Federal forest management dates all the way back to 1876. At this time, Congress created the office of Special Agent within the U.S. Department of Agriculture in order to assess the conditions of forests throughout the country. The office was expanded into the Devision of Forestry in 1881. A decade later, the President was awarded the right to designate Western public lands into 'forest reserves'. It wasn't until 1905 that President Roosevelt transferred their care to the new U.S. Forest Service (part of the Department of Agriculture).
Gifford Pinchot was appointed the first Chief of the agency. Unfortunately, under his supervision in 1910, a firestorm swept across western Montana, northern Idaho and Oregon burning up 3 million acres in total. An even more staggering number is the 1 million acres that burned away in the course of 24 hours between August 21 and 22. These fires impacted the entire country's forestlands for the next century. The U.S. Forest Service's importance should never be overlooked, plus, they have some pretty awesome photographic records of their early days.
*we hold no rights to these images