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Forest Notes – 1916

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Historical reproductions by Dick Perue

With most of the western forests on fire, timber harvest and livestock grazing on our public lands close to extinction and roads closed to hunters, fishermen and visitors, it is refreshing to read about the extensive multiple use and proper management of the forest in the Aug. 3, 1916 issue of The Encampment Record.

The market value of “silk” socks manufactured from sawdust in the United States in 1915 is said to equal the total appropriation for administering the national forests.

During the fiscal year ending June 30, forest officers on the national forests under the jurisdiction of the Denver office destroyed 965 predatory animals, including 814 coyotes, three mountain lions, 13 lynx, 27 bears, 80 wildcats, three wolves, 14 wolf pups and two foxes.

In the sundry civil act, approved July 1, authority was granted to expend not exceeding $15,000 for the development of the Cody road leading through the Shoshone National Forest to the eastern gateway of the Yellowstone National Park, the work to be done under the supervision of the Engineer Corps of the U.S. Army.

The Denver office of the Forest Service reports the fire situation on the national forests in Colorado is slightly improved. Reports received from the supervisors of the 17 forests in the state, for the 10-day period ending July 20, indicate rains have generally fallen throughout the forest areas, relieving temporarily, at least, the serious condition of two weeks ago. 

The condition on the Pike, Rio Grande, Routt, San Isabel and Uncompabgre, however, still continues to be serious. In Wyoming, the rains have been less frequent, and serious conditions are reported on the Big Horn, Hayden, Medicine Bow and Shoshone forests. Heavy rains were also reported in the Black Hills region of South Dakota, relieving the situation on the Black Hills and Harney forests.

The annual grazing report issued by the Forest Service for the fiscal year ending June 30, shows an increase of five percent in the number of cattle, 13 percent in the number of horses and 43 percent more sheep using the national forest ranges in Colorado over the previous year. In all, the Colorado forest ranges supported 317,800 cattle, 10,189 horses and 902,146 sheep during the year.

In Wyoming, 86,720 cattle, 3,988 horses and 564,974 sheep were fed on the forest ranges, a slight increase recorded in the number of cattle, decrease of 15 percent in horses and an increase of 12 percent in sheep over Fiscal Year 1915.

On all the national forests under the jurisdiction of the Denver office, 433,418 cattle, 18,012 horses, 1,467,120 sheep and 979 goats were grazed during the year, an increase of 19,946 cattle, 1,056 horses and 331,716 sheep. During the year, grazing privileges on the national forests within this jurisdiction were granted to 5,088 cattle and horses and to 776 sheep and goat permittees, an increase of 71 permittees of the former and 137 of the latter class over the previous year.

Just think what a beautiful forest we would have today if we had proper forest management, no interference from environmentalist groups, responsible clear-cut timber harvest and sustainable grazing, instead of the “forest fires are beneficial” storyline the environmentalist groups and Forest Service forced on us several years ago. I don’t know about you, but I’ve had all the “let it burn benefits” of the smoke and pollution of forest fires my eyes and lungs can take.

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