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Forests of Siskiyou County

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The September 15, 1903, Yreka Journal reports:

"A.F. Potter of Washington, DC, agent of the Bureau of Forestry arrived Monday. He was accompanied by three field assistants, Mr. Kock, Mr. Wilson and Mr. Patterson. Mr. Potter will remain in the county about a week and his assistants will pass a month here. The objective is to make a complete examination of the county as to suitability of creating a forest reserve. Mr. Potter passed a good deal of his time with Mr. C.H. Edward of the Forest Reserve Committee and District Attorney Given. The matter was fully discussed and all data prepared by the committee was placed at Mr. Potter's disposal. He stated that in the creation of a forest reserve the Government would take in consideration the wishes of the people in the part affected, he further stated worthless land would not be incorporated therein. The commission will make its report to the Secretary of the Interior about February 1, 1904, and the matter will soon thereafter be determined."

On April 26, 1905, the Trinity National Forest was created. On May 6, the Klamath National Forest; on June 2, Lassen National; and on Oct. 3, the Shasta National Forest was created.

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Following creation of these forest reserves, local stockmen were immediately impacted in the use of their "customary range." According to a circular released in 1906 by the Chief of the Forest Service in Washington, D.C., grazing permits for the 1906 season would be required. This meant that all stockmen and settlers using the Forest for grazing were placed under the permit system. R.L.P. Bigelow wrote to local Rangers that a man living in the Forest Reserve was entitled to six head of domestic stock to run on the range free of charge. The authorized use of the Forest was 9,750 cattle and horses; 2,300 head of sheep and goats; and no hogs. Frank Harley at Scott Bar and Chris Quigley at Walker were instructed to meet with stockmen at Fort Jones or Etna and get applications made out.

According to Davies and Frank, there was significant hostility from locals for the need to obtain a permit for activities they had been doing for two or more generations.

In 1907, the designation "special privilege permits" was changed to "special use permits." Klamath Forest Supervisor Bigelow issued grazing orders addressed to all Forest Officers outlining procedures for establishing seasons. The 3 seasons were for six months, eight months and one year starting on May 1. Payments were to be made before stock entered the range by bank draft or money order - no cash. During a meeting with stockmen, Bigelow felt that since the stockmen could not come to reasonable terms among themselves on range use, he would decide for himself. (Davies, Gilbert W. and Frank, Florice M., editors; Stories of the Klamath National Forest The First 50 Years: 1905-1955; HiStory ink Books, P.O. Box 52, Hat Creek, CA; c1992.)


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