Cha[rle]s H. Sawyer
Los Catos Jan. 4th 1902My Dear Mr. Muir;Though I know some of the Forest Reserves fairly well, particularly the Olympic and Bitter Root Reserves, the only opportunity I have had of observing the methods by which they are guarded, was during a trip I made in the company of the Rangers of the Bitter Root Reserve, a year ago last summer. I was very much disappointed, I had hoped that it would be guarded and preserved, the beautiful wilderness that it is.I met three Rangers that trip, two of them I traveled with for a month, and one I met in town, in charge of the office, the Supervisor being away. This particular Ranger whom we will call Ranger #l, owed his appointment to his Father a clerk in one of the Departments in Washington, he was absolutely unfit for the life, hated it, and said that he should resign if he ever had to patrol the Reserve again. He had spent the winter before on the Reserve, where he and a companion, Ranger #2 built a "cabin", afterwards known as Rangers' cabin #1. They used small logs piling them up as a rail fence is built, open everywhere, two blankets for the roof, a blanket for a door, it was a standing joke for the whole country side, the meanest trapper in the mountains had a better one, in spring he made one trip on the Reserve and then went to live in town, he was actually afraid, he could not be persuaded to venture out after night-fall for fear of cougars.Ranger #2 owed his appointment to his father, a man who had at one time held an important office in Idaho. He took the job until he could get something better, he told me himself that there was nothing to do but hunt or prospect, and during the month I traveled with him he did not leave camp or his blankets except upon two occasions, both times he went hunting for an hour or two, and all that he did to earn his pay was to ride from camp to camp.Ranger #3 was a splendid mountain man, and he did all that was ever done, he could, at least handle an axe, and would use it when necessary to open a trail, the others would go around any distance or go back. He was easily influenced by his companion, Ranger #2 but I will say that he was the only one that I saw that did anything to earn one dollar of the pay the Goverment gave them. Before he obtained his appointment, which was given him through the influence of Ranger #2's father, he had been trapping and prospecting, he had also run several rafts of timber from the Reserve to the farming country below, selling them for telegraph poles etc. until the Surervisor warned him that02921
Los Gatos [Calif.]
1902 Jan 4
Original letter dimensions: 27 x 20 cm.
Reel 12, Image 0037
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