President McKinley, during his term of office, increased the number of forest reserves from 28 to over 40, covering a total area of 30,000,000 acres. President Roosevelt added many millions of acres to the forest reserves, bringing the net total to more than 150,000,000 acres, including 159 different forests. In 1905, the administration of the forest reserves was transferred from the Department of the Interior to the Department of Agriculture, and their name changed to National Forests. No great additions to the government timberlands have been made since that time. Small, valuable areas have been added. Other undesirable tracts have been cut off from the original reserves.
The growth of the Division of Forestry, now the United States Forest Service, has been very remarkable since 1898, when it consisted of only a few scientific workers and clerks. At present it employs more than 2,600 workers, which number is increased during the dangerous fire season to from 4,000 to 5,000 employees. The annual appropriations have been increased from $28,500 to approximately $6,500,000. The annual income from Uncle Sam’s woodlands is also on the gain and now amounts to about $5,000,000 yearly. This income results largely from the sale of timber and the grazing of livestock on the National Forests.
OUR NATIONAL FORESTS
Our National Forests include 147 distinct and separate bodies of timber in twenty-seven different states and in Alaska and Porto Rico. They cover more than 156,000,000 acres. If they could be massed together in one huge area like the state of Texas, it would make easier the task of handling the forests and fighting fires. The United States Forest Service, which has charge of their management and protection, is one of the largest and most efficient organizations of its kind in the world. It employs expert foresters, scientists, rangers and clerks.
The business of running the forest is centred in eight district offices located in different parts of the country with a general headquarters at Washington, D.C. These districts are in charge of district foresters and their assistants.
The district headquarters and the States that they look after are:
No. 1. Northern District,
(Montana, northeastern Washington,
northern Idaho, and northwestern South
No. 2. Rocky Mountain District,
(Colorado, Wyoming, the remainder
of South Dakota, Nebraska, northern
Michigan, and northern Minnesota.)
No. 3. Southwestern District,
New Mexico. (Most of Arizona and New
No. 4. Intermountain District,
(Utah, southern Idaho, western Wyoming,
eastern and central Nevada, and
No. 5. California District,
San Francisco, California.
(California and southwestern Nevada.)