Sunday, November 16, 2008
Willey Range, looking north from Carrigain, August, 2008
The White Mountain National Forest (WMNF) came into existence in 1918 (May 16, 1918) after passage of the Weeks Law in 1911 that created the US national forest system. John Weeks, a Massachusetts Congressman, in 1906, proposed money be set aside by congress to purchase land in the East for national forest preserves. There were a few precursors to the national forests in the years prior to the Weeks Act in the form of “Federal Forest Reserves” most of which were located in the western states. Various groups advocating for eastern reserves used flood control, wildfire control, forest management, forest preservation, headwater protection for navigable rivers, conservation and recreation as the necessities for the new reserves. Some of the ideas were attempts to circumnavigate the opposition to the reserves in Washington who were shouting “Not a penny for scenery!” aimed at the conservation and recreation folks.