The Sierra Club, Today, Would Stone
Forest Service Father Gifford Pinchot

   copyright (c) 1997, Electric Nevada

Gifford Pinchot, historical figure for American conservation and 'wise use' had a point of view that would reduce modern-day Sierra Clubbers to spittle-sputtering apoplexy.
Pinchot also had a streak of patronizing "big man, little man" socialism wide enough to turn the stomachs of many modern conservatives.
In fact, any modern American

the little red book

who reads through the 1907 edition of The Uses of the National Forest will find a conservationist frame of mind very different than any he or she has become acquainted with, through the media, in the last twenty years...

From the book:

Page 10

What happens to the home seeker? When a National Forest is created the home maker is not interfered with in the least. In the first place, before the Forest is created, agricultural lands are carefully excluded from the boundaries. It often happens, however, that there are little patches of agricultural land so located within the boundaries that it is impossible to cut them out. Such lands are open to settlement... The home seeker can travel all through a Forest, pick out the agricultural land he wants for a home, apply for it, have it listed, settle upon

it when listed, enter it, build his home, cultivate his fields, patent it, and cultivate his fields, patent it, and spend the rest of his days there... A National Forest, then, does not in the least shut out real settlement. It encourages it. The more settlers, the more men on hand to fight fires, the better protection the Forest will get, and the better and fuller will be the use of all its resources.


What happens to prospecting and mining? They go on just as if there were no National Forest there. The prospector is absolutely free to travel about and explore just as much as he pleases and wherever he pleases, without asking anybody's permission. When he strikes mineral he can stake out, locate, record, and develop just as many claims as he thinks are worth while, precisely as he would on the public domain. If he wants to get patent to any of them, he can do so. The only thing he must be careful about is to obey the law and not take up claims merely for the timber on them ... Claims can be developed and turned into paying mines just as anywhere else. A National Forest does not affect this work in the least, except that it keeps timer in the country for the use of the mines when they need

it and as long as they need it.
Prospecting and mining are absolutely unchecked. The resources of the National Forests must be used and the country opened up. Therefore the more mining and prospecting, the better.


What happens to the timber and wood? ...are the timber and wood locked up? Very far from it. The timber is there to be used, now and in the future. It is given away, for domestic use, to the man with a home and to the prospector developing his claim. They get it for the asking, free of charge. When wanted for commercial purposes, timber is sold to the small man and to the big man---sold promptly and at a reasonable cost. The small man can buy a few thousand feet; the big man can buy many million feet, provide it is a good thing for all the people to let him purchase a large amount, but not otherwise....
Thus the timber is there, first of all, to be used. The more it is used, the better. Far from being locked up, it is, on the contrary, opened up, and opened up on fair terms to all alike. When it is on the open public domain it is often very hard and sometimes impossible for the small man to get it

and hold it, because he is shoved aside by the big timber corporations with which he can not compete. On National Forests the Government holds the timber with a special view to its use by the small user...


What happens to the range?Most of the timber land in the West is good range for live stock. This range has to be included in the National Forests, because it goes with the timber and can not be separated from it.
Is it shut out from use? Quite the contrary. It is grazed by cattle, sheep, and horses just as it always has been. It is one of the resources and is there to be used... The Government protects it from being burned up or from being overcrowded and over grazed, prevents disputes between the owners of stock, and sees that each owner gets the use of that range to which he has the best right. The small man with a home in or near a National Forest always gets the first chance....

Page 22

... In the use of the range National Forests work first to protect the settler and home builder. They make sure, before everything else, that he

has what range he needs for his own stock. Before the Forests were made the settler was at the mercy of the big stockman, who often drove his herds in from a distance and completely grazed off the settler's range right at his own door. This can not happen in a National Forest, because the man with a home is sure of the range near by for his own use, and the big men from a distance are kept away from him.
In allotting the range the small local owners are considered first; then the larger local owners who have regularly used it; then the owners who live at a distance, but who have been regular occupants; and lastly, if there is any room left after these have been provided for, the owners of transient stock...

Page 23


There are many other incidental uses which National Forests help to bring about and greatly assist. Of course the land itself should be put to the best use. As already mentioned, it is used as sites for all kinds of commercial enterprises, and is open to improvements such as the construction of railroads, wagon roads, trails, canals, reservoirs, and telephone and power lines. All kinds of development work are benefited by National

Forests, because they make sure, so far as can be, that timber and wood are keep on hand ready for use instead of being burned up or shipped out of the country, and that the flow of water is kept even and steady for power and other purposes. The conservation (which means simply the wise use) of all the various resources of the Forests, especially of the water, means a great gain in dollars and cents to many commercial enterprises, the water-power companies in particular. The protection of the forest at the heads of streams means a prosperous life to such companies, for it assures them a steady and clear flow of water. The destruction or misuse of the Forest means failure, for it carries with it flood, silt, and drought....
Playgrounds.---Quite incidentally, also, the National Forests serve a good purpose as great playgrounds for the people. They are used more or less every year by campers, hunters, fishermen, and thousands of pleasure seekers from the near-by towns. They are great recreation grounds for a very large part of the people of the West, and their value in this respect is well worth considering.
Game.---The Forest officers are often appointed as State and Territorial game wardens, to protect the game under State and Territorial laws... Although the services of Forest officers

in this respect are wholly incidental to their other work, because they are acting for the States and Territories and not as Federal officials, much good has been accomplished, and the arrangement has met with general approval...


National Forests are made for and

owned by the people. They should also be managed by the people. They are made, not to give the officers in charge of them a chance to work out theories, but to give the people who use them, and those who are affected by their use, a chance to work out their best profit...

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