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A Guide to the U.S. Forest Service, George Washington National Forest, Dry River District Collection, 1917-1994

Collection Number SC 3014

Compiled by: Chris Bolgiano, March 1998

Revised by: Alicia Henneberry,  September 2013

Descriptive Summary

 

Repository: Special Collections, Carrier Library, James Madison University

Title: U.S. Forest Service, George Washington National Forest, Dry River District Collection, 1917-1994

Collection No.: SC 3014

Creator: U.S. Forest Service

Extent: One Hollinger box, twelve maps, and one oversize folder

Language: English

Abstract: This collection consists of photographs, memos, letters, pamphlets and more, all relating to the George Washington National Park, Dry River District. Most of the materials concern the fire-fighting activities of the park, while others relate to the activities of the Civilian Conservation Corps and recreation of the park. There are also 12 different maps of the Forest and several photographs included.

 

Administrative Information

 

Access Restrictions: None

Use Restrictions: None

Preferred Citation: U.S. Forest Service, George Washington National Forest, Dry River District Collection, 1917-1994, SC 3014, Special Collections, Carrier Library, James Madison University, Harrisonburg, VA

Acquisition Information: Donated February 1998 by District Ranger Stephen Parsons

 

Bio/Historical Note:  The George Washington National Forest was created after the enactment of the 1891 Forest Reserve Act, which was brought in front of Congress in response to the extensive damage done to the Shenandoah Valley by farming, timber, mining, hunting, and natural devastation. In 1911, the Weeks Act passed, which allowed the federal government to purchase land to be used for preservation. In 1917, three plots of purchased land in Virginia were combined to create the Shenandoah National Forest, later renamed the George Washington National Forest. The first ever Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) camp, Camp Roosevelt, was established in the George Washington National Forest, and began work on constructing the roads, campgrounds, fire towers and more. A total of 14 camps were eventually opened in the forest. The 1960 Multiple-use Sustained-Yield Act and the 1973 Threatened and Endangered Species helped the animal and plant population thrive in the forest, and help it to become the popular recreational hotspot it is today.

 

Scope and Content: The U.S. Forest Service, George Washington National Forest, Dry River District Collection consists of one Hollinger box, one oversize folder, and twelve maps, 1917-1994. Most file materials concern the Dry River District, which currently incorporates 227,000 acres on both sides of Shenandoah Mountain from State Route 259 in the north to Lookout Mountain and State Route 728 in the south, although locations in some other districts are mentioned. Most materials concern the fire-fighting activities undertaken by employees of Shenandoah National Forest, the predecessor of the George Washington National Forest. Fighting forest arson, prevalent during the first half of the twentieth century, was at that time one of the U.S. Forest Service's foremost goals. There are also some items relevant to recreational and historical topics.

 

Arrangement: The collection is compiled into mostly one box, divided into 8 folders pertaining to miscellaneous topics, all arranged chronologically from earliest to latest.  The oversize folder contains a miscellaneous publication on look procedures. The maps are located separately, and number 12 in all.

 

Bibliography: USDA Forest Service, George Washington and Jefferson National Forest

http://www.fs.usda.gov/main/gwj/learning/history-culture

 

Contents:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Box: Folder

Recreation, 1917-1934                                                                                                                                                                                         1:1

(includes 1 prospectus, photos, pamphlets)

Camp Todd, 1932-1968                                                                                                                                                                                         1:2

(Memos and photo detailing history of Camp Todd in the North River watershed)

Fire Reports, 1917-1919                                                                                                                                                                                       1:3

(Forms with number of acres, cause of fire, cost of suppression, etc., for Spring Creek,

Briery Branch, Edinburg, Armstrong, Deerfield, and several other locations)

High Knob Fire Tower, 1946-1994                                                                                                                                                                           1:4

(Photo of the natural stone structure built on the Rockingham-Pendleton County

 line by Civilian Conservation Corp men 1939-40; memos concerning its construction

 and later renovation; and a 1994 list that includes the tower on the National Historic

 Lookout Register.)

Fire Warden System, 1922-1957                                                                                                                                                                           1:5

(Photo of the natural stone structure built on the Rockingham-Pendleton

County line by Civilian Conservation Corp men 1939-40; memos concerning its

construction and later renovation; and a 1994 list that includes the tower on the

National Historic Lookout Register.

Fire Tower Specifications, 1917-1990                                                                                                                                                                      1:6

(General national forest specification; includes mention of High Knob Tower)

Civilian Conservation Corp photo                                                                                                                                                                            1:7

(Copies of photographs taken in the 1930s of CCC men at work)

Miscellaneous photographs                                                                                                                                                                                  1:8

(removed from 1,2, and 3)

Oversize Box: One folder containing the 1938 Forest Service publication, Standard Lookout Structure Plans

Maps:

-Map no. 1-1917, Massanutten National Forest

-Map no. 2-1917, Shenandoah National Forest

-Map no. 3-1920, Shenandoah National Forest, oversize, with acquisition boundaries

-Map no. 4-1925, Massanutten Division, Shenandoah National Forest

-Map no. 5-1927, Shenandoah National Forest, with text for general public

-Map no. 6-1927, Shenandoah National Forest, with typed and penned text updates appended

-Map no. 7-1927, Shenandoah National Forest, large.

-Map no. 8-1927, Shenandoah National Forest, with fire and ranger district boundaries drawn in and table of acreage’s

-Map no. 9-1927, 1932, Shenandoah National Forest, with approved and recommended change in boundaries drawn in and table

-Map no. 10-1932, George Washington National Forest, with text for general public

-Map no. 11- ca. 1930s, George Washington National Forest, with fire and ranger district boundaries drawn in.

-Map no. 12- 1971, George Washington National Forest Charcoal-Iron Furnaces


 

  
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