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Postcard from the Past - Forestry Congress to Convene

Written by Dick Perue

A headline in the Dec. 29, 1904 issue of “The Saratoga Sun” reads, “Different Branches of Forestry to be Considered at Convention in Washington.” 

The rest of the story follows:

“L. G. Davis, superintendent of the Medicine Bow forest reserve, left Monday for Washington, D. C. as a delegate to the American Forestry Congress, which convenes during the first week in January, from the 2nd to the 6th.

“The congress will be under the auspices of the American Forestry Association, and its purpose will be to establish a broader understanding of the forest in its relation to the great industries depending directly or indirectly upon it and to advance the conservative use of forest resources for both the present and future needs of these industries.

“Among the questions to be considered are forestry and its effect upon the lumber industry; the relationship of the public forest lands to irrigation, mining and grazing; forestry in relation to railroad supplies and a thorough discussion of national and state forest policy.

“The rise of the forest movement dates from 1875 when a small body of public-spirited men organized the American Forestry Congress and the organization has increased in numbers and influence yearly until it has become one of the great powers for good over the entire country.

“The convention will be composed of delegates from every portion of the country, and men who have made a thorough study of forestry in all its branches, such as Hon. James Wilson, secretary of Agriculture, and president of the American Forestry Association, Hon. Gifford Pinchot, forester in United States Department of Agriculture and others.”

With turmoil, confusion and poor management prevalent throughout today’s Forest Service, we ask, “Isn’t it time to convene another Forestry Congress for the benefit of all mankind and our forests?” Or is it too late, since all we have left to convene with is millions of pine beetles while we sit on dead trees? – Learned opinion by Dick Perue.