The US Forest Service.





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All images via The U.S. Forest Service Archive

Comments on “The US Forest Service.

    Youngster on November 19, 2009 1:19 PM:

    Big ups. My grandpa and great grandpa were both in the Forest Service. I did a summer stint myself, but I felt outta place, because all the pros had smokejumper boots and I just had regular redwing 875s. I guess its good I never got caught in a burn.
    Anyway, this post really gets me, and it reminds me of the Story about my Great Grandpa, who was a forest ranger in Bend Oregon during the Depression. He was overseeing a logging camp, and was attacked by a bear while eating lunch in his car. He killed the bear with a Winchester .22, and used the the skin to keep his truck from freezing in the winter. I inherited that rifle, and it always reminds me of how much less bad-ass I am than my ancestors.

    evencleveland on November 19, 2009 1:44 PM:

    These are fantastic. Talk about tough.

    Have you ever read Young Men and Fire by Norman Maclean? (He also wrote A River Runs Through It.) It’s riveting – all about WWII vets working as smoke jumpers in Montana, tackling what became a legendary fire.

    Brett McKay on November 19, 2009 1:55 PM:

    Thanks for posting this Michael. Like Youngster, I have a family history of men serving the forest service as well. My grandpa, great grandpa, and great great grandpa all served in the US Forest Service. Here’s a bio of my grandpa and his tenure: Notice the awesome glasses. Classic. Style.

    About 15 years ago my grandpa wrote his memoirs because he thought he was gong to die soon. He’s now 94 and going strong. Anyways, the stories are amazing. He talks about how he’d be alone for weeks at a time out in the woods with nothing but a horse and a gun. I read about how he hit on my grandma when we came into town. She worked at the switchboards and whenever he came to pick up mail, he’d chat with her between calls. There’s also some cool stories about him working with the CCC boys.

    I need to see if I can scrummage up some cool pics of my grandpa during his forest service days.

    huckleberry hart on November 19, 2009 3:37 PM:

    stunning. i am going to build a lean-to

    Anthony Mazzenga on November 19, 2009 3:53 PM:

    I am the CEO of Wickers Moisture Wicking Fire Resistant Underwear. It is manufactured in America.

    If any of your members wants information about this product, Kindly send an Email to

    Chris on November 19, 2009 3:54 PM:

    a) Great photos.
    b) I want to meet the man who manages to kill a bear with a .22. Impressive.
    c) Why don’t they dress like this anymore?

    tons of land on November 19, 2009 6:51 PM:

    love the boots on those guys sitting on the front steps of their camp. sweet.

    tomcat on November 19, 2009 8:16 PM:

    grandpa must have shot that there bear right in th’ eye.

    Matt on November 19, 2009 8:31 PM:

    While non of my people worked for the official US Forest Service, we have five generations of loggers on family land (my brother doing it part time). Those pictures remind me of the ones of my family. Cutting down some big ole cypress tees in the swamp. Great post as always. Makes me wish I didn’t sit at a desk in the basement all day.

    acotton on November 19, 2009 11:53 PM:

    Nice! Great pics, thanks for posting Michael. Love the uniforms these guys wore back in the day especially the vest/aluminum hard hat combo. Too bad you can’t wear a lot of that stuff on fires anymore. Or drink beer.

    Youngster on November 20, 2009 12:41 AM:

    Actually, as the story goes, the loggers called in saying that a bear was harrasing them, and it kept getting harder to scare of. He said that he would deal with it after lunch. Well, he was sitting in his truck (a big old ton o’steel ford) eating his lunch and the bear came up on the passenger side and tried to get him (probably his lunch too) by sticking its head through the window. The bear was all roarin’ and chompin’ so he jumped out driver side door with his rifle, stuck the barrel in its mouth and shot it. He never liked hunting, but he got a real good trophy out of it.

    tomcat on November 20, 2009 7:47 AM:

    that’s a great story!

    mh on November 20, 2009 12:59 PM:

    shot a bear w/ a .22? co..bullshit..ugh. I know you cherish this story, but putting the gun in the bear’s mouth…really. you don’t just go up to a bear, and a bear certainly does not let you put a gun in its mouth, especially a fucking rifle. Think about it, a bear, a black bear if this “story” occured in C. Oregon, would be at about your grandfather’s waist…standing up it would be just below his shoulders, did he shoot the rifle from his hip, hollywood-style? I guess the bear could have been docile enough to allow this if he was really full on porridge. And lastly, bears don’t typically become aggressive until before they go into hibernation or if there was a cub involved.

    Youngster on November 20, 2009 3:41 PM:

    I do cherish the story, so please do not be rude. While there may be an exaggeration or two, there is nothing incredible about it. And mind you, in the early 1930’s bears were far less familiar with humans invading their habitats. I enjoy sharing family stories, so please grant me that joy. Keep your skepticism to yourself, and don’t be a troll.

    mh on November 21, 2009 12:12 AM:

    Sorry…that was rude. I would not like someone trashing my stories.

    ms on November 21, 2009 5:49 PM:

    what strikes me most curious about this blog is whether or not michael williams is an actual historian of the material he presents or if he is simply like many of todays bloggers who merely skim the surface of various people, places and things; therefore appearing to be much more educated on topics than they actually are. anyone can post photos of the us forest service and insinuate, by merely posting the photos, that they have an understanding of the lives and history of these men. for example their clothing, boots, packs etc… are all chosen for functional purposes relative to their jobs. as cool or as trendy as work wear, americana and vintage may be to date, their is reasoning behind their chosen fashions. as an avid reader of this blog i challenge ACL to dig a little deeper.

    al on November 22, 2009 12:18 PM:

    agreed…ms. Having just finished the PBS series on the National Parks this seems a tad derivative.

    damien on November 23, 2009 1:19 AM:

    Snazzy dressing for putting out fires. Pretty darn cool.

    Pete on November 23, 2009 8:24 PM:

    If you ever go to silver falls state park in Oregon, check out the pictures that are hung in the lodge of all the forest service members who used to work there. Five points for finding Clark Gable in the group shot.

    Caroline, No on November 24, 2009 6:24 AM:

    Awesome pictures.

    Colin on November 24, 2009 2:48 PM:


    “Jim Halpert: Question. What kind of bear is best?
    Dwight Schrute: That’s a ridiculous question.
    Jim Halpert: False. Black bear.
    Dwight Schrute: Well, that’s debatable. There are basically two schools of thought…
    Jim Halpert: Bears eat beets. Bears, beets, Battlestar Galactica.
    Dwight Schrute: Bears do not… what is going on? What are you doing?”

    idhawkdrvr on December 3, 2009 11:06 PM:

    Did the fire thing too after high school. Best years of my life so far. Awesome pictures, and story man. Make sure you write it down so others can enjoy it…

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