U.S. Forest Service


   To use a contemporary term, the U.S. Forest Service was a "spin-off" from the General Land Office (GLO). Its history starts with the beginning of the forest reserves under the administration of the GLO. In 1891, Congress passed the Forest Reserve Act that authorized the President to set aside public domain into forest reserves. As these forest reserves were reservations of the public domain, the GLO remained responsible for their administration. However, the Congress did not appropriate any additional funding to provide for protection of the reserves. Therefore, the first reasonable action taken by the GLO was to issue regulations that virtually prohibited all uses of the forest reserves. In 1897, Congress authorized criminal penalties for forest reserve regulations. However, in the summer of 1897 there were only six "special forest agents and supervisors" assigned in the forest reserves.

   Pursuant to the Forest Management Act of 1897, the GLO began to organize for the protection of the forest reserves. GLO began the first use of the forest reserve "ranger" title by a government entity. The GLO created the round "Forest Reserve Ranger" badge. The first "forest reserve rangers" were appointed in the summer of 1898. These forest reserve rangers served on forest reserves under GLO administration for the next 8 years.

   In 1902, the GLO issued the Forest Reserve Manual for the Information and Use of Forest Officers. The manual provided for five types of forest officers: inspectors of forest reserves; superintendents; supervisors; head rangers; and ordinary rangers. The first duty identified for forest officers was "Protective duty, guarding against fire and trespass, fighting fires and stopping trespass, as well as assisting the State authorities in the protection of game." The mission of these early rangers was simply to protect the forest reserves from fire and misuse. Carrying firearms was also an accepted part of their duty due to the nature of the assignment. The rudimentary houses these employees lived in became known as "ranger stations". These first "rangers" in Government service worked for the GLO.

   On June 10, 1902, the House of Representatives voted 100-73 against a measure to transfer the forest reserves from Interior to Agriculture after Joe Cannon of Illinois and John F. Shafroth and John C. Bell condemned it and excoriated Gifford Pinchot for his "so-called scientific Forestry."

   Pinchot persuaded President Roosevelt in 1903 to appoint a Committee on the Organization of Government Scientific Work and a Public Lands Commission. The commission report recommendations included (among other things) the following: transfer all responsibility for the forest reserves and National Parks into the Agriculture Department and give the President authority to set aside as grazing districts land suitable for pasturage by livestock and to impose fees for the privilege of grazing on lands and to regulate the use of the lands.

   Around the same time, the news of the massive land fraud cases in the west was becoming widespread. A special prosecutor had been appointed and Secret Service agents were detailed to the case to assist the special agents of the General Land Office. Some of the cases specifically involved frauds being perpetrated using lands within several forest reserves. Although numerous person were indicted, the most noteworthy were a Senator, a Congressman and Commissioner of the General Land Office Binger Hermann. So despite the earlier opposition to the transfer of the forest reserves, the Congress was now in the mood to make a change. In 1904 and 1905 a measure to transfer administration of the forest reserves passed both Houses without a division. Without division would imply there were few or no dissenters. This was a stark contrast to the vote just two years previous in 1902. It seems that news of the land frauds and the indictments of important people may have made more of a difference then the efforts of Pinchot.

   The Transfer Act of February 1, 1905, allowed the Forest Service 5 years during which all moneys received from cutting of timber, grazing fees, and other sources should be conveyed into the Treasury for a special fund on which the Service could draw for the protection, administration, improvement, and extension of the reserves. In addition Congress appropriated a record sum for salaries and other administrative costs of the Forest Service, including that of protecting the reserves against fire and plunder.

   Another significant provisions allowed Forest Service personnel to make arrests for violations of laws and regulations relating to the reserves and national parks and to ship timber cut on the reserves out of a state or territory in which it was cut. The Act of March 3, 1905 provided:


   All persons employed in the forest reserve and national park service of the United States shall have authority to make arrests for the violation of the laws and regulations relating to the forest reserves and national parks, and any person so arrested shall be taken before the nearest United States Commissioner (magistrate), within whose jurisdiction the forest or national park is located, for trial; and upon sworn information by any competent person any United States Commissioner (magistrate) in the proper jurisdiction shall issue process for the arrest of any person charged with the violation of said laws and regulations; but nothing herein contained shall be construed as preventing the arrest by any officer of the United States, without process, of any person taken in the act of violating said laws and regulations.

   This authority would leave little doubt that the Congress expected the first forest rangers to be engaged in law enforcement work.



  Historian Douglas Brinkley in his book, The Wilderness Warrior, Theodore Roosevelt and the Crusade for America, wrote about the transfer as follows:


One of President Roosevelt’s first significant post election acts was to transfer the federal forest reserves from the Interior Department to the Department of Agriculture’s Bureau of Forestry on February 1, 1905.  This had been Gifford Pinchot’s dream since 1898.  On March 3, with Inauguration Day approaching, the Bureau of Forestry was renamed the Forest Service.  Roosevelt had two major reasons for going along with Pinchot’s transfer plan: the GLO was filled with pro-business appointees who knew nothing about scientific forestry, and the centralization of the GLO caused long delays in issuing grazing, mining, and lumbering permits to regional reserve users. 


  Brinkley further wrote: “Unlike his boss, Roosevelt, Pinchot was interested in forest administration rather than wildlife protection” and “Pinchot, in fact, was extremely hesitant to regulate game animals on the forest reserves.”


  On June 2, 1905, President Roosevelt proclaimed the Wichita Forest National Game Preserve and assigned it to be administered by the new Forest Service.  According to Brinkley, Roosevelt expected that the “Forest Service would police the game reserve.”


   The Forest Service was finally established on July 1, 1905, when the Bureau of Forestry in the Department of Agriculture name was changed. The creation of the Forest Service was followed by a change in which the custom of GLO forest reserve rangers gaining employment via political appointments ended, and selections were made through comprehensive field and written civil service examinations.

   A "Use Book" (a manual of instruction) was written and issued by the Forest Service in 1905. The Use Book was prefaced with the following principles:

  1. The Forest Service intends to maintain upon the reserves a force of men organized to serve the public interests. This force has three chief duties: To protect the reserves against fire, to assist the people in their use, and to see that they are properly used.
  2. Forest officers, therefore, are servants of the people. They must obey instructions and enforce the regulations for the protection of the reserves without fear or favor, and must not allow personal or temporary interests to weigh against the permanent good of the reserves; but it is no less their duty to encourage and assist legitimate enterprises. They must answer all inquiries concerning reserve methods fully and cheerfully, and be at least as prompt and courteous in the conduct of reserve business as they would in private business.
  3. They must make every effort to prevent the misunderstanding and violation of reserve regulations by giving information fully and freely. The object should be to prevent mistakes rather than to have to punish them. Information should be given tactfully, by advise, and not by offensive warnings.

   The Use Book prescribed the regulations that the forest rangers were to enforce. The following acts were prohibited (as summarized):

  1. Grazing livestock (with exceptions) without a permit.
  2. Cutting, destroying or removing timber without paying for it or in violation of other conditions.
  3. Settling, squatting, or setting up residential occupation without a permit or in violation of same.
  4. Placing a fence or enclosure without a permit.
  5. Building roads, trails, or other improvements without a permit.
  6. Willfully tearing down or defacing warning notices of the Forest Service.
  7. Willfully destroying or damaging any property belonging to or used by the United States for forest reserve purposes.
  8. Willfully setting on fire or causing to be set on fire any timber, brush, or grass or abandoning or leaving unattended any fire.

   The Use Book set forth the following law enforcement policies and instructions:

  1. All forest officers have power to arrest without warrant any person whom they discover in the act of violating the forest reserve laws and regulations, or to swear out a warrant before a United States commissioner of the district in which such violation has been committed and use it as the visible sign of the right to arrest; and also to arrest for any such violation on a warrant obtained from a United States commissioner by any competent person.
  2. All forest officers are directed to be vigilant in discovering violations of forest reserve laws and regulations and diligent in arresting offenders, either on a warrant secured from a United States commissioner of the district or without such warrant when the offender is taken in the act of violating any forest reserve law or regulation.
  3. Any forest officer making an arrest must as soon as practicable take the offender before the nearest United States commissioner and thereafter stand ready to carry out any mandate of the commissioner relative to the custody of the prisoner. He will also at once inform the supervisor within whose jurisdiction the offense was committed. It shall be the duty of each supervisor promptly to inform the district attorney of any such arrest and to render him the fullest assistance in collecting evidence. Each supervisor will also keep the Forester fully informed of each arrest and of further steps in the prosecution.
  4. When a forest officer makes an arrest he will be reimbursed for the necessary expense incident to such arrest. When such expenses are incurred by a forest ranger he will be reimbursed through the supervisor.
  5. All forest officers will cooperate with the game wardens of the State or Territory in which they serve, so far as they can without interference with their regular reserve work. When authorized to do so by the Forester and by the State Game Warden, they will act as wardens, with full power to enforce the local laws. If not so authorized they will inform the State officials of all violations discovered.

   When the Forest Reserves were turned over to the Forest Service, the GLO forest reserve rangers were given the opportunity to join the new Forest Service. Many quit Government service. But those that did transfer to the new agency were very practical and greatly experienced men who helped form a cadre of highly talented forest rangers.

   Gifford Pinchot wasted little time in giving the former forest reserve rangers a new identity. When he was still the chief of the Bureau of Forestry, he began thinking about the need for a unique badge of authority for his agency employees even before the forest reserves were transferred from the Department of the Interior to Agriculture. When the shift finally took place early in 1905, and the bureau was designated as the Forest Service in the summer of the same year, Pinchot set about at once to get a new official badge for the forest rangers to replace the earlier General Land Office nickel plated, round badge. He solicited suggestions from those who worked in the field. Edward T. Allen and William C. Hodge strongly believed that a conventional shield was the best authority symbol and came up with the design that became the official badge.

   The first official badge was a large bronze badge, about 3 inches in diameter, slightly convex with raised letters and tree. It was issued to all field officers by July 1, 1905. Less than two years later, Pinchot issued an order on the wearing of the badge: "Hereafter the badge will be worn only by officers of the Washington Office when on inspection or administrative duty on the National Forests, by Inspectors, and by Supervisors, Rangers, and Guards and other officers assigned to administrative duty under the Supervisors." The present bronze badge that is worn by all Forest Service employees was first issued in 1915 and is smaller than the original.

   The new Forest Service was going to need more forest rangers to add to the cadre of former GLO forest reserve rangers. But now under civil service requirements, they had to give notice of their need for applicants and provide an examination prior to appointment. In their notice, they announced that, " A ranger must be able to take care of himself and his horses under very trying conditions; build trails and cabins; ride all day and all night; pack, shoot, and fight fire without losing his head." And that, "All this requires a very vigorous constitution. It means the hardest kind of physical work from beginning to end. It is not a job for those seeking health or light outdoor work." The notice finished with, "INVALIDS NEED NOT APPLY!

   Beginning in the summer of 1905, the new Forest Service required that applicants for the forest ranger position take practical written and field examinations. The written test, although not highly technical, was quite challenging. Questions were asked to determine an applicant's knowledge of basic ranching and livestock, forest conditions, lumbering, surveying, mapping, cabin construction, and so on. The field examination, held outdoors, was also quite basic. It required applicants to demonstrate their practical skills such as how to saddle a horse and ride at a trot and gallop, how to pack a horse or mule, how to "throw" a diamond hitch, accurately pace the distance around a measured course and compute the area in acres, and take bearings with a compass and follow a straight line. In the field examination's early years, the applicants were also required to bring a rifle and pistol along with them to shoot accurately at a target. At some ranger examinations, the applicants were required to cook a meal, then EAT it! The applicants, as well as the rangers themselves, were not furnished with equipment, horses, or pack animals they were required to have them for the test and for work, at their own expense. The pay was $60 per month.

   In his memoirs, one forest ranger applicant recalled the firearms test as follows:

   The applicants were required to shoot at marks at 100 yards with rifle and 50 yards with revolver. For this part of the examination I had my rifle, a 38-55 Cal. Marlin. For the rifle marksmanship I loaned my rifle to two of the other applicants. We were the leading marksmen with the rifle, only three points separated us. Several kinds or makes of rifles were used - Winchester, Marlin, Springfield, Krags, and even a muzzle loading rifle of ancient make. In the revolver shooting I do not remember what applicants were the best. I made a poor showing. Like the rifle shooting, all kinds and makes of revolvers were used. As a matter of fact, I used a revolver very little, even to packing one on my person. Most all of the older guards and rangers who entered the Forest Service when I entered did not go in very much for packing a revolver hanging from a belt or shoulder strap. Only in later years, after the forests were pretty well organized did the younger generation of guards and rangers begin to pack revolvers.

   According to R. Bryce Workman in his National Park Uniforms, In Search of Identity, the first official civilian uniform to make an appearance in and around the parks was actually worn by the Forest Service, not the Park Service. Gifford Pinchot had begun considering a Forest Service uniform in 1905 and appointed a committee to select a uniform for the forest rangers. The Forest Service began soliciting bids in September 1905 and had selected a design and supplier by the fall of 1906. The new uniforms were delivered in 1907. According to Forest Service historian Frank Harmon:

   The first uniform jacket was a compromise between the current Army officer's service coat and the business sack coat. It was brown with a green cast, and the material was wool worsted. It had a low turn-down collar, no lapels, four outside pockets with cover flaps, and five bronze buttons to close. Each pocket also had a small button. The buttons were convex with "FOREST SERVICE" and a pine tree in a raised design. The coat collar could be left open, or closed tightly with a clasp, military style. Worn with the uniform, from the very beginning, was a large bronze badge. The first hat was the same as the Army campaign hat - light colored felt with a wide, flat, stiff brim, but usually worn with a high "Montana peak" instead of the Army's single crease. There was a choice of trousers or riding breeches, both of wool worsted. The shirt was gray flannel like the Army's pullover olive drab.

   So the first rangers to wear the campaign hat, or "smokey bear" hat was the Forest Service and not the National Park Service. A picture dated 1907 appears in Workman's book of early forest rangers in uniform and the campaign hat is worn by all. The Forest Service would have somewhat of a "love/hate" relationship with this hat for years and it is seldom seen on Forest Service employees today. But it became a permanent fixture of Smokey Bear's clothing!

   The first Forest Service uniforms began showing up in the field between 1907 and 1911. Certain variations also became apparent. One early forest ranger recalled:

   During my time and service in the Forest Service I wore out 3 uniforms and they were two styles. The more military style with close fitting collar and the loose sack style of coat. Never did I abandon the brass buttons. The hats adopted were olive drab in color, a Stetson hat with a 4-inch brim and 6-inch crown. The hat, like the rest of the uniform, has changed since then.

   The forest rangers were off and running with all the accouterments of full fledged law enforcement officers, namely badge, gun, and uniform. They had their statutory authority to make arrests as they saw fit. They had their instructions and regulations to enforce. Hal Rothman in his book, I'll Never Fight Fire with my Bare Hands Again, put it this way:

   One of the most complicated tasks for forest rangers was the enforcement of the rules and regulations of their agency and of the U.S. government. In many cases, foresters were the only official representatives in a vast area, and besides their ordinary responsibilities, they functioned as de facto law enforcement officials and general problem-solvers.

   The forest rangers had to be cautious about regulating game animals and birds on the forest reserves (which were renamed national forests in 1907), for fear of trampling states rights and giving its western critics reason to disband the reserves. Further, a major source of conflict in the first decades of Forest Service administration was grazing of livestock on national forests. Sheep and cattle owners disputed use of grazing lands by the animals of the other, and both of them disliked being under the control of the Forest Service while their animals were on national forests. Even without gunplay it took courage by early rangers to impose regulations on local residents not used to the presence of the government in the isolated forests.

   The Congress would provide additional guidance about the relationship of the Forest Service with the state law enforcement agencies in the Act of May, 23, 1908:

   Officials of the Forest Service designated by the Secretary of Agriculture shall, in all ways that are practical, aid in the enforcement of the laws of the States and Territories with regard to stock, for the prevention and extinguishment of forest fires, and for the protection of fish and game, and, with respect to national forests, shall aid the other Federal bureaus and departments, on request from them, in the performance of the duties imposed on them by law.

   In the 1908 appropriation, the Forest Service was allocated $1,756,800 to enable the Secretary of Agriculture to erect necessary buildings: Provided, That the cost of any building erected shall not exceed $500; and to pay all expenses necessary to protect, administer, and improve the national forests. The 1909 appropriation was $3,151,900. In a 1909 hearing, it was identified that a portion of these appropriations were available for detecting violations of law and collecting evidence and securing punishments. The Forest Service provided information about the number of enforcement actions in different categories. In 1908, the Forest Service had the following enforcement actions: 26 grazing trespasses, 20 special-use trespasses, 42 timber trespasses, 10 fence trespasses, 9 fire trespasses, 3 claims against forest officer, 2 attempted briberies of forest officer, 1 girdling trees, 2 claims against timber purchaser, and 1 larceny from ranger station. In the first half of fiscal year 1909 up to the date of the hearing, the Forest Service had: 4 grazing trespasses, 5 special-use trespasses, 4 timber trespasses, 1 fence trespasses, and 6 fire trespasses.

   The year 1910 marked one of the biggest years for forest fires. Huge tracts of national forests in the west were burned. In August of 1910, while fighting a fire near Wallace, Idaho, Forest Ranger Edward Pulaski had a harrowing experience with his fire crew. The crew was fighting fire when the wind struck. Their only chance for survival was to take refuge in the shallow War Eagle mine tunnel. The tunnel entrance was at the bottom of a steep canyon. Up-rooted and blown over trees slid down the slope in front of the entrance and burned as though they were in a giant fireplace. Soon almost all of the oxygen from the mine tunnel had been drawn into this inferno. When breathing became hard, the crew began to panic and fought to get out. If they left, however, they would surely die. Pulaski held them at gun point and made them lie down with their faces next to the damp tunnel floor. This was the last source of oxygen. Pulaski remained near the tunnel mouth in the most exposed position. After several hours, the burning fuel was about gone. Pulaski regained consciousness. All but five of the men would survive.

   A case would be heard by the Supreme Court in 1911 that would set precedent on whether the Forest Service could require grazing permits and ultimately whether the Congress giving them authority to issue and enforce criminal regulations was Constitutional. In November 1907, the grand jury in the district court for the Southern District of California indicted Pierre Grimaud and J. P. Carajous, charging that: "... on April 26, 1907, after the Sierra Forest Reserve had been established, and after the grazing regulation had been promulgated, they did knowingly, wilfully, and unlawfully pasture and graze, and cause and procure to be pastured and grazed, certain sheep upon certain land within the limits of and a part of said Sierra Forest Reserve, without having theretofore or at any time secured or obtained a permit or any permission for said pasturing or grazing of said sheep or any part of them, as required by the said rules and regulations of the Secretary of Agriculture."

   The defendants claimed that the facts stated did not constitute a public offense against the United States because the acts of Congress making it an offense to violate rules and regulations made and promulgated by the Secretary of Agriculture were unconstitutional. They believed that the Congress could not delegate its legislative power to an administrative officer. However, the Court found that the legislative power was not unconstitutionally delegated by provisions of the act making criminal the violation of the rules and regulations covering national forests. So it could now be affirmatively said that the Forest Service could fully establish control over the National Forests in grazing enforcement.


   One of the most well known early forest rangers was Aldo Leopold. Many years later he would earn the moniker of "father of wildlife management." He was also a very early proponent of the wilderness concept. In 1912, he was working on the Carson National Forest, when the forest supervisor decided to decrease the number of sheep allowed to be grazed on the forest from 220,000 head to 198,000. At a very heated meeting of sheepmen, the forest supervisor made "threats" that he would enforce the restrictions. The task of making these threats stick fell largely on Leopold’s shoulders. Leopold proclaimed that, "By God, the Individual Allotment and every other reform we have promised is going to stick – if it takes a six shooter to do it." Leopold and his rangers indeed kept their six shooters at the ready and enforced the restrictions.


   Enforcement of State game laws was also an area of sensitivity for the early forest rangers. But since they were engaged in the regular and recurring patrol of the National Forests they could hardly avoid encountering such violations. One early forest ranger recalls in his memoirs, the following incident:

   On March 23, 1915 (not deer hunting season), I left camp at Stanley Cabin going on foot, making a grazing type map. When I reached a point on the Old Lassen Trail near the forest boundary line I ran square into a state paid Game Warden skinning a buck deer which he had shot. He had violated the law by killing a deer out of season. Three days later Rushing, Smith and myself arrived at Red Bluff. Rushing and I went to the Tehama County District Attorney's office. I swore out a warrant for the arrest of the State Game Warden. When I told the District Attorney who I wanted to arrest he said, "Good, have been trying to get him for years." It was well known that this Game Warden had been killing deer out of season for years. In 2 or 3 days the trial took place. In the meantime the Game Warden had surrendered his badge per request from the Fish and Game Commission. The town had a holiday; the court room was jammed with spectators. The Game Commission's attorney came from Sacramento to help the County District Attorney to prosecute the case. At the trial the Game Warden told the court that his brother killed the deer. The question asked by the Game Commission Attorney was, "Mr. Game Warden what did you do with all the edible parts of the deer?" Answer, "I fed it to the dogs." "Tried and convicted for killing deer out of season," was the Judge's verdict, $150 fine; I give you 5 days to pay the fine." The Ex-Game Warden paid the fine.

   Many of the States were paying little attention to the enforcement of game laws on the National Forests. It fell to the early forest rangers to enforce these laws on the National Forests. On October 20, 1915, Carson National Forest Rangers Aldo Leopold, Ray Marsh and Elliott Barker wanted to make it clear that game poaching on the National Forest would not be tolerated. They investigated an illegal deer kill and within twenty-four hours, the offenders were arrested, tried, convicted, and fined. By December 1, 1915, they had initiated 12 prosecutions, won 8 cases, lost one case, and 3 more cases were pending. Leopold would report that these actions led to two significant results: (1) it forced the state game wardens into unprecedented activity without losing their cooperation; and (2) many of the forest rangers had been converted from a passive attitude into activity and alertness.


   By 1921 the Forest Service had 2,572 employees compared to 1,275 in the General Land Office and the disparity increased thereafter. The Forest Service helped pioneer the field of wildlife management and stimulated many of the states to begin or improve their own programs. Hunters and anglers were the largest group of recreationists visiting the national forests, so it was natural for the Forest Service to focus its attention on fish and game animals. Federal game refuges created on national forests to conserve wildlife were helpful in increasing populations of game animals, and these animals then could be hunted on adjacent lands. The growth of deer populations led to conflicts between hunters and ranchers. Recreational hunters wanted more game animals; ranchers, concerned with forage depletion wanted fewer. In the 1920's the Forest Service effort to reduce the overextended mule deer populations on the Grand Canyon Federal Game Preserve (Kaibab National Forest) went to the Supreme Court in 1924 in United States v. Hunt.

   The deer population had grown from four thousand to twenty-five times that number, and overcropped and killed the available forage growth. The deer over-browsed upon and killed valuable young trees, shrubs, bushes, and forage plants. The starving animals died by the thousands, and the attempts of the Forest Service to cut down the herds were impeded. The district forester, acting under the direction of the Secretary of Agriculture, proceeded to kill large numbers of the deer and ship the carcasses outside the limits of the reserves. State officials interfered with these acts of the United States officials and threatened to arrest and prosecute any person or persons attempting to kill or possess or transport such deer, under the claim that such officials were proceeding in violation of the game laws of the state of Arizona, the observance of which would have so restricted the number of deer to be killed as to render futile the attempt to protect the reserves. Three persons who had killed deer under authority of United States officials were actually arrested. Thereupon suit was brought to enjoin the State from continuing or threatening such interference, arrest or prosecution. The Court found that the direction given by the Secretary of Agriculture was within the authority conferred upon him by act of Congress, and that he had the power of the United States to thus protect its lands and property, the game laws or any other statute of the state to the contrary notwithstanding. The action of the Forest Service was determined to be necessary to protect the lands of the United States within the reserves from serious injury.

The enforcement actions of the Forest Service would once again get the attention of the Supreme Court in 1927 in United States v. Alford. Alford had built a fire on private property adjacent to federal lands and failed to extinguish the fire before leaving the area, thereby violating a federal law. Alford was indicted for building a fire near flammable grass and other flammable material and timber situated upon the public domain of the United States, and for not extinguishing the same before leaving it, by reason of which the said grass and other material was burned. Alford defended himself on the grounds that the statute did not cover the building or leaving of fires at any place except upon a forest reservation, and attempts to cover fires elsewhere is unconstitutional and void. The District Court construed the statute in the same way. The United States appealed.

   The Court held that Congress had the statutory authority to prohibit activity on privately owned land that imperiled federal property. The Court found that the purpose of the statute was to prevent economically disastrous forest fires on federal lands and the Court reasoned that the danger to the federal lands depends upon the nearness of the fire, not upon the ownership of the land, where it is built. The Alford Court therefore upheld Congress' authority under the Property Clause to regulate activity on private property in order to protect adjacent federal lands from physical harm.

   The forest ranger job changed very little for several decades. However, Gifford Pinchot began a trend of working towards replacing many of the early forest rangers with those who were professional educated and trained in forestry. So university trained foresters, or "technical foresters," began to enter the agency after 1910, coming from the few colleges and universities offering degrees in forestry. By the 1920's, job specialization in the Forest Service was becoming common. In the early days, a district ranger was a patrolling law enforcement officer assigned to a certain subdivision or district of a national forest. Soon the sub-division became known as the "ranger district" which is a term still in use today. Before too long the district ranger's were given staff of their own such as assistant rangers, fire guards, forest guards, lookouts, etc. Eventually the term "forest ranger" became synonymous with "forester" or "forest manager" that was in charge of the "ranger district." Today, the title ranger is only applicable to the manager in charge of the ranger district. The patrol and law enforcement duties would eventually fall to employees with the titles of protection assistant, fire control officer, forest guard, fire prevention technician, or sometimes just law enforcement officer.

   An illustration of these various titles would occur in the story of Harmon Schwoob who was killed in the line of duty in the Forest Service in 1941. He was officially a "protection assistant" on the Baldy District of the Angeles National Forest. He was referred to in the headlines in some newspaper articles as "Forester" Schwoob and "Ranger." A game poaching violation was reported by a citizen to the local ranger station and Forest Guard Clinton Kiem chased the suspect with his patrol car down San Gabriel Canyon. Kiem and his fellow officer Schwoob were deputized as state fire wardens and deputy game wardens. Kiem was unable to overtake the suspect so he telephoned ahead to Schwoob who took up the pursuit and followed the suspect into a dead-end street in Azusa. Schwoob was shot by the suspect and died from the bullet wound at the scene. In his defense, the defendant had claimed he thought he was being robbed by Schwoob and shot in self-defense. He was only convicted of manslaughter. Forest Supervisor William Mendenhall had commended Schwoob for his "loyalty and courage" in attempting to "apprehend game violators who had shot a doe inside the game refuge at night, using an automobile and spotlight for the purpose." But according to Paul Berkowitz in Law of the Land, The History of Law Enforcement in the Federal Land Management Agencies, the forest supervisor later ordered his law enforcement employees to go unarmed, thinking that this would prevent anymore claims of self-defense.

   It is said that "forest rangers" and those who patrolled the national forests generally continued to wear sidearms up to about 1945.

   The changing needs of society after World War II prompted the agency to open the national forests to large scale timber harvesting, which meant that the role of the general practical forester was outdated and university trained specialists would continue to populate the Forest Service with personnel with a different mind set than the early forest rangers.

   The Congress granted some additional authority to the Forest Service in the Act of September 21, 1944:

   The Secretary of Agriculture may pay rewards from appropriations available for the protection and management of the national forests, under such regulations as he may prescribe, for information leading to the arrest and conviction for violation of the laws and regulations relating to fires in or near national forests, or for the unlawful taking of, or injury to, Government property.

   Gradually, the duty of serious law enforcement fell to local enforcement authorities (county sheriff, etc.), with many National Forest having none or only few law enforcement officers. Case-by-case investigations were carried on by the district rangers in the form of field investigations and reports. The rangers documented the trespass, and a warrant would be issued by the local enforcement authorities for the arrest of the offender. Often a fine would be imposed by a civil court if the party was found guilty of trespass. The Forest Service culture seemed to have entered a period of "domestic tranquility" where law enforcement would become a memory of the distant past.

   In the post-WWII years, the Forest Service had not completely abandoned their law enforcement responsibilities. They still had a uniformed force that wore badges that represented their statutory arrest authority. However, the practice of actually wearing firearms with the uniform had been somewhat phased out. It is thought that the new generation of forest supervisors were no longer supportive of this practice. But, these "forest officers" continued to patrol the National Forests and enforced the laws, rules, and regulations of the agency. Much of the focus was placed on enforcement of fire laws and regulations and leadership of the law enforcement program in the Forest Service fell to the fire management program.

   The laws related to deliberate acts of setting fires (arson) in National Forests was a major issue. They were confronted by other issues as well such as poachers and moonshiners. Realizing some need for a "law enforcement specialist" in 1941, Ranger Bert Cramer had been promoted to the position of Regional Law Enforcement Officer, assigned to work as a full-time criminal investigator in Missoula, Montana. Cramer served competently in this position for ten years before the Chief of the Forest Service decided in 1951 that his assignment in this capacity was inappropriate. It is not certain what the Chiefs reasons for this were. However, by this time in the Forest Service history, almost all jobs in the Forest Service were either classified as "foresters" or "forestry technicians." A classification of "criminal investigator" would have been a aberration of this forestry culture. Because he was classified as a "criminal investigator" he had assumed that he was entitled to the special retirement provisions authorized for such positions. So rather than lose these benefits by transfer out of the "criminal investigator" classification, he chose to submit his papers and evidence for retirement under the special law enforcement retirement provisions. The Chief's office was not supportive and his retirement was denied. This is but one example of many of the new generation of forester's denial of Forest Service law enforcement responsibilities. From a policy standpoint, law enforcement responsibilities were recognized and provided for in the Fireman's Guide, Fire Handbook for the Forest Service California Region in the early 1950s. Pages 42 to 50 are clearly labeled "law enforcement." The handbook states that the objective of fire law enforcement is to prevent fires. The handbook provided that: "Federal laws and regulations of the Secretary of Agriculture can be enforced by all Forest Service Officers." However, contrary to the original purposes of the early forest rangers and the statutory authority of all forest service employees to make arrests, no provisions were provided in this policy for the patrol personnel to make arrests. Rather, they were to issue a "Notice of Violation" (read as warning) and refer it to the District Ranger (read as supervisor) who would decide if any enforcement actions were necessary. This is a second example of the Forest Service managers restricting the law enforcement authority of their subordinate employees. This was a trend that would control Forest Service law enforcement for decades to come. This policy also ushered in the practice of using persons titled as "fire prevention technicians" (FPTs) as the primary patrol personnel of the Forest Service.

   In 1959, the Forest Service would once again appoint a criminal investigator to a regional staff. This time, the concept would stick. Former FBI agent Joe Couch was appointed as the first Forest Service "special agent" in the Southern Region. By 1961, two more special agents, former ATF agents, were appointed. This would start a trend where eventually each Forest Service region would have a special agent on staff.

   The 1960s and 1970s would bring about new law enforcement challenges for the Forest Service. The CCC program had built many campgrounds and recreational facilities in the National Forests. The Forest Service also had made progress in building many other facilities for recreation use. National Forests even began including developed ski areas. This was in response to the post war demands for outdoor recreation. The Forest Service was rapidly getting involved in "people management" problems and the related enforcement issues that would come with the increased recreation visitation. Further, new authorities such as the Wilderness Act, the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act, the designation of National Recreation Areas, and the executive order for the management of off-road vehicles would create additional enforcement demands. The Forest Service was now in need of a diversity of enforcement related employees. The fire prevention technicians were soon joined by recreation technicians, river rangers, snow rangers, and wilderness rangers. Law enforcement was no longer just the job of the fire program.

   The California Region would become the leading edge for law enforcement. There were problems with the gatherings of hippies in the Los Padres National Forest near Big Sur. Disturbances and violation of regulations would become acute in the Kern River Canyon of Sequoia National Forest. Dealing with mining claim occupancy trespass on the Klamath and Shasta-Trinity National Forests would become hostile and require the assistance of U.S. Deputy Marshals to escort mineral specialists into the area to conduct validity determinations. Law enforcement problems in the Angeles National Forest would later cause it to be named "the most dangerous national forest in America."

   The Congress would enhance the law enforcement authority of the Forest Service in 1971 by authorizing them to provide reimbursements to State and local law enforcement agencies when they provide requested law enforcement services to National Forest lands. This allowed the Forest Service to pay the sheriff's departments and others to provide patrols of Forest Service campgrounds, recreation areas, and other forest areas. This would become a major program that would receive specific Congressional appropriations each year.

   The California Region issued a Law Enforcement Field Guide in June 1974. This field guide would set policy and procedures in such a way as to influence Forest Service law enforcement beyond the California Region in the years to come. The field guide would also take the law enforcement function beyond just serving the fire program. The field guide required law enforcement to "investigate and initiate enforcement action on violations of laws and regulations, to maximize the protection and safety of the forest visitors and users, and minimize damages and destruction of resources and facilities." It provided a policy that only employees who are required to perform a full range of law enforcement duties shall be authorized to carry firearms. This was further refined by stating that employees could not carry firearms or other weapons in their official duties unless specifically authorized by the Regional Forester.

   The field guide reiterated that under statute, all forest officers have legal authority to make arrests for National Forest laws and regulations. But it also stated that, in most cases, the forest officers will not make arrests, but will issue the violation notice. The violation notice was the Federal citation that would serve to charge an offender in lieu of arrest. The citation process required the payment of a fixed fine for the pertinent violation. The field guide granted the forest officers discretion in deciding if a violation notice should be issued for petty offenses. This set a precedent and created a program of "citation only" forest officers. It was one more example of Forest Service managers restricting the use of statutory authority.

   The most long lasting and widespread scheme created by this field guide was the "levels of law enforcement" standard. The "levels" were actually developed as levels of law enforcement training where: level I was 4 hours of orientation training; level II was an additional 24 hours of training in enforcement that was for the most part how to issue citations; level III was an additional 16 hours in accident and fire investigations; level IV was an additional 16 hours in trespass investigations; and level V was the law enforcement training instructor level which was namely the special agents.

   These training levels eventually evolved into "levels of law enforcement authority" as follows:

Level I: observe violations and issue warnings. Level II: issue citations. Level III: investigate fires. Level IV: uniformed employees that could make arrests and carry firearms (if specifically authorized). This level required completion of a full course of basic law enforcement training similar to that required to be a State peace officer or as conducted by the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center (FLETC). Level V (although seldom called this) was the special agents.

   Most forest officers in the 1970s would be level II officers (citation only). The wearing of firearms was seldom authorized. There was little support for the law enforcement function at the headquarters level. A former Forest Service chief had said, "the Forest Service is not a law-enforcement agency." A Deputy Chief would say in 1972 that he was totally opposed to people doing law-enforcement work. However, events would occur in the next few years that would clearly be contrary to these opinions.

   In the summer of 1976, the General Accounting Office (GAO) did a study and it resulted in a report titled Crime in Federal Recreation Areas - A Serious Problem Needing Congressional and Agency Action. As part of their study, they did a literature search and reported that the Forest Service had produced a report on the subject of law enforcement in 1971. The report stated that many visitors had been assaulted, had property stolen, or had otherwise been molested. The report had concluded that more and more vandals, gangs of toughs, and careless visitors were destroying property, harassing others, and generally disregarding laws and regulations.

   One Forest Service officer reported to the GAO that on the Pisgah National Forest most law enforcement incidents involved disturbances and larcenies. He went on to say that a Forest Service officer was assaulted when he was attempting to enforce the requirement to be in possession of a permit to enter a Wilderness Area.

   The Department of Agriculture reported that Forest Officers "carry weapons when necessary for self-protection and to protect others." Yet the GAO found in their survey of law enforcement officers that only 5% of the Forest Service respondents indicated that they were carrying firearms on duty.

   The GAO determined that the Forest Service had established their only minimum training standard as the 24 hour course for issuing citations and that this training was not standardized because each regional office developed and implemented their own programs. One Forest Service respondent said that: "As a rule, during the summer the bulk of the law enforcement is done by college students with 24 hours of training." This confirms that for the most part in 1976, the Forest Service law enforcement workforce was primarily "citation only" officers.

   Another Forest Service respondent said that: "Times have changed. The image of the ranger is changing. We're not the same people we once were, because the problems we encounter are radically different than 30 years ago." He went on to say that he was an area director of an area having three major reservoirs with 15 developed recreation sites that contained 400 campsites and other recreational facilities. He recommended that the Forest Service needed to staff "full-time professional law enforcement personnel."

   The Forest Service would have to deal with some significant challenges in the next few years in regards to their enforcement authority. The Snake River within the Hells Canyon National Recreation Area had been designated as a wild and scenic river. Benjamin Lindsey and Thomas Lindsey were taking a rafting trip down the river and they came to shore to camp and build a campfire. They were charged by the Forest Service with camping and building a fire without a permit. Their campsite was located on dry land below the high water mark of the river. Title to such lands was held by the State of Idaho. The Lindseys claimed that the Forest Service was without jurisdiction because the violation did not occur on National Forest lands. However, the Court found that the United States has ". . . power to regulate conduct on non-federal land when reasonably necessary to protect adjacent Federal property."

   Also in the Hells Canyon National Recreation, in 1978, the Forest Service began requiring permits for launching and conducting trips on the Snake River. The Hells Canyon Guide Service had not obtained the required permits, but continued to conduct commercial float and jet boat trips down the river. This guide service was engaged in a game of "beat the ranger" against the Forest Service. They had developed their own launching facilities with dock on some un-patented mining claims. However, the mining claims had been ruled by the government as invalid and remained entirely under the surface jurisdiction of the Forest Service. They also had erected advertising signs for their business on these illegal launch facilities. They further claimed, like in the Lindsey case, that the Forest Service had no jurisdiction below the high water mark of the river. The Forest Service sought injunctive relief against them for these numerous illegal acts. The Court found that: "The regulation of the use and occupancy of national parks, forests and waterways is a matter of great national importance." They concluded that the authority granted to the Secretary of Agriculture was more than sufficient to validate the use of a permit system by the Forest Service to regulate the activities in question. The Court had validated the permit system even upon the "state" waters within the wild and scenic river designation.

   The most definitive decision on this issue would be made in 1981 in Minnesota v. Block. Congress passed the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness Act which would serve to limit the ability of people to use motorized boats and snowmobiles in the area. The State of Minnesota and some of its citizens sued for injunction, claiming that the Federal government lacked the power to regulate land not owned (state waters) by the Federal government. The court found that the Forest Service has the authority to regulate ". . . conduct on or off the public land that would threaten the designated purpose of the Federal lands" This would create the concept that the Federal land management agencies could extend their jurisdiction to adjacent lands and "related waters."

   Although not all of these cases were the result of criminal law enforcement actions, they were nevertheless tests of the enforcement authority of the Forest Service. The court decisions had now taken the Forest Service law enforcement responsibilities far beyond the timber, rangeland, and fire issues. The Forest Service law enforcement program would now become somewhat similar to that of the National Park Service in many areas. While the Forest Service was not exclusively a law enforcement agency, there were little doubt now that law enforcement would be a major component that was necessary to provide for the Federal purpose.

   The GAO did another report in 1982 titled Illegal and Unauthorized Activities on Public Lands - a Problem with Serious Implications. The GAO found that the Forest Service was not always effectively enforcing laws related to illegal and unauthorized activities on public lands. They found that illegal marijuana cultivation is extensive and widespread on Federal lands throughout California and Oregon. Additionally, according to Forest Service officials and documents, timber thefts were a serious and increasing law enforcement problem.

   The GAO found that the Forest Service efforts in dealing with these illegal activities were inconsistent. They said that the Forest Service regional managers set their own local policies and that there were no nationwide policies. However, the Forest Service had stated that (in 1982) only the agency's formally trained personnel are assigned detailed investigation and other highly technical law enforcement work and carry firearms. They stated that in addition they also had special agents available and cooperative agreements with local sheriffs. These were indications by the Forest Service that they were growing beyond the "citation only" officers into a program that consisted of some full-fledged uniformed "law enforcement officers" who were backed up by special agents and cooperative agreements. Despite this progress, the GAO believed that more emphasis was needed on enforcing the present laws and regulations.

   The most glaring problem identified by the GAO was the illegal cultivation of marijuana on National Forest lands. They found that Forest Service law enforcement officers and special agents in California were directly engaged in raid and eradication efforts. However, in Oregon, the regional forester reported that Forest Service employees in that state were not to initiate or participate in any marijuana arrests or raids.

   It would indeed be marijuana cultivation that would end up driving the Forest Service law enforcement program rapidly into the future. It had been rumored in the 1980s that the Daniel Boone National Forest was the number one producer of domestic marijuana in the United States. Further, the problem in Northern California and Oregon continued to grow. Adverse publicity about the problem was reaching many levels. Some Congress leaders were requesting reports and information from the Forest Service. The Forest Service had prepared a series of color coded maps of the National Forest System titled Reported Relative Marijuana Occurrences for each year from1981 to 1985. On the maps, they rated the marijuana occurrences in the various national forests. The high occurrence forests were colored in red. By examining each and every year, it could clearly be seen that high occurrence forests were rapidly spreading.

   The GAO did a report titled Additional Actions Taken to Control Marijuana Cultivation and other Crimes on Federal Lands in 1984. The Forest Service took full advantage of this opportunity to describe the marijuana problem in full detail with more than adequate statistics and reports. Their early Reported Relative Marijuana Occurrences maps were published as part of the report. They had gotten the attention of key Congressional members and great changes were ahead.

   Congress passed the National Forest System Drug Control Act of 1986. This law would effectively amend the old act of 1905 that granted the authority to make arrests to all Forest Service employees. It clarified that their now force of about 700 special agents and uniformed law enforcement officers have the authority to carry firearms, make arrests, serve warrants and other process, and conduct searches and seizures. The act further authorized Forest Service law enforcement personnel to ". . . conduct investigations and law enforcement actions outside the exterior boundaries of the National Forest System for drug related offenses committed within the National Forest System . . ." In the next few years the Forest Service law enforcement officers would eradicate and destroy 20,000 marijuana cultivation sites, 300 drug labs and make 4,000 drug related arrests. From that day forward, it would be increasingly hard to say that the Forest Service wasn't a law enforcement agency.

   Even though Congress had authorized a program of special agents and full-fledged uniformed law enforcement officers, the Forest Service continue to hang on to their "levels of law enforcement" system that was primarily staffed by "citation only" officers. They also continued to allow local Forest Supervisors to apply law enforcement as they saw fit and according to their own preferences and attitudes. They could do this by either limiting the number of "level IV" officers they had on their forest or by not requesting permission from the Regional Foresters for the carrying and wear of firearms. This created an inconsistent situation where on one National Forest the patrolling officers were wearing firearms and on the neighboring National Forest they were not.

   A meeting was held in 1988 for the purpose of proposing the Future National Agenda for Law Enforcement. The attendees were mostly just the regional special agents and line managers having some managerial responsibility for law enforcement. The report stated that there were currently 124 special agents and 600 "level IV" law enforcement officers in the Forest Service. Although the report included a number of useful recommendations, very little change was intended. The report seemed to readily adopt the title "law enforcement officer" rather than "level IV" and recommended that such positions should be covered under the special law enforcement retirement provisions.

   The Forest Service issued standard position descriptions for law enforcement officers classified as forestry technicians at the GS 5, 7, and 9 levels on August 22, 1989. They were optimistic that the positions would be determined to be covered by the special law enforcement retirement provisions. They stated that these positions would be predominately located on a Ranger District of a National Forest and their primary duty would be the apprehension of persons who commit criminal offenses on the National Forest System. They reiterated that such law enforcement officers are authorized to carry firearms and in doing so established a national standard on this. They also established a standard that all such law enforcement officers are to attend the 9-week police school for Land Management Agencies at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center. For whatever reason, they briefly mention that the Forest Service also has permanent and seasonal employees that have the authority to issue citations (level II).

   As part of dealing with some organizational issues, the Forest Service had chartered a National Forest System Law Enforcement Advisory Council. Among the council members were two State and local law enforcement officials and several criminal justice system officials. They produced their report in October 11, 1989, just two months after release of the law enforcement officer standard position descriptions. Although the council was to address organizational issues, they came up with some supplementary findings. They stated that the performance of law enforcement duties by level II (citation only officers) personnel creates a concern over their own personal safety as well as the public's safety. They recommended that: "Line management personnel should not hire nor assign any employees to any type of law enforcement duties unless they are fully trained and equipped as law enforcement officers. Only those who are designated law enforcement officers (level 4) and special agents should have law enforcement responsibilities." This event and the advent of the standard position descriptions would begin the decline of the use of "citation only" officers in the Forest Service.

   Forest Service Law Enforcement Officer Brent Jacobson had been shot and killed while on duty in Bonner County, Idaho in January 1989. He had been assisting the Bonner County Sheriff's Department in tracking two suspects in the forested areas that are adjacent to National Forest lands. Officer Jacobson was an experienced tracker and was equipped with snow shoes for traversing the forested areas in 2 ½ feet of snow. The suspects ambushed Jacobson and another officer and shot at them from a hiding place under a tree. For the first time in several decades, the Forest Service had to deal with one of their law enforcement officers being killed in a law enforcement incident. A great deal of opposition to Forest Service law enforcement officers wearing firearms would decline from that point on.

   When it came to change, the Forest Service organization was sacrosanct. But external pressures and input would challenge the way that the Forest Service organized their law enforcement program for the next five years. Two terms unique to the Forest Service organizational discussions would emerge - "line officer" and "stove-piping." "Line officer" was the term that the Forest Service applied to the Chief of the Forest Service, Regional Foresters, Forest Supervisors, and District Rangers. Essentially the line officers were the Forest Service managers who were not law enforcement officers and had only minimal training and/or background in law enforcement. The "line officer" approach was the status quo in which line officers supervise all of the special agents and law enforcement officers in the Forest Service. The "stove-piping" approach would be an organization where a Chief of Law Enforcement would supervise the regional special agents who in turn would supervise all of the special agents and law enforcement officers at the field level.

   The organizational discussion would be originally precipitated by the issuance of the Quality Standards for Investigations published in the President's Council on Integrity and Efficiency (PCIE) in January 1988. The U.S. Department of Agriculture Office of Inspector General (OIG) conducted an oversight review of the Forest Service law enforcement organization in July 1988. The OIG stated in their report that the Forest Service is highly decentralized where the line officer plans, organizes, staffs, trains and properly equips Forest Service law enforcement officers to accomplish law enforcement responsibilities. The PCIE standards required the investigative organization to be free, both in fact and appearance, from impairments to independence and must be organizationally independent and maintain an independent attitude. The OIG recommended in their report that the investigative function of the Forest Service special agents should be organizationally independent of the line management function of the Forest Service. This recommendation would trigger a great deal of consternation in the Forest Service.

   Perhaps to counter this recommendation, the Forest Service held a meeting in October 1988 for the purpose of proposing the Future National Agenda for Law Enforcement. The attendees were mostly just the regional special agents and line officers having some managerial responsibility for law enforcement. Their proposal would be identified as a consensus from a cross section of Forest Service personnel. It should be noted that there were no uniformed law enforcement officers among the participants even though the report stated that there were 600 such officers serving in the Forest Service at that time. This so called "cross section consensus" and "national agenda" did not include any recommendations that would constitute radical change. It proffered that: encouraging line managers to involve law enforcement personnel in day to day planning; development of national law enforcement policies: and an enhanced use of "law enforcement for managers" training would all serve to preserve the status quo in the law enforcement organization.

   The organization issue would go external just a few months later when a Report to the House Committee on Appropriations on Timber Theft in the Pacific Northwest Region was made in December 1988. Unlike in the above so called "cross section consensus," the House Surveys and Investigations staff studied the timber theft issue in detail and freely made contact with field level Forest Service special agents and law enforcement officers. The timber theft problem as it related to Forest Service timber sales contracting is quite complicated. The report examined years of data and information on the issue and it seemed that when timber purchasers took actions that constituted acts of "theft" there was sort of a look the other way attitude. Or if the timber purchaser was caught, it would be resolved by amending the contract and/or the making of administrative demands for damages under trespass procedures. These sorts of methods run very contrary to well established principles on theft of government property in the Federal justice system. Theft of any government property worth more than $1,000 is a felony crime. Another Federal statute called "misprision of a felony" makes it a felony crime for any person who knows of a felony offense and does not report it to the U.S. Attorney. Because the monetary values of timber are so high, the combination of these statutes makes any timber theft a criminal matter that should be investigated by the special agents and referred to the U.S. Attorney either for prosecution or declination.

   The timber theft report identified 6 timber theft cases with values up to $8.9 million that had been tried in the courts. Another 15 cases were under investigation. The report identified a number of illegal logging methods commonly used by timber purchasers so that "timber sales contracts would be considered a 'license to steal.' " The report included lengthy discussions of specific cases of timber theft. One Assistant U.S. Attorney said that the "system is very vulnerable to theft and that bogus activities are commonplace in a system that is extremely vulnerable." But counter to this, the report stated that "There is a general belief among FS employees that theft is not a problem."

   The survey and investigation staff had discovered the report released earlier in that year by the Agriculture Department OIG that had recommended that the Forest Service re-organize their special agents to be "organizationally independent." The Forest Service had shoved this recommendation aside because they believed the PCIE standards were only guidelines and there were no specific cases where Forest Service line officers had interfered with criminal investigation. However, the survey and investigation staff had identified a case on the Olympic National Forest where the District Ranger and the Forest Supervisor had removed a special agent from two investigations and refused to let him investigate a third. Many of the Forest Service law enforcement officers said that too often "irregularities" in timber contracts are handled through the contract or in civil court proceedings rather than through criminal investigation. The law enforcement officers were supportive of changing to a "stove-pipe" management system for law enforcement that would be a totally separate entity from "line officers." They proposed that such a system should have the head of law enforcement reporting directly to the Chief or Deputy Chief of the Forest Service.

   The Forest Service initiated another effort at preserving their organizational structure in their Law Enforcement Organizational Study released in October 1989. This was done by a six member team that included only one regional special agent and the rest were management types. The report did not include much that was new to the issue rather than a brief mention of the timber contracting/theft issue. They did find that approaches to management and implementation of law enforcement at the various levels of the organization "do differ" and that this was attributed to ". . . being influenced by personal philosophy or attitude." They also found that. "Forest Supervisors indicated that such national direction would be unwelcome." Their recommendations were not that substantive and did not constitute any organizational changes. They merely suggested that consideration be given to the establishment of a Director of Law Enforcement position; that all line officers attend a "law enforcement for managers" training within two years; and that a standard criteria be developed for determine when a criminal investigation should be initiated.

   As identified above, the Forest Service had chartered a National Forest System Law Enforcement Advisory Council to provide some external input into their law enforcement organizational issues. They completed their report in October 1989. The council recognized that the Forest Service was not a law enforcement agency, but they went on to say that carrying out the purposes of the Forest Service ". . . would be almost impossible without the enforcement of the rules and regulations . . ." The council did say that they had a finding that was contrary to the Law Enforcement Organizational Study. They believed that there was sufficient evidence to support the creation of a Director of "Public Safety." (The council appears to have preferred the use of the term "public safety" as a substitute for "law enforcement") They found that the Forest Service had a "cultural" history of decentralization which had resulted in a lack of standardization in public safety. They affirmatively recommended that a Director of Public Safety position be staffed at the Washington Office. They further stated that a similar position be established at the region, forest, and district levels.

   Continued external forces, especially on the timber theft issue, would influence some change in the Forest Service. In 1991, they established a Washington Office staff Director of Law Enforcement and Investigations who reported directly to the Deputy Chief for Administration. They also implemented a "whistleblower hotline" at the Washington level where potential criminal violations could be reported by field employees. National policy was issued that required all investigations be conducted with total independence and free from interference. A Timber Theft Task Force was also created for improving investigations and convictions for timber theft that was staffed with 18 administrative employees and 5 special agents.

   CNN did a story on Forest Service Law Enforcement in May 1992 that brought a great deal of external interest to bear on the problem of timber theft. They spent over a month interviewing special agents and law enforcement officers. In the month following, the House Surveys and Investigations Staff issued a follow-up report on U.S. Forest Service Administration of Timber Contracts. Most of the report reiterated some of the information contained in their 1988 report. But this report had a significant chapter on Forest Service law enforcement. They stated that the data they collected from the Forest Service shows a lack of continuity in law enforcement supervision. They pointed out that since July 1989, five studies had been conducted on the Forest Service law enforcement program. They stated further that three of those studies were done by external groups who had recommended that law enforcement should be: (1) organizationally independent of Forest Service line management functions; (2) supervised by managers with knowledge and experience in the criminal justice system; and (3) at parity with other management functions within the Forest Service. They reported that active and retired Forest Service law enforcement officials had told them that these recommendations had been ignored. These officials had also said many of the acts of improper influence over criminal investigations were due to ignorance of the law and poor judgment while trying to maintain good relations with timber purchasers. The report provided three specific acts of interference in criminal investigations that had occurred.

   When this follow-up timber theft report was released to the public in the spring of 1993, the media pursued the subject vigorously. Some newspapers such as the Sacramento Bee conducted additional inquiries and did entire exposes on the subject. The Forest Service law enforcement organizational issues were now laid completely bared before the public. The Sacramento Bee reporter said that, ". . . the Forest Service's lackadaisical, sometimes negligent attitude towards timber theft has made it easy to steal public property . . ." A former U.S. Attorney in Oregon told the reporter, "Anybody who thinks the Forest Service is the protector of the public domain is sadly mistaken. Their object in life is to sell timber at any cost. And, by gosh, you aren't going to change that." In reaction, the Forest Service told the reporter that they intended to restructure their law enforcement program later that year where they would place the investigators under more qualified enforcement oriented supervision.

   A Congressional oversight hearing was held on the Forest Service law enforcement program before the Subcommittee on Civil Service in the House of Representatives on October 5, 1993. One of those testifying was Richard C. Stiener, Director of the Office of Special Investigations of the U.S. General Accounting Office (GAO). His testimony would be most compelling. The title of his printed testimony said it all - Independence Still Lacking in Law Enforcement Organization. He reiterated all the published materials and reports in relationship to the requirements of the PCIE and he found that the proposed law enforcement reorganization does not achieve organizational independence. The Forest Service had only proposed to reorganize their special agent force while leaving the law enforcement officers in their existing structure. The GAO believed this to be improper because:

The law enforcement officer is often the first to detect potential criminal violations within our National Forests. We believe that independence may be lost when a line manager responsible for resource programs supervises a law enforcement officer who is uncovering information that might lead to an investigation of criminal activity.

   The GAO therefore recommended to the subcommittee that the Chief of the Forest Service create a senior law enforcement position with direct supervisory authority over the Forest Service's entire law enforcement function. However, on the following day (October 6, 1993) the Forest Service issued a memo on the law enforcement organization in which they directed only the special agent function to be reorganized to administratively report to the Director of Law Enforcement and Investigations in the Washington Office.

   Nine days later on October 15, 1993, the answer of the House Subcommittee was made in a budget capability statement for FY1994. This document directed the Forest Service to, ". . . establish a separate independent chain of command for the staff working on criminal investigation activities, within all levels of this organization (forest or region) reporting directly to the chief law enforcement officer in the Washington Office." This Congressional mandate for reorganization was finally implemented on October 1, 1994. After over five years of debate, discussion, and foot dragging, it took the Congress to force the Forest Service to change. To this day, the Forest Service remains the only land management law enforcement program to be entirely organized in this manner.

   The Forest Service made an attempt to revise, update, and modernize their law enforcement "prohibited acts" regulations in 1994. Unfortunately, their notice of proposed rulemaking stirred up a hornet's nest of opposition. Several opposition organizations fired up their FAX machines and drummed up enough opposition with misinformation that it resulted in the Forest Service receiving about 50,000 comments on the proposal. Most of the comments were opposed to certain features presented in the proposal. The Forest Service chose to abandon the project and would just continue to enforce their now decades old regulations.

   The Wise Use and County Supremacy movement would cause an awkward problem for Forest Service law enforcement. Nye County, Nevada had passed a resolution in 1993 claiming that the State of Nevada, not the United States, owns national forests and other federal lands, in their county. Nye County declared that they now had authority to manage these lands. Their challenge to federal authority would reach fruition on July 4, 1994 when one of the county commissioners would operate a bulldozer to re-open a road that the Forest Service had closed. The canyon was an important archeological and historic site. Road work could not be done by the Forest Service nor authorized to be done by others until required archeological and endangered species surveys could be done. Nye County Commissioner Richard Carver chose Independence Day, July 4, 1994 to stage his symbolic act of re-opening the Jefferson Canyon Road. He wanted to do this deliberately without federal permission to make a point. Carver used a bulldozer to open the closed logging road.

   Two Forest Service officials arrived before the bulldozing. David Grider was the local District Ranger. Dave Young was a Forest Service Special Agent. Young wore his Forest Service uniform with badge, gun, and enforcement belt. His appearance was obviously that of a law enforcement officer. When the crowd saw that Young was armed, some 50 people strapped on their own handguns. The large "armed" crowd was there to cheer on Carver.

   Carver guided the bulldozer along the road. Special Agent Dave Young stood in front of the bulldozer and unfurled a sign stating STOP - DISTURBANCE NOT AUTHORIZED. But Carver continued driving towards Young. Young stumbled and wound up briefly crawling on hands and knees. The event ended without violence. However, Carver succeeded in running the bulldozer through a pre-historic archeological site and several historic sites in Jefferson canyon. Special Agent Dave Young had made a heroic stand on behalf of the Forest Service. He made his law enforcement presence known without provocation and would later serve as a professional witness to what happened that day.

   Eight months later, the U.S. Department of Justice filed a civil suit against Nye County on March 8, 1995. The Department of Justice said that Nye County damaged natural and archeological resources, and threatened federal employees with criminal prosecution and other legal action for implementing federal laws. The Court rejected the Nye County argument that the federal government had no Constitutional authority over the public lands by mentioning that in Kleppe v. New Mexico, the Supreme Court had stated that "while the furthest reaches of the power granted by the Property Clause have not yet been definitively resolved, we have repeatedly observed that the power over the public land thus entrusted to Congress is without limitations." The Court recognized that Nye County had refused to acknowledge the holding of Kleppe. On March 14, 1996, the District Court of Nevada granted the United States' motion for summary judgment and declared that the United States owns and has power and authority to manage and administer the unappropriated public lands and National Forest System lands within Nye County, Nevada.

   The definitive finding of the Court left Nye County with no alternatives but to submit to the authority and actions of the Forest Service. The Forest Service continued with their investigation of the incident and assessment of the damage that had been caused by Nye County. A Forest Service archeologist assessed the damage at nearly $83,000. Rather than a criminal prosecution of the Archeological Resources Protection Act against Richard Carver, the Forest Service chose to use the administrative process provided under the ARPA against Nye County to collect damages. Nye County agreed to pay most of the damages. It was as if Nye County had a tremendous change of heart. What brought them to the bargaining table? It may have been the early involvement of both Forest Service management and law enforcement. Their observations and subsequent affidavits would be critical in making the definitive findings of United States v. Nye County. Their affidavits would also serve as primary evidential materials in the administrative ARPA case made against Nye County.

   The 1994 elections would bring into the Congress some members who would lead a prolonged attack on land management law enforcement. The Forest Service law enforcement program would not escape these attacks. Leading the opposition would be Congressmen Don Young of Alaska and Helen Chenoweth of Idaho. Throwing in some support would be Senator Larry Craig of Idaho.

   The first sign of opposition would be a media attack by Senator Craig. In response to the NRA's campaign (loosely know by the name "jack booted thugs"), Craig was interviewed by the Associated Press. In that interview he made comments about disarming the thousands of Federal officers who patrol national forests, parks, wildlife refuges, and other Federal lands. After his comments were challenged by several media editorials, he attempted to clarify this by saying that he questioned why the Forest Service, Fish and Wildlife Service, and the Bureau of Land Management even needed to "have their own cops." He also said that he thought the National Park Service had "people management" issues that required a law enforcement capability. His ignorance of the issues couldn't be more apparent. For example, annual recreation visitation (people) to the National Forests each year often exceeded the visitation figures for the National Park System. Like it or not, the Forest Service was already in the "people management" business.

   Congressional opponents were making requests for reports for further information about the Federal land management agencies. It seems that some of the opponents had assumed that these agencies were "expanding" their law enforcement without authority and the numbers of their officers were "excessive." One such report was the GAO report on Federal Lands: Information About Law Enforcement Activities. This report provided the numbers of law enforcement officers employed by each land management agency and the authorities granted to them by Federal laws. In that report, the Forest Service had provided data that indicated that they had 154 special agents, 481 uniformed law enforcement officers, and 785 cooperative agreements with state and local agencies where the Forest Service provided reimbursements for services rendered.

   Congressman Chenoweth was the chairman of the House Subcommittee on Forests and Forest Health. To say that she disliked the Forest Service is perhaps an understatement. She held an oversight hearing on Forest Service law enforcement on June 23, 1998. She seemed to use the opportunity to badger the Forest Service somewhat and focused on the question of why the Forest Service can't use other agencies like the FBI, the DEA, and local sheriff's departments to do their law enforcement work. Chenoweth said in her opening statement that, "Many, including myself, believe that local law enforcement organizations are generally the most qualified, capable, and have the clearest legal authority. So the appropriateness of the Forest Service even having their own law enforcement program is a question we will want to discuss."

   Chenoweth concentrated on the findings and recommendations that had been made in an external report titled "The Star Mountain Report." That report had found that the Forest Service had an inadequate law enforcement reporting system and Chenoweth grilled the Forest Service witnesses over this issue. Among the Star Mountain recommendations was that the Forest Service should more rigorously use cooperative agreements with state and local law enforcement agencies. There was also a recommendation for the Forest Service to use "block grants" to more effective fund activities through local governments. Chenoweth believed that local governments can provide better expertise at lower costs.

   This "lower cost" issue would find its way into Senate Report 105-227. This report was the Department of the Interior and Related Agencies Appropriation Bill for FY1999. The report was dated June 26, 1998, just 3 days after the Forest Service law enforcement oversight hearing. In the report, the Senate Committee on Appropriations said, "The committee is concerned that costs for Forest Service law enforcement officers are high relative to those of county law enforcement officers." The report directed the Forest Service to evaluate the comparative costs of Forest Service uniformed law enforcement officials and other uniformed Federal natural resource oriented law enforcement officers. The evaluation was to include discussion on the ability of local enforcement officials to assume responsibility to enforce Federal laws and to attain Federal training standards.

   The Forest Service began their evaluation by selecting a sampling of 144 counties that had some National Forest lands within their county boundaries. They sent out a questionnaire with 39 questions to the sheriffs of each of those counties. From this survey and other data they compiled their report and completed it in October 1999. There was no easy answer to the questions posed in the Senate Report. The Forest Service report was thorough and backed up by appropriate data analysis. A short synopsis of some of the findings of the report are as follows:

· When the survey respondents were asked if Federal authority should be expanded to include local law enforcement officials, slightly more than half (50%) stated that it should not. · Fifty-one percent of the respondents thought that they did not have the time or the resources to adequately patrol National Forest lands and to enforce the Federal laws and regulations. · Eighty percent of the respondents stated that there would be problems associated with expanding the enforcement of Federal laws to local officials, primarily due to lack of sufficient funds and resources. · When the respondents were asked if increased resources would allow them to assume Federal law enforcement responsibilities, thirty-five percent stated they would either not be interested or could never redeem such broad responsibilities. Fifty-six percent stated that they could only assume Federal responsibilities if there was a significant increase in resources.

   The Forest Service was careful to make no attempt to provide opinions or judgments, or for that matter draw any conclusions about the information contained in their report. However, a reading of the report would tend to lead one to see that eliminating the Forest Service uniformed law enforcement officers and replacing them with state and local agencies was far from feasible.

   So after almost one hundred years from when law enforcement began on the National Forests, the Forest Service special agents and law enforcement officers would continue to provide Federal law enforcement services into the 21st Century.