forest reserve act
Flashback Friday: Shoshone National Park 1891
One-hundred, thirty-two years ago, today…
[The] Shoshone National Forest is the first federally protected National Forest in the United States and covers nearly 2,500,000 acres in the state of Wyoming. Originally a part of the Yellowstone Timberland Reserve, the forest is managed by the United States Forest Service and was created by an act of Congress, signed into law by U.S. President Benjamin Harrison in 1891. Native Americans have lived in the region for at least 10,000 years and when the region was first explored by European adventurers, forestlands were occupied by several different tribes. Never heavily settled or exploited, the forest has retained most of its wildness. Shoshone National Forest is a part of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem […].
The Absaroka and Beartooth Mountains are partly in the northern section of the forest. The Wind River Range is in the southern portion and contains Gannett Peak, the tallest mountain in Wyoming. [The] Continental Divide separates the forest from its neighbor Bridger-Teton National Forest to the west. The eastern boundary includes privately owned property, lands managed by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management and, the Wind River Indian Reservation, which belongs to the Shoshone and Arapahoe Indians. Custer National Forest along the Montana border is on the northern frontier. The Oregon Trail, the 19th century covered wagon route, passes just south of the forest, where broad and gentle South Pass allowed the migrants to bypass the rugged mountains to the north. The forest is home to the Grizzly bear, Cougar, Moose, tens of thousands of Elk as well as the largest herd of Bighorn sheep in the U.S.
[On] March 3 [of] 1891, Congress enacted, and [President] Harrison signed, the Land Revision Act of 1891. This legislation resulted from a bipartisan desire to initiate reclamation of surplus lands that had been, up to that point, granted from the public domain, for potential settlement or use by railroad syndicates.
The Act reversed previous policy initiatives, such as the Timber Culture Act of 1873, which did not preclude land fraud by wealthy individuals and corporations. The legacy of the General Revision Act of 1891 [Forest Reserve Act/Land Revision Act] is frequently credited as its serving as a catalyst to a series of federal land reform initiatives, notably under President Theodore Roosevelt.
As a side note, when my father was a Freshman at N.C. State University in 1963-1964, he studied Forestry. Prior to his death on August 25, 2022, he still remembered most of the Latin terms for all trees and forest plants.
♦ Shoshone National Forest (Wyoming State Parks)
♦ America’s First National Forest (Forest Service)
♦ Our First National Forest (National Park Service History)