DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR,
D.C. Dec. 15, 1897.
Mr. John Muir,
Dear Mr. Muir:
The work in the field is at an end for the present season, and I am now busy preparing my report. Two alternatives present themselves for the treatment of the reserved public timber lands. One is to reserve all suoh lands at one blow by refusing to allow any forest lands of the United States to be disposed of hereafter. This course would probably require Congressional action, and it is by no means certain that such action could be obtained. The other course is to secure the reservation of considerable bodies not now reserved, so as to include, as far as possible, all mountain ranges and any other considerable bodies of government timber land which may exist . The President has the necessary authority, and Congress would not require to be directly consulted . I shall recommend the general withdrawal of all lands as the best plan, but if it is out of reach, I wish to ba in a position to describe accurately suoh large bodies of government forests, that with good will on the part of the President, we could secureessentially the same result Of eourse, we can be said to have secured nothing so far except the chance to fight, but even that is a great thing .
I have sent you by this mail a copy of the Land Office map of California, and I want to follow it up with the request that if you have time and feel disposed, you will mark upon it any areas of government forest land, not yet reserved, which should be included. Devastated timber lands, whether their forests have been destroyed by fire or cutting, should be considered not less eligible for government forests than green timber, because the Government alone can protect [illegible] and secure their return to usefulness.
I learned yesterday that my direct connection with the Interior Department may terminate with this year, and although I shall reserve the right to hand in such further information as may be formulated after that time, I shall be glad to get your answer as soon as you can conveniently let me have it, if I am not trespassing upon your kindness in making this request.
Except for certain administrative clouds which darken the horizon, the general prospect for the forests seems never to have been so bright as now. I am not only confident of maintaining the present Reserves, but full of hope that we shall be able, not only to protect them in the near future, but to increase their area to a notable extent.
Please excuse this hasty letter and the rather large request which it contains. If I did not feel that the protection of the Sierra Forest was much more your affair than mine, I should
be far less ready to call upon you.
with best regards,
Very sincerely yours,
1897 Dec 15
Original letter dimensions: 26.5 x 20 cm.
Pinchot, Gifford, "Letter from Gifford Pinchot to John Muir, 1897 Dec 15." (1897). John Muir Correspondence (PDFs). 2044.
Reel 09, Image 1208
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