without help from Congress, but there were some actions that could be taken to improve multiple use. The Washington Office urged the Region to do more in the preparation of use guides and plans and to place more emphasis on the importance of multiple use throughout the Region, both with Forest Service personnel and in I&E programs. [43]

Idle Land

The 1955 GII report identified a major forest management problem in the North Central Region. There were approximately 34 million acres of potential forest land, most of it privately owned, which were essentially idle. In the Lake States more than 10 million acres were non-stocked with productive trees. An additional 16 million acres were poorly stocked. In other parts of the Region there were 8 million idle acres.

Cost of replanting the idle lands would be high. In the Lake States, conversion and brush land planting cost from $50 to $90 per acre. However, new planting techniques of planting red pine developed on the Chippewa National Forest were producing up to 26 cords of merchantable wood in 22 years. Spruce and jack pine were also showing high yields on the same Forest. The use of herbicides in site preparation promised to lower costs.

Over 85% of the idle lands were privately owned, but the National Forests still had a job to do. Some 7.5% of their commercial forest areas remained to be reforested in order to bring it into satisfactory productivity. Reforestation on private lands was a job for State and Private Forestry to pursue. On National Forest land, the Region looked to Forest Service Research facilities to find ways to reduce costs and speed up the replanting process.

Organization of National Forests

In southeastern Missouri, there were three Ranger Districts which were supervised by the Supervisor of the Shawnee National Forest. The GII inspectors recommended in 1960 that a fully staffed Supervisor's Office be established in Missouri to handle the three Districts. They also recommended against a proposed combination of the Wayne and Hoosier National Forests, saying it would make no sense "if development of the National Forests in Indiana and Ohio is to make anything like reasonable progress." They recommended, accordingly, that a Supervisor's Office be set up in Ohio. There was, of course, already one in Indiana.


At the end of the 1950's, both the North Central and the Eastern Regions were in a state of transition. The job of the Forest Service was changing, and although the two Regions were trying to adapt to the new situation they were not meeting great success. The days of easy land acquisition and massive labor forces to work on the National Forests were over. So were the days when wartime demands for wood products overrode all other considerations. The new situation faced by the Forest Service was created by rising land prices, changing priorities, increased concern about the environment, and drastic increases in public recreational use of the National Forests.

Reference Notes

1. Larry Henson, Interview, August 12, 1986.

2. Harold K. Steen, The U.S. Forest Service, pp. 253-255.

3. Ibid., pp. 256-270.

4. USDA Forest Service, Highlights in the History of Forest Conservation (Washington: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1976), p. 36.

5. John A. Douglass, "History of the Green Mountain National Forest," p. 107.

6. Richard Ackerman, Interview, October 2, 1986.

7. Ken Sutherland, Interview, October 2, 1986.

8. GRI Inspection Report, Allegheny National Forest, 1948, 95-A-0036, Box 22, PRC, RG 96.

9. Eastern Region, "Recreation Facilities in the Eastern National Forests," 95-A-0036, Box 22, PRC, RG 96.

10. 50 Year History of the Monongahela, p. 55.

11. Annual Fire Report of Connecticut, 1954, 65A-0036, Box 22, PRC, RG 95.

12. Edward Ritter, "Fire Protection on State and Private Timber Lands," mss., April 15, 1947, 66-B-72, PRC, RG 95.

13. Memorandum, Edward Ritter to Hoar, May 28, 1948, 66-B-0072, PRC, RG 95.

14. Edward Ritter to Hoar, June 22, 1948, and accompanying inspection reports, 66B-72, PRC, RG95.

15. Contact, July 30, 1945.

16. Inspection Report of John E. Hamilton, Chief, Fiscal Management Branch, Region 7, 1962, Box 23, 95-165A-0036, PRC, RG 95; and Don Meyer, Editorial Comments.

17. Jay H. Price, "Federal Forests of Wisconsin," p. 8.

18. Ibid., p. 5

19. 50 Year History of Monongahela, pp. 40-41.

20. GII Inspection Report, Green Mountain National Forest, 1948, 95-A-0036, PRC, RG 95.

21. Richard Ackerman, Interview.

22. Jay H. Price, "Federal Forests of Wisconsin," p. 6.

23. John W. McNair, Assistant Regional Forester, Region 7, to Forest Supervisors, Rangers, and Farm Editors, March 15, 1951, 95-A-0036, Box 22, PRC, RG 95.

24. Dana Parkinson to Regional Forester, December 11, 1951, 95-A-0036, Box 22, PRC, RG 95.

25. Harold K. Steen, The U.S. Forest Service, pp. 282-285.

26. USDA Forest Service, Timber Resources for America's Future, Forest Resource Report No. 14, January 1958.

27. Multiple Use-Sustained Yield Act, 74 Stat. 215.

28. Michael Frome, The Forest Service, pp. 27-28.

29. Chief Richard E. McArdle to Regional Foresters, January 18, 1952, 95-A-0036, Box 22, PRC, RC 95.

30. Chief Richard E. McArdle, Memo to all Regions, December 1, 1952, 65-A-0036, Box 22, PRC, RG 95.

31 John E. Franson, Forest Supervisor, Allegheny National Forest, Inspection Report to Regional Forester, Region 7, no date, 65-A-0036, Box 22, PRC, RG 95.

32. Report of the Internal Audit, Jefferson National Forest, October 5-6, 1959, Region 7, 65-A-0036, Box 22, PRC, RG 95.

33. A Review of Forest Service Cooperation with the State of Maryland." n. d., 65-A-0036, Box`2, PRC, RG 95.

34. Don Meyer, Editorial Comments.

35. Memo, Hamilton K. Pyles, Regional Forester, Region 7 to State Forester, National Forests, Extension Forests, and Pest Control Officials, September 19, 1961, Acc. No. 65-A-0036, Box 22, PRC, RG 95.

36. Notes of Regional Office Staff Meeting, Region 7, November 16, 1953, 65-A-0036, Box 22, PRC, RG 95.

37. Ibid.

38. GII, North Central Region, 1960, File 1410-1, RG 95, Chicago Records Center, 9-10; and Don Meyer, Editorial Comments.


40. Ibid., pp. 12-13.

41. Ibid., pp. 18-20.

42. Ibid., p. 21.

43. Ibid., pp. 21-22.

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Last Updated: 28-Jan-2008