"It is all a beautiful country" wrote Charles J. Bayer from Pinedale, Wyoming.

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"It is all a beautiful country" wrote Charles J. Bayer from Pinedale, Wyoming.

They were called the Old Timers and "can't" was not a part of their vocabulary. They were a domestic corps of 225 government men and women raised on responsibility, honed on humility, and committed to conservation. Forty years before the Greatest Generation, they were sent out to bring order to chaos, plant trees, tame the range wars, lay out paths, build bridges, fences, stone walls and log cabins. They were hired to calculate distances, record stands, measure the depths of rivers, and mark timber for a growing nation. They thought of themselves as contributing to the greater good and the man under whom they served, the man they referred to affectionately as their "Old Chief," addressed them by their last names. Between 1905-1910, first Chief Forester Gifford Pinchot and President Theodore Roosevelt offered them a fighting chance at a better life, to go West and "grow up with the country."

When I first discovered 5,000 pages at the Library of Congress labeled simply "The Old Timers," I didn't understand their significance. Over the past ten years, I've come to think of these 225 letters as a kind of alphabet of American values containing ideas we could lean up against in times when solutions are hard to find and easy meditations fail. At first I laughed, then I wept, at last I hooted and slowly came to believe that the Old Timers Collection would change us for the better. They would transform the national discussion. We'd start having a new conversation about who we are as Americans, which isn't an easy thing to define.

The Old Timers weren't trite or condescending. They weren't talking in symbols or soundbites. They were talking about an America that belongs to all of us and for which they had decided to take responsibility. They talked about what they had done, how they did it, and what it had meant to the lives of others. How it was more important to serve each other than ourselves. How attitude was everything and courage was essential.

I thought of the Old Timers as showing us a way out of the woods or a way back into the woods to recall where we found our strength, our wealth, and what we cared about. I let their stories wash over me for years, each one resonating at a different time and for a different reason. Out of the blue, I'd recall some line or some idea that made sense all of a sudden.

We might say the Old Timers helped us make a course correction at a critical time. They'd say they simply needed a job or that they were lured by the call of the wild, by the scent of Noble fir, and the sound of silence. One described the pasture grass where he worked as "knee high and country lovely." Gradually, I came to hear their stories as a call to a higher self. There is a story for each of us.  But the Old Timers are asking for something in return. They're asking us to put down our devices, pull up a chair, light a candle, and imagine. They want us to retrace our steps for the sake of America. They ask that we remember who we were one hundred years ago when one, Charles J. Bayer of Pinedale, Wyoming, wrote to Gifford Pinchot, "It is all a beautiful country."

 

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Reforestation crossroads of the early Forest Service. The first Forest Service nursery on the Niobrara Reserve at Halsey, Nebraska

Over the course of about four years, Gifford Pinchot received approximately 225 responses to his request for narratives. Among these responses were several dozen we might think of as "widows and orphans" in which the writer sent either a single page or sometimes just a paragraph saying that he or she was deeply grateful to hear from the Old Chief and pleased at the opportunity to share their stories. Naturally, Pinchot wanted more than just a single paragraph. 

One such response came from the Director of the Texas Forest Service, E.O Siecke, who started out with the Forest Service in 1904 and wrote Old Chief Pinchot on Texas State letterhead on October 7, 1940. Like many, Siecke, said he was too busy to reply immediately but would get back to Pinchot as soon as he could. Whether he did is unknown. 

Siecke's letter gives us two points of entry into our search for the information Pinchot might have appreciated: the Texas Forest Service and the Sand Hills of Nebraska. Many early rangers began their career training with the U.S. Forest Service in Halsey where the first government nursery was being constructed in 1902, thanks to President Theodore Roosevelt's establishment of the Niobrara Forest Reserve. In advance of that proclamation, several young forest assistants were enlisted and sent out to survey and investigate conditions on the ground. Their narratives sent to Pinchot provide a detailed description of who, what, where, when and how this "groundbreaking" work was accomplished. We can also determine who might have crossed paths with E.O. Siecke through the one-of-a-kind narrative of Charles Anderson Scott, who started work with the Forest Service in Washington, D.C. in 1902 and was sent to the Halsey nursery site shortly thereafter. Scott's narrative, sent to Pinchot in September of 1940, is filled with colorful detail, anecdotes, and an accompanying "Epic of Camp Chaug, in the Land of Ak-Sar-Ben," a classically-inspired tale of heroic re-vegetation efforts starring himself and fellow foresters L.C. Miller, Wallace T. Hutchinson, "Billy" Mast, Jacob Blummer, "Bobby" Reynolds, and others. Along with poetry and musical scores, Scott sent Pinchot a day-to-day description of their work which included surveying the boundaries of the Dismal River in 1902.

 

Texas Forest Service

E.O. Siecke, Director

Agricultural and Mechanical College of Texas

College Station, Texas

October 7, 1940

Hon. Gifford Pinchot

Milford, Pennsylvania

Dear G.P.:

In formulating this letter I started to make an apology for my inexcusable neglect in delaying reply to your letter of June 14. However, I have no alibi except that I laid your letter to one side to permit me to analyze the situation and to determine if I had anything of material interest to contribute. In the press of quite a number of unforeseen responsibilities during the summer months, I proceeded to forget about your letter, and it did not come to my attention until yesterday. Needless to say I feel greatly embarrassed.

If the opportunity still remains there are a number of incidents in my experience that might be of interest. I started out as a laborer on the Dismal River Forestry Preserve in the sand hills of Nebraska in 1904. Perhaps some of my experience there and also in connection with early assignments in the Western States may be appropriate.

Very sincerely yours,

E.O Siecke

Director.

 

 "The Forest Service Nursery at Halsey, Nebraska as I left it on December 31, 1907" by Charles Anderson Scott.  From the narrative of Charles Anderson Scott. Gifford Pinchot Collection, Library of Congress. Manuscript Division.

"The Forest Service Nursery at Halsey, Nebraska as I left it on December 31, 1907" by Charles Anderson Scott.

From the narrative of Charles Anderson Scott. Gifford Pinchot Collection, Library of Congress. Manuscript Division.

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"The role of women in the early Forest Service." Mrs. Homer Ross, Mrs. Julia Shinn, and Elizabeth P. Flint.

You might wonder where the women were in the early days of the U.S. Forest Service. Gifford Pinchot knew you would be curious so he gently demanded to know. He wrote Ranger Homer Ross in McMinnville, Oregon in the Spring of 1940:

Dear Ross,

My best thanks for your interesting story of March 20 which I have just finished reading. I certainly congratulate you on your escape from the bear and on your comprehensive experience.

But there is one more thing I want. If she will do so, I want Mrs. Ross to write her story. I am just as anxious for the stories of the wives of forest officers as for the stories of the men, and I would be greatly delighted if Mrs. Ross found it possible to tell what she lived through, and what she saw and did, and how the whole situation looked to her. I am looking forward to her story with a great deal of interest.

Faithfully yours,

GP

Pinchot's request for stories from the women, or as he called them, the "wives of forest officers," makes a fascinating read through the Old Timers Collection at the Library of Congress Pinchot Collection. http://hdl.loc.gov/loc.mss/eadmss.ms011106. While we might not have a response from Homer Ross, other foresters addressed Pinchot's question with many pages of detail, and indeed, some of the women responded because their fathers or husbands had either died or were ill or indisposed. 

Ranger P.T. Coolidge of Bangor, Maine sent Pinchot 8 colorful pages describing not just the activities of the wives of forest officers but the lives of "women-folk among the users and permittees." Women were quick to take up the role of camp cook, certainly, but they also proved to be a critical linchpin in the mission. In describing Julia T. Shinn, wife of Forest Supervisor Charles Shinn, Ranger Coolidge wrote: "I think that the early history of the Forest Service would be incomplete without mentioning the important part the women of the Service played in that picture, and in my opinion, Julia T. Shinn, wife of my Supervisor, stands out head and shoulders above them all. Mrs Shinn was Clerk for Mr. Shinn in the days when the office first consisted of only one or two clerks, and late as the volume of clerical business increased, she served as Chief Clerk until Mr. Shinn's health, a short time before his death, made it necessary for her to give up her office position in order to devote her time and attention to Mr. Shinn. She had a lovable personality that endeared her in the hearts of everyone who had the good fortune to know her. She was most tactful in dealing with the general public, and had  fully as keen an insight in the field work and its problems of the entire personnel, and more often than not was able to figure out a way of lending suitable assistance. In fact her understanding of the field problems were more practical than Mr. Shinn's, and since she was always in the office it came to an established procedure among the Ranger personnel to ask for Mrs. Shinn rather than Mr. Shinn when they phoned into the office for advice and information."

Another compelling narrative that provides us with tentacles extending through literature and environmental history is that of Mrs. Elizabeth Flint who described her life of service with her husband, Howard. Her correspondence with Gifford Pinchot is a tale of humility, sacrifice, and survival, of reaching for meaning following the death of two children as well as her husband. After the death of her husband, Mrs. Flint wanted to become an author. She also wanted to share the depth of her husband's commitment to not just the U.S. Forest Service but to his hero, Gifford Pinchot. Despite the ups and downs of a life of service, of moving from one end of the country to the other, she wrote:

"We waited two years, then we were married and started out on the Minnesota (Chippewa) in the Cut Foot Sioux District, living in a little cabin that had been once abandoned even then by the Forest Service. Mr. Zon told me since that it was  the cabin you used when you came to lay out the job on the Minnesota--the first real test that was given to the young Forest Service, so I have understood. Nothing before or since has thrilled me as did those big woods through the the sand flats of the Huron (where our home was a tent) where the job was a planning one for some day--then but a dreary time marking fire-protection affair where there was little to protect; to the grazing forest; the Hayden in Wyoming, the Stream Flow Experiment at Wagon Wheel Gap in Colorado; to the Washakie at the head of the Wind River in Wyoming, where Howard had charge of the timber marking. Here we left the Service. A baby was coming in mid winter; we were 100 miles from a railroad and doctor, with snow six feet deep in the wood...our baby died out there, while the doctor we called could not get through; another came, died there."

Mrs. Elizabeth Flint's letter to Pinchot continues, "....But it was all a grand adventure. Never during the 24 years in spite of hard things, other than a grand adventure." She wrote, "It was you who opened the door to us; it was also John T. Greenway who gave us the chance to choose. The chance to choose, that is the great luxury of life; its implication that man is his own sovereign, Saint Expury says in his splendid book, Wind Sand And Stars. Love does not consist in gazing at each other but in looking forward in the same direction. There is no comradeship except through union in the same high effort."

Fortunately for us, Elizabeth Flint went on to become an author, writing articles, (including an obituary on forester Bob Marshall,) and a book of fiction based on the life of a forest officer entitled "The Pine Tree Shield," published by Doubleday, Doran and Co. in 1943. It is not certain whether Gifford Pinchot read Mrs. Flint's book. He died in 1946.

For more on Mrs. Elizabeth Flint: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/7872352-the-pine-tree-shield

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Below: Ranger Howard Flint on the Cutfoot Sioux Ranger District in Deer River, MN 56636 Itasca County. From the records of the Historical Marker Project. http://www.historicalmarkerproject.com/markers/HM1SLO_the-original-cut-foot-sioux-ranger-station_Deer-River-MN.html

Ranger Howard Flint on the Chippewa

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"There never were any finer people since Noah came out of the ark" wrote Gifford Pinchot to Ranger H.J. Tompkins

"There never were any finer people since Noah came out of the Ark" wrote Gifford Pinchot to Ranger H.J. Tompkins.

Sent on March 9, 1940, Forest Ranger H.J. Tompkins's narrative contained an astounding collection of photographs including an image of forester Franklin Reed standing beside an enormous bleached "root wad," or tree stump, that had drifted up on a beach near Washington state's Quinault River. We do not have much information about Mr. Reed though his name is found in other narratives of the Old Timers housed in the Gifford Pinchot Collection at the Library of Congress. https://lccn.loc.gov/mm78036277

Gifford Pinchot frequently attested to the valor of the early forest officers. The record indicates that he probably interviewed each one, and hired them based on their character and sense of duty to the early objectives of the agency--forest restoration and protection of the watershed. Pinchot's response to each and every narrative was a testimony to his own attentiveness and generosity, confirming that each man or woman who served had made a significant contribution to the organization and to the American people.

In his letter to Pinchot, Ranger Tompkins politely apologizes for a tardy response and then launches into his alibi: "I had the misfortune to have a car fall on the back of my head (while working under it) and about the time your letter came I was leaving for the East for surgical treatment. Then I went to Portland, Oregon, (not wishing to slight any part of our great nation) and have just returned from there. I may expect plenty of "fun" for five or six weeks and then if everything goes o.k., be very nearly as good as new. If that is not too late I shall be more than pleased to start writing an account of my days with the Service. In so doing, however, it will be necessary that I depend entirely on recollections since my diaries from those days were lost when my trunk was stolen from storage in Somerville, Texas; shortly after I left the Service. I would have no difficulty remembering most of the men I worked with and in general what went on but cannot be exact as to dates. I can well recall that I began February 1, 1901 at Washington, D.C. went that summer to Tennessee with a party led by Fritz Olmsted; the next summer under Bill Hodge, and that fall to Texas under Tom Sherrard, etc. My brother, Harry, always said that it was wrong to withhold sincere admiration since everyone needed a little "bucking up" in life. Acting on that impulse, I must say that I have followed your career with much interest. I was pleased when you attained the Governorship of Pennsylvania and disappointed when it did not develop into an even higher honor. This I do know--that your splendid example of honesty and devotion to duty was an inspiration to scores of men who worked under you, and I have always been very proud of the fact that you were my chief for several years and that we were really friends."

Sincerely, 

H.J. Tompkins

Helena, Montana

 "Ranger Franklin Reed, Coast of Washington Near Quinalt River."  From the narrative of H.J. Tompkins. Old Timers Collection, Gifford Pinchot Collection. Library of Congress Manuscript Division.

"Ranger Franklin Reed, Coast of Washington Near Quinalt River."

From the narrative of H.J. Tompkins. Old Timers Collection, Gifford Pinchot Collection. Library of Congress Manuscript Division.

 "Sierra National Forest North Fork. Planting Sugar Pine Seedlings (Long root). Chester Jordan, (left). Hale Mace (right)."  From the narrative of H.J. Tompkins. Old Timers Collection, Gifford Pinchot Collection. Library of Congress Manuscript Division.

"Sierra National Forest North Fork. Planting Sugar Pine Seedlings (Long root). Chester Jordan, (left). Hale Mace (right)."

From the narrative of H.J. Tompkins. Old Timers Collection, Gifford Pinchot Collection. Library of Congress Manuscript Division.

 "About 1925. Forest Service weather station Sister Elsie Peak. Ele. 5,000 Ft. Angeles Forest. Calif. Thermograph and Marvin Glock Rain Gage. Serviced weekly. Seven mile foot trail. Instrument shelter only. Observer exposed for the whole fourteen miles including servicing then a tent which blew away. Another tent burned. Then a 7' x7' wood cabin. Now a modern shelter with excellent instruments. 1916-1937. H.J. Tompkins.  From the narrative of H.J. Tompkins. Old Timers Collection, Gifford Pinchot Collection. Library of Congress Manuscript Division.

"About 1925. Forest Service weather station Sister Elsie Peak. Ele. 5,000 Ft. Angeles Forest. Calif. Thermograph and Marvin Glock Rain Gage. Serviced weekly. Seven mile foot trail. Instrument shelter only. Observer exposed for the whole fourteen miles including servicing then a tent which blew away. Another tent burned. Then a 7' x7' wood cabin. Now a modern shelter with excellent instruments. 1916-1937. H.J. Tompkins.

From the narrative of H.J. Tompkins. Old Timers Collection, Gifford Pinchot Collection. Library of Congress Manuscript Division.

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"Gifford Pinchot, Theodore Roosevelt, and a helping hand to San Francisco." Anecdotes from the narrative of J.B. Lippincott.

In his 1937 call for narratives, Gifford Pinchot implored the Old Timers to send him "anecdotes," remembrances that might serve to illuminate the past and fill in the gaps of the historical record. Over and over, Pinchot received more than he could have imagined. The narrative of J.B. Lippincott, for example, sent to Pinchot in January of 1938, was particularly poignant. Pinchot wrote, "I have read with keenest interest the two incidents you have so graphically described, and I am particularly delighted to have them. The details of both had gone out of my head, although the general outline was clear in my memory."

Lippincott, a U.S. Geological Survey hydrographer stationed in California from 1900-1903, sent a two-page narrative in which he recalled being present in the Oval Office at a decisive moment. In 1903, he recalled President Theodore Roosevelt turning to Chief Forester Gifford Pinchot. "Gifford, is this all right?" asked the President. Pinchot replied that it was. "It" was the decision to grant rights-of-way for water storage sites on public lands in the Hetch Hetchy Valley, at Lake Eleanor, and for power canal rights-of-way down Cherry Creek (the outlet of Lake Eleanor) and in the main canyon of the Tuolomne River below the Hetch Hetchy dam site. These rights-of-way provided a much-needed new water source for the city of San Francisco. 

While subsequent generations debated and continue to debate, and mourn, the flooding of the Hetch Hetchy, we learn from Lippincott's "anecdote" that by 1903, San Francisco had already outgrown its water supply and was seeking an additional new source "adequate in quantity and quality" to meet public demand. Lippincott wrote: "The city was then being served by a private water company which naturally did not favor bringing in a new and superior water supply. Their opposition was by the indirect process of stimulating protests of "Nature Lovers" to the "desecration" of the Forest Reserve for utilitarian purposes."

There is rarely a dull moment in the Old Timer narratives. J.B. Lippincott describes President Theodore Roosevelt's reaction to First Forester Pinchot's approval of the memorandum that provided a new domestic water supply for the city of San Francisco with an outlet at Cherry Creek: "It is all right with me," said the President, "except there are two r's in Cherry."

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Gifford Pinchot, George Perkins Marsh, and Water Conservation

 

One of Gifford Pinchot's early influences was the scholar and diplomat George Perkins Marsh (1801-1882). Marsh's "Man and Nature," first published by Charles Scribner in 1864, was what might be called a best-seller, describing the downfall of Mediterranean civilizations by various misadventures including over-expansion into foreign lands and flagrant neglect of land and water resources. A native of Vermont, Marsh had observed the desiccation of landscapes while serving as American Ambassador to both Italy and Turkey. He wrote: "The operation of causes set in action by man has brought the face of the earth to a desolation almost as complete as that of the moon." Marsh scholar David Lowenthal notes in the Preface to his book "George Perkins Marsh: Prophet of Conservation" (University of Washington Press: 2000) that "the history of great men is "now out of fashion." According to Lowenthal, "Marsh himself stressed that humble and unsung lives were as deserving of memory as those of the great, and collectively of far more consequence for both human and earthly history."

Marsh was particularly concerned with the effects of erosion and sedimentation in arid landscapes. While most water consumption is attributable to large-scale agriculture and industry, we too can do our part in helping to conserve water at home. From the article below, we learn that water table quantity and quality throughout the US are in rapid decline. With the increase in planetary temperatures, melting polar ice, and incumbent rise in sea-level causing erosion and sedimentation in streams and lakes, what we as individuals do is certainly important.

"In 1990, 30 states in the US reported 'water-stress' conditions. In 2000, the number of states reporting water-stress rose to 40. In 2009, the number rose to 45. There is a worsening trend in water supply nationwide. Taking measures at home to conserve water not only saves you money, it also is of benefit to the greater community." 

Every drop counts on our drying planet. Thank you!

http://eartheasy.com/live_water_saving.htm

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“I owe my first inclination toward forestry to an early passion for the study of birds.” Earle H. Frothingham of Biltmore Forest, North Carolina

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“I owe my first inclination toward forestry to an early passion for the study of birds.” Earle H. Frothingham of Biltmore Forest, North Carolina

We learn from the Old Timers' narratives that there were many ways in which young men and women joined the U.S. Forest Service. Some met a ranger in the woods, others read an article in a newspaper or magazine, while others learned about "this new thing called forestry" from an aunt, sister, grandmother or grandfather. Some had an abiding interest in nature, like Earle H. Frothingham, who wrote Gifford Pinchot in the summer of 1940 from Biltmore Forest near Asheville, North Carolina. Like so many of the early foresters Frothingham was humble, perhaps to a surprising extent. He wrote: “I am mortified at the scantiness of what I can offer.”

Earle H. Frothingham's narrative offers a psychological insight into what inspires us to serve and protect nature. His narrative helps us to understand ourselves, our relationship to the natural world, and what moves us from thought to action. In Frothingham's day, jobs were scarce. Young men and women could choose between factory work or professions that required significant training, education, and resources. Some Old Timers reported that their health prevented factory work. Others wrote that they could not afford a college education. On the other hand, work in the woods was something any young man of able mind and body could undertake. Education and training was provided on-the-job. Housing and food were included. The skills developed lasted a lifetime. Naturally, a young man or woman developed a profound sense of stability and gratitude, not just to Gifford Pinchot but to the Government for an opportunity to improve their lives.

Frothingham reflected on his relationship with nature long before the age of what has been called "nature deficit disorder." Many of the Old Timers, no doubt, recognized the connection between man and nature. Wolves, whales, and wildlife are not separate from us, they are intimately connected.

In each moment, we have an opportunity to look up and look outside at the wonder that is nature. In his mild-mannered Clark Kent-style letter, Frothingham reminds us that one species can be an inspiration that takes us from inspiration to action, and to a sense of purpose that may last a lifetime. 

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Do you know which states consume the most water? Please check out the link.

We might not be surprised to learn that California, Arizona, and North Carolina are the largest water consumers. However, it might be just as interesting to know which states' aquifers are most contaminated by industrial pollutants, pesticides, fertilizers, and other types and quantity of runoff. Please check out the link below to learn more about where and how water is being used.

Gifford Pinchot and The Old Timers were dedicated to conservation of our natural resources so that future generations could live long and healthy lives.

They thank you in advance! Thoughtful comments are appreciated.

http://www.homeadvisor.com/r/water-usage-by-state/#.WLxA27GZPVo

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"...Vision, progressiveness, and scientific spirit." The testimonial of Thornton T. Munger in "My connection with the early days of Forestry."

"First Forest Service Nursery in District 6 located on the Columbia National Forest at Wind River. I assisted Mr. Miner for one season in 1914 at this nursery." Photo from the narrative of Albert K. Weisendanger, Mt. Hood National Forest.

In his 18-page narrative narrative sent to Gifford Pinchot from Portland, Oregon in the fall of 1940, Thornton T. Munger described himself as a "one-man research section" and a "one-man silvics section" sent to tackle various jobs in the field and forest. The work of the Old Timers required a pioneering spirit with a willingness to experiment, particularly when it came to the planting of various tree species.

Pinchot requested that each Old Timer send "the reason or influence that made you go into forestry." On this topic, Munger wrote:

"The first suggestion that I should choose forestry as a profession came to me from my sister Eleanor (Mrs. Philip P. Wells) when I was a freshman in Yale College. She said, 'Why don't you take up this new thing, forestry, that Gifford Pinchot is starting. You like the out-of-doors and he says the country needs foresters and it is a fine life for a young man.' The Yale Forest School, founded by the Pinchot family the year before, was only a few blocks from my home. It was attracting much attention as a new field of activity and with a natural bent towards studying and collecting flowers, and a love of the outdoor life it was natural that I should take her suggestion to heart."

Munger's life story is representative of many young men gifted with an opportunity to serve. In the summer of 1902, Munger attended an 8-week course in forestry held at the Yale Forest School in Milford, Pennsylvania. After a summer of field excursions and lectures by experts such as Pinchot, Overton Price, and the landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted, Munger applied for a position with the Bureau of Forestry to make a study of white birch and poplar in Maine. Salary: $25 a month. Munger wrote: "I counted rings, made stem analyses, learned woodsmanship under our French Canadian ax man, and got my first real taste of primitive life in the Maine wilderness and liked it."

Like many of the Old Timers, Munger crisscrossed the country in his youth, traveling from Maine to Milford, from Milford to Alabama and on to the Pacific Northwest.  Reflecting on his early training at Yale Forest School, Munger wrote: "In the two years of the forest school hours were forgotten," he wrote Pinchot. "There was keen zest to learn all about this new field. The call of the country for service and the lure of the West whetted our enthusiasm. Employment on graduation seemed assured."

As Pinchot read Munger's letter, he drew a vertical pencil line on the right-hand side of the text next to points where Munger made him smile: "It is evidence of the vision, progressiveness, and scientific spirit of the Forest Service that even under the pressure to take over the administration of a tremendous acreage of almost unknown and undeveloped public forests with a ridiculously small crew of very young men, research was not neglected....the courage of the Forest Service and of its young personnel in tackling jobs of all magnitudes and degrees of complexity is quite amazing. And it is still more amazing that throughout the Service most jobs were accomplished acceptably."

Munger, it seems, went West to resolve "sylvical problems" between lodgepole pine and western yellow pine, the former being a low-value species while the latter a "highly desirable species." His narrative describes a detailed journey to what he calls the "theatre of conflict" in lonesome landscapes of the American west. In one instance, he lands in Crescent, Oregon, a one-house town with a sign that read:

Prineville 84 miles

Silver Lake 45 miles

Klamath Falls 100 miles

Eugene 115 miles

Munger's narrative describes a major project assigned to him in 1908, the study of growth and yield of Douglas Fir. "Nothing was known about this most important species," he wrote. "No volume tables were available, the location suitable for study had to be ferreted out....we scoured the region (of Oregon and Washington) on horseback, in wagons, on logging trains, but mostly on foot, hunting for even-aged immature stands suitable for our mensurational work. We felled trees for tree analyses and measured sample acres in stands of various ages all day and worked on our notes in the evening--or sometimes when we were camping fished for a mess of trout. We moved often and boarded at farmhouses, logging camps or country hotels, frequently putting up our tent when sleeping quarters were not available inside. A walk of three or four miles to work was thought nothing of, and 25 miles a day were not unusual when I was scouting."

Munger's work on the Oregon National Forest, (now the Mt. Hood National Forest), consisted of experiments in "direct seeding" at a time when there was no significant quantity of nursery stock available. After a day's trip from Portland by train, stage, and horseback, and making camp in a one room log cabin near the planting site, it began to snow. But nothing stopped Munger. "The local forest officers and I set to work planting our seed in spots, but the snow soon got too deep for that and and we hurriedly broadcasted the pine, maple, and chestnut seeds we had left, packed up, and left before we were trapped in there by too deep snows, and it was late at night before we got to a cabin and pasture below the snow line and in the rain belt."

Another trip Munger described was to the Wind River nursery, (pictured above, then on the Columbia National Forest and now on the re-named Gifford Pinchot National Forest), where he studied forest yield and reproduction on "the logged-off land of one of the first, if not the first, national forest timber sale of any consequence in the Douglas fir region."

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The narrative of Jesse W. Nelson: the transport of elk, and the eradication of ticks!

 From the narrative of Ranger H.C. Miller. Library of Congress. Manuscript Division. Old Timers Collection. Gifford Pinchot Collection.

From the narrative of Ranger H.C. Miller. Library of Congress. Manuscript Division. Old Timers Collection. Gifford Pinchot Collection.

Of the many photographs in the Old Timers Collection within the Gifford Pinchot Collection at the Library of Congress, Ranger H.E. Miller's photograph with Buffalo Bill Cody stands out as one of the finest. Miller's hand-written caption on the back of the photograph reads: "Last time I ever saw him October 1913." Many of the Old Timers crossed paths with Buffalo Bill as he drove his Wild West show from West to East.

The First Foresters narratives present us with a veritable feast of firsts. We learn of the first fish brought to Crater Lake. The first underground water storage in the United States. The first design for a Pulaski fire shovel/ax. The narratives also invite us to witness spectacular, sometimes little known or overlooked moments and events in American history, moments that provide a kaleidoscopic peek at an America long gone, and individuals long forgotten, but which are made retrievable through words and images like the one above.

Ranger Jesse W. Nelson served with the United States Forest Service for 44 years and retired as superintendent of the San Joaquin Experimental Range in Colorado. His narrative, "My Early Days in the Forest Service," provides us with remarkable observations, adventures and his impetus for joining the Forest Service.

"I was born on a farm in southeastern Indiana where I attended the common schools, graduated from high school, and took special courses in normal school," Nelson wrote. My earlier desire was to study medicine, but since I was one of a large family, and the disastrous effects of the Panic of 1893 still being evident, my ambition to become a doctor had to be dropped....I was on the lookout for future possibilities."

Ranger Nelson recalled how young men at the time were encouraged to follow Horace Greeley's advice to grow up and "Go West, young man." Nelson decided to take his chances with other Westerners in "carving out a future." He wrote: "My first employment in the West was with Colonel Cody, who owned a number of stock ranches in Wyoming and ran several thousand head of horses on the open range. My work with Cody was largely of a special nature in connection with the various ranches and many other interests. In February 1899, in company with a cowboy named Carl Sorrenson, I shipped a carload of Cody's horses to his Wild West show. We left Cody on February 1 and arrived in Hoboken, New York, February 28. The horses were driven overland from Cody, Wyoming, to Billings, Montana, and shipped to Brooklyn, New York where the show was opening that Spring. There was three feet of snow on the ground and it was 35 below zero when we left Cody. It took two days to go 45 miles to Clark's Fork River, from which point we drove the horses down the Clark's Fork on the ice to Laurel, Montana. Sorrenson and I stayed with the show that season, riding buckers and doing the usual work required of cowboys in the show. On completion of the show season I returned to Redlodge, Montana, to arrange for the reception of General Miles who was to visit his old friend and chief scout Colonel Cody at the latter's Wyoming ranches."

Nelson, it seems, was frequently driving four footed creatures from one place to another. On page 16 of his 21 page narrative, we learn that he was responsible for shipping elk from here to there:

"In the winter of 1910 I shipped the first elk to the Black Hills, South Dakota, and to Aspen, Colorado. These elk came from the Yellowstone National Park and were captured near Gardiner, Montana. The Colorado shipment was liberated near Aspen in a mining district where the foreign population had very little respect for game laws. Local cattlemen defrayed the expense of this shipment and insisted on the game laws being complied with. This resulted in the community's becoming very law-abiding in game protection in a few years. The elk did so well that other shipments were made in March 1913 from Jackson Hole, some going to Durango, Estes Park, Colorado. The elk in every case soon became located and increased rapidly, making it possible to issue licenses and allowing the killing of 2500 in 1913 in certain localities in the State. In 1913 the first attempt was made to dip elk to eradicate ticks in the winter and spring; many died from this cause. On finding that the elk from Yellowstone were very ticky, I arranged with the Denver Stock Yards to use its dipping vat. Dr. Howe of the Bureau of Animal Industry determined the kind and strength of dip to use. The elk dipped so easily that we put them through the vat twice to insure a thorough job."

From the personal narrative of J.W. Nelson, in the Gifford Pinchot Collection, Library of Congress, Manuscript Division.

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"Nobody seemed to consider their work as just a means of earning a living but as a very special mission." The personal narrative of Mrs. Gertrude B. Olds, Stenographer-Typist

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Humility, gratitude, and graciousness were among the defining characteristics of the Old Timers and Gertrude B. Olds was no exception. She wrote her Old Chief Gifford Pinchot in August of 1940, apologizing for her tardy reply to his letter received in June of that year. Her alibi: it seems that she had been trying to put to use some of her "knowledge of forestry" by trimming up her plum tree when she fell and broke her ankle. "Now I have plenty of time to write letters," she wrote, "and I will try to give you what information I can about the early days in the Forest Service."

Mrs. Olds served in the Missoula, Montana headquarters of the United States Forest service as a stenographer-typist. She recalled her first days in the service: "I was a youngster just out of school and it was my second job. It was the first time I had been away from home and I was very homesick and lonely at first. Mrs. Bill Greeley, however, was very kind to me, helping me to find a place to board and room and looking after me until I got acquainted. She is a charming woman and I certainly did appreciate her kindness. Because Missoula was a small town, we were all more or less dependent on each other."

In her narrative of just two pages, we learn that Gertrude Olds had worked for every one of the Chief Foresters. Her work did not often allow for time in the field to observe the work of the forest rangers, but she recalls "many horseback trips up into the hills around Missoula, where the country is very beautiful," where she "was soon filled with the enthusiasm for our work which characterized all of the Forest Service. Nobody seemed to consider their work as just a means of earning a living but as a very special mission."

Like so many of the first US Forest Service employees, Gertrude Olds awaited Pinchot's forthcoming book on the Forest Service. "I am very much interested in your book," she wrote, "and I hope I shall have an opportunity to read it when it is finished." She recalled that "nearly all of the men whom I have known in the Service were men of fine character and high ideals."

From the narrative of Mrs. Gertrude B. Olds, sent from Denver, Colorado August 28, 1940.

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A lifetime of service, the narrative of Allen Steele Peck, "...among the men who took their love of trees to the prairies and the planes and could not be satisfied until they had tried to make forests where there were none."

Besides sending out hundreds of personal letters, Gifford Pinchot placed a number of advertisements in journals and periodicals calling for his first foresters, a group he called the "Old Timers," to submit narratives. The request for narratives above appeared in May 1940 in the journal "American Forests."

Colonel Allen Steele Peck sent his lengthy narrative detailing an astounding 38-year career (July 1902-February 1940) with the United States Forest Service from his home in Denver, Colorado where he had retired. Born in West Barre, New York in April of 1880, Peck, like many of the First Foresters, grew up on a farm in the East and went West recalling his "strong inclination toward out-of-door work (and play)." In the winter of 1900-1901, while students at Union College in Schenectady, New York, Peck and a friend ran across an article in the Saturday Evening Post by Rene Bache. Peck recalled how Bache described "the new profession of Forestry which offered opportunities for young men with a yen for the out of doors." He wrote, "Bache was a versatile chap with a wide range of interest, who like to dig up novel and startling subjects to write about, such as the raising of Angora goats or the discovery of vitamins. This article gave us a definite lead and we applied for positions as Student Assistants in the Bureau of Forestry. It seemed to be just the sort of opening that I had been looking for."

Like many of the First Foresters, Peck's career took him through the Halsey Nursery in Nebraska. He writes, "Leaving my home at Batavia, New York on July 1 (1903), I went to Nebraska as Student Assistant, reporting at Halsey to Charley Scott, after completing the last section of the railroad trip from Broken Bow on a freight train." Peck continues, "The nursery and field planting project at Halsey was well under way. I found there a gang of young foresters, including "Hoss" Stabler, Tom Swan, Krauter, Mast, Bridges and Holroyd....Here, between the the Dismal and the Loup and along the Niobrara, we saw the beginnings of that great job of forest creation that has grown to be such a comfort and inspiration to the people of the sand hills country, and a monument to that early group of foresters who were pricked by the urge to tackle the hardest jobs first--men who took their love of trees to the prairies and plains and could not be satisfied until they had tried to make forests where there were none. To me this summer of 1903 was a second and very important chapter in my training for forestry. I was introduced for the first time to the cattle country of the West, to the chuck wagon, and the saddle horse, and stock saddle as a daily habit. I learned a lot about the fine points of the cow horse, the rattlesnake, the transit and stadia rod, and developed an interest in nursery work and tree planting that has always remained strong. These two months in the sand hills of Nebraska were the first steps in a wonderful jaunt that took me by easy stages to the Rocky Mountains where I was introduced to a Forest Reserve, then to New Mexico, Arizona, California, and finally back to Washington through the South."

From humble beginnings, Peck details a career that crisscrossed the United States and in addition sent him to France where, in the summer of 1917, he assisted in forestry operations with the 20th Engineers directed by William B. Greeley. During a lifetime of service, honors, and awards, in 1920 Peck was notified that he had received the rank of "Chevalier" in the French Legion of Honor. After being discharged from the Army, Peck returned to Denver where he assumed the position of Regional Forester for the Rocky Mountain Region.

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Refugee turned environmental steward--the fascinating narrative of Cecil B. Reindorp of Magdalena, New Mexico

One might assume that the first class of professional Forest Rangers were born and raised in the United States, but that was not always the case. We learn in the fascinating account of Ranger Cecil Reindorp that he was a British citizen, advised to take a medical leave of absence by his doctor. In his letter to Gifford Pinchot of January 25, 1939, Reindorp recounts: "In July, 1907, just about the first anniversary of my marriage, my application for Life Insurance was turned down for the reasons that I had come to the U.S. from England on account of tuberculosis, and my health history and temporary condition at that time were unsatisfactory; the doctor who made the physical examination advised me find employment in the open air instead of office work." Like so many of the Old Timers, work in the out-of-doors was not just appealing but life-enhancing, and in Ranger Reindorp's case, life-saving!

Reindorp, who served from 1907-1922 in California and New Mexico, recounts how he found himself in the company of other immigrants during the war years. While stationed on the Gila National Forest in New Mexico, he wrote: "The general run of the people at that time had little or no interest in game and fish 'conservation' as it was called."

Reindorp's narrative provides an interesting observation of his service: "Just about the time I had got settled down in my new location the Great War broke out in Europe; there were three of us living at Gallinas Planting Station--Hermann Krauch of German parentage; myself born in England, and Marcel F. Pincetl born in France, which provided a somewhat complicated situation, and when Joseph C. Kircher became Supervisor and came out to the District at various times, he took great delight in making the kettle boil."

From the narrative of Cecil R.C. Reindorp. Old Timers Collection. Gifford Pinchot Collection. Library of Congress. Manuscript Division.

 

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"Gifford Pinchot was our lamp and his nobleness enkindled nobleness." Agnes Scannell, Stenographer-Typist, Region 6 Portland, and Washington D.C.

 Agnes Scannell And Mr. Oakleaf from the personal narrative of Agnes v. Scannell.  Old Timers Collection. Library of Congress. Gifford Pinchot Collection. Manuscript Division.

Agnes Scannell And Mr. Oakleaf from the personal narrative of Agnes v. Scannell.

Old Timers Collection. Library of Congress. Gifford Pinchot Collection. Manuscript Division.

When Agnes Scannell received Gifford Pinchot's request for narratives, she responded with great enthusiasm, writing to her Old Chief that his letter was "like a thought-wave on the ether." For the past year she had been wondering how she might have an opportunity to "put in writing some facts about the Forest Service of the United States," she wrote, "because I felt a written record should be made of the efforts of Gifford Pinchot in establishing this important branch of the Government."

Agnes Scannell hailed from Worcester, Massachusetts where she graduated from Worcester High School. Like many of the Old Timers, she grabbed the rungs of opportunity, noting that she "was eager to go beyond the confines of her little city." In October 1906 she took the Civil Service examination in Boston and was assigned to the Washington Office on F Street where she assumed her post as "clerk, stenographer, typewriter," at six hundred dollars per year. Shortly thereafter, she was assigned to Region 6 in Portland, Oregon's Beck Building where she served from 1907-1917.

One of the exceptional aspects of Agnes Scannell's narrative is her dramatic description of her solo cross-country train trip during which she loses her pocket book on the train. She writes: "As I sat waiting in the station for results, I began to think that it all happened for the best, and if the pocketbook was not returned, then I should take that for a sign that I was to turn back. In fact, I had about made up my mind to turn back, when in walked a trainman, swinging my little pocketbook; then I knew that was the signal for me to go on."

Forth she went, describing her train voyage as if it were yesterday. "On, on I went, however, and the trip over the Northern Pacific Lines I enjoyed very much. I was eager to see the Rockies. In Montana they are magnificent; so young; so bold; so high. They seemed to give me courage, and I began to feel bolder and bigger, too under their spell. Once I crossed the Great Divide, I realized I was standing alone in the vastness of the west; hence I must not waver as the die was cast."

From the personal narrative of Agnes V. Scannell dated December 27, 1939. Old Timers Collection. Gifford Pinchot Collection. Library of Congress. Manuscript Division.

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Turn-of-the-century epic reforestation in the Sandhill Plains of Nebraska! The personal narrative of Charles A. Scott

 "The condition of the Nebraska Sand Hill Country as we found it in 1901. Over grazing the range was a concern at that time. Charles A. Scott."  From the narrative of Charles A. Scott. Old Timers Collection. Gifford Pinchot Collection. Library of Congress. Manuscript Division.

"The condition of the Nebraska Sand Hill Country as we found it in 1901. Over grazing the range was a concern at that time. Charles A. Scott."

From the narrative of Charles A. Scott. Old Timers Collection. Gifford Pinchot Collection. Library of Congress. Manuscript Division.

 

Who would have guessed that one of the largest, most innovative tree planting projects ever undertaken began in the year 1902 with young forest professionals employed by the US Government? Buried in the Old Timers Collection, we find the who, what, where. when, how and why such a massive reforestation effort was envisioned! 

One of the Old Timers who responded to Gifford Pinchot's call for narratives was Charles A. Scott, (1875-1961), a native of Westmoreland, Kansas. He recounts his efforts in a series of documents written in 1951 (and housed in the Nebraska State Historical Society, nshs.web@nebraska.gov.). His and his colleagues' efforts are also described in detail in the narrative he sent to then-retired Chief Forester Gifford Pinchot housed in the Pinchot Collection at the Library of Congress.

In the summer and fall of 1901, Scott worked as a cook on the Nebraska Sandhills Reconnaissance Survey as part of the Bureau of Forestry, U.S. Department of Agriculture. During the following summer of 1902, he assisted in a survey of the Dismal River Forest Reserve after which he helped plan Nebraska's Halsey Nursery, also known as the Bessey Nursery after University of Nebraska Botany Professor Charles A. Bessey. Following his work in designing and implementing plans for the first government nursery in the United States, Scott set off for the Yale School of Forestry where he earned his degree. As a newly minted Forest Assistant, he then returned to Nebraska to oversee the nursery at Halsey he had helped plan. He also administered three Nebraska forest reservations.

There is no underestimating the amount of innovation and stamina such a project required. In his account, Scott writes: "This was the first project of its kind ever attempted in the United States. No one in the Bureau of Forestry could advise us and the Commercial Nurserymen of the country had no experience with this type of work and we were told we would have to use our own judgement and do the best we could."

In 1940, Gifford Pinchot wrote Scott a letter of appreciation for the narrative he submitted

Dear Scott:

I have just finished reading your very interesting account of your early work in establishing the first Government forest nursery in America and making the planting on the Nebraska National Forests a success. The detail is particularly valuable, and I am very much in your debt. Hearty thanks to you.

Yours as always,

GP

From the narrative of Charles A. Scott. Old Timers Collection. Gifford Pinchot Collection. Library of Congress. Manuscript Division.

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"A Brief History of the Forest Service in Nevada," submitted by Ranger C.S. Tremewan. Elko, Nevada

We might think of the Old Timers correspondence as meditations on service and sacrifice to America.

Answering Pinchot's request for narratives on January 12, 1940, Ranger C.S. Tremewan of Elko, Nevada sent the Old Chief a 16-page report entitled "A Brief History of the Forest Service in Nevada." Pinchot praised and greatly appreciated what Tremewan had sent. "I take pleasure in thanking you most warmly," he wrote, "for all the pains you have taken and for the very interesting story you have sent me." The Old Chief told Tremewan, "You have been through the most important parts of the early history of the Service, and what you say about the hammering which the Forest Service men got and the superb way in which they stuck to the work is absolutely true. I am proud to have been connected with such an organization. It was tough, but, as you say, it was worth it, and I would do it again."

Many Old Timer narratives captured the effects of grazing and sheep herding on the land. Tremewan recounted details from Nevada: "Erosion was becoming alarming," he wrote, "and livestock were coming from the summer ranges in such poor condition that they had to be fed before being driven to shipping points. And this from a range that just a few years previously had been producing beef cattle that topped the market. Two year old steers had been shipped which weighed from 1050 to 1100 lbs and had never been fed a day in their lives. The comparative ease with which the nomadic or transient sheep owner could drive from these rich productive summer ranges of Northern Elko and Humboldt Counties to the relatively safe winter ranges of Southern Nevada encouraged more and more of them to engage in business. This resulted in a set of conditions that were rapidly becoming impossible and making it imperative that some form of regulation be instituted or our two great natural resources would be gone (i.e.) Grazing and Waterflow for irrigation."

From the narrative of C.S. Tremewan. Old Timers Collection. Gifford Pinchot Collection. Library of Congress. Manuscript Division.

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Reflections from the Personal Narrative of Alva Von der Linde

The Old Timers Collection. Part of the Gifford Pinchot Collection housed in the Manuscript Division, Library of Congress, Washington D.C.

The letters between the First Foresters and their Old Chief reveal a sense of mutual respect between employer and employed, and between two parties engaged in a common mission. The narrative of Alva von der Linde, who served in Washington, D.C., and in the Denver Regional Office beginning in 1908, was written from Mercy Hospital in Denver, Colorado. Her narrative describes a sense of gratitude, as well as the acknowledgment that working in conservation was never easy:

"My first intimation that we were not, as I had supposed, universally liked, came soon after our arrival here, when on being introduced at a party as a Forest Service member I was asked, "Are you then also one of those disgusting 'Pinchot' people?" On inquiry I was informed that we were autocrats, robbers, etc., setting up laws and regulations in a country which had gotten along famously without us and our interferences.

It took years for public opinion to change in our favor. One event which greatly helped to bring about this change was the disastrous fire season of 1914, and the capable, heroic manner in which our men handled the situation. Gradually the West began to realize the necessity of timber survey, of grazing regulations, of fire protection, etc. until today there is no government institution more highly esteemed, and to wear a Forest Service badge is to wear a badge of honor."

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Meetings of the Baked Apple Club and Theodore Roosevelt's "Bully Talk" to the Old Timers. :)

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Meetings of the Baked Apple Club and Theodore Roosevelt's "Bully Talk" to the Old Timers. :)

A.O. Waha served in the U.S. Forest Service from 1901-1940 in various capacities in Maryland, Tennessee, Maine, Texas, New York, Alabama, West Virginia, New Mexico, Arizona, Idaho, and Oregon. He recalls his first days as a forester trainee at the Atlantic Building, the Forest Service's first headquarters, (shown here), located on F Street in Washington D.C.. Waha also describes meetings at 1615 Rhode Island Avenue, Gifford Pinchot's home, also in Washington, of what was known as the "Baked Apple Club."

A.O. Waha sent his Old Chief a 79-page narrative filled with just the sort of detail Pinchot had requested. Sent from the Terminal Sales Building in Portland, Oregon on February 7, 1940, his submission is entitled "Early Day Reminiscences." Ranger A.O. Waha wrote:

"It was in the year 1900 when I first became interested in forestry, after reading an article in the Saturday Evening Post which discussed the work of the Bureau of Forestry under the leadership of Gifford Pinchot, and as I now recall it, very specifically encouraged young men to take up forestry as a career. Subsequently, I learned that many of my associates had been inspired by the same article in taking up forestry as their profession. At that time I was 19 years of age and working as a pattern maker apprentice. While working with my hands and especially with wood appealed to me, it was not long before I found that I should never be satisfied with spending my life in or near a factory. (I shall always be thankful that I learned to work with my hands--every forester should be able to, but aside from this, working in wood is now my favorite hobby which gives me much pleasure.)"

A.O. Waha also recalled the early days of the "Baked Apple Club," in which young forest trainees met to discuss the latest developments in forestry and conservation. On occasion, President Theodore Roosevelt would present a "bully talk" to those present.

Waha wrote:

“The student assistants were a most congenial set, all of whom were very much interested and eager to learn. Weekly meetings after work were held, at which various topics were discussed. I recall that the first topic assigned to me was on the characteristics of bark of various trees and their uses. Then the Thursday evening meetings of the so-called “Baked Apple Club” at G.P.’s house on Rhode Island Avenue were indeed a bright spot in our lives. The best talent available was brought in to address us after which there would be formal discussions, followed by a feed of baked apples, cream and gingerbread. Our most notable speaker was President Theodore Roosevelt who gave us a “bully” talk in March 1903. What a crusader he was-enthusiasm fairly oozed from him!”

Photo courtesy of Library of Congress. Prints and Photographs Division, Historic American Building Survey (HABS, Reproduction number HABS DC, WASH, 655A-1.)

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Conservation according to Cornelia Pinchot: "No vague, fuzzy aspiration!"

Cornelia Pinchot at the Dedication of the Gifford Pinchot National Forest. Photo Courtesy of the Gerald Williams Collection, Oregon State University. scarc.library.oregonstate.edu/coll/williamsg/index.html.

In a stirring speech delivered on October 15, 1949 at the naming of the Gifford Pinchot National Forest in Washington State, Cornelia Pinchot, the wife of Gifford Pinchot, recalled and hailed the "Old Timers," the first class of forest professionals Gifford Pinchot had trained between the years 1905-1909.

"I want to digress here a minute," she said, "to take the opportunity of bearing witness of how deeply Gifford Pinchot felt always about the debt he owed to the men of the Forest Service. Over and over again he said that to them, to the old timers, belonged the real credit for what had been accomplished. Never before or since, he said, had such high morale, such devotion to the public good, such creative ability been demonstrated in any government body. It was a three-way cooperation enterprise—the foresters at one end, the American people at the other, Gifford Pinchot in the middle."

Cornelia summed up her husband's devotion to conservation when she read to the assembled audience:

"Conservation to Gifford Pinchot was never a vague, fuzzy aspiration. It was concrete, exact, dynamic. The application of science and technology to our material economy for the purpose of enhancing and elevating the life of the individual. The very stuff of which democracy is made.

The conservation he preached dealt not only with trees—it dealt with the sheep herders and the homesteaders whose means of livelihood in the forest depended upon the kind of protection that was given them. It dealt not only with erosion and flood control, but with the wise use of the land, with the development of the great river valleys in terms of irrigation and power, such as you are so magnificently working out with your Grand Coulee and Bonneville dams.

It dealt with research, with programs of improvement of country life, with electrification of farms, with rural education. It dealt with equality of opportunity, with control of monopoly. The list is a long one.

Most important, it dealt with conservation of natural resources as an international problem affecting issues of permanent peace.

To Pinchot, you see, man himself is a natural resource. The basic resource for whose material, moral and spiritual welfare the Conservation doctrine is invoked. Man, without whose energy, the energy of coal and oil of electricity, yes of atomic science itself, is inert and meaningless."

For more on Cornelia Pinchot's remarkable speech containing insights into her husband's lifelong dedication to forestry, conservation and the men and women of the early Forest Service, please stay tuned for upcoming editions of "Gifford Pinchot and the Old Timers."

Long live the Old Timers!

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R. Aldo Leopold, Wildlife Conservationist and one of Gifford Pinchot's Old Timers

Rand Aldo Leopold, often referred to as the father of wildlife conservation, was one of the first forest rangers to whom Gifford Pinchot sent a request for narratives. On January 4, 1940, Leopold responded to Pinchot that he would be pleased to send an account of his work with the Forest Service but that his contribution would likely be "on the critical side." Leopold served from 1909-1933 in Arizona, New Mexico and Wisconsin. He went on to become the author of "A Sand County Almanac," arguably one of the best-loved classics of American environmental literature. He was thought of as a "prophet" by the author Wallace Stegner.

In his January, 1940 letter to Gifford Pinchot, Leopold praised his Old Chief's call for narratives but thought "...a generation or two must elapse before its value can be truly weighed by anyone."

For more on the correspondence between Aldo Leopold and Gifford Pinchot, please see "Gifford Pinchot and the Old Timers," page 145-149.

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