Saturday, January 17, 2009

1893-97 Forest Reserve

Before Mount Rainier was a Naitonal Park and while the effort was going on to designate the area as a National Park, another effort was underway and successful before the NP law to incorporate the area into a larger national forest reserve, which extended from north of the later NP to just north of the Columbia area and encompassening much of the western side of the Cascade Mountains and the eastern part over the divide abutting to the recognized Native American (Indian) reservations.

The first was proposed in 1891 and then designated in 1897, see the laws, where the later NP was designated within the forest reserve boundaries and still exists inside the larger US Forest Service national forests and different wilderness areas. The reserve is identified in the USGS report "Mount Rainier Forest Reserve, Washington", Fred G. Plummer, US Geological Survey 21st Annual Report, 1899-1900, Part V, pages 81-143. (Not available as on-line version). This is the first study of the forests and timber resources of the whole reserve including Mt. Rainier NP. Also, obviously dated but worthwhile with photos and original map.

I found an original print of the report along with the attached map, which you can see the map. As near as I can find, the forest reserve and national park designations were separate efforts, as the NP designation is well documented but the Forest Reserve designation isn't. Since it's pre-dates the creation of the US Forest Service, I haven't found any history beyond the report. Yet, anyway.

As I've found the period of 1890-1900 was a busy period for the Mount Rainier area. I'm still working and researching, and I'll post more entries here and on Web pages as I develop enough to put on-line. Please let me know if you have ideas suggestions or resources, please let me know.

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