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Forest Reserves

The Forest Reserve Act of 1891 is a law that allowed the U.S. President to set aside lands as national forests. The law preserves water resources until forested lands can be opened for settlement and exploitation, but is part of a growing conservation movement to preserve natural resources for future generations.

The Forest Reserve Act had mixed purposes:

a. to protect watersheds from erosion and flooding; and

b. to preserve the nation's timber supply from over-exploitation.

Certain Particular Reservations (is this wilderness or just national forests lands?)have by special Act been opened to the location of mining claims, but by Act of June 4 1897 30 St. L. 36, mineral lands in all Forest Reservations are especially excepted from the reserve and are open to location and entry under the mineral laws - 32 - L.D. 307.  And all mining rights of way are allowed across them - 33 St. L. 628.

The discovery & location of a claim on the Reserve is made exactly as if it were on non-reserved land, but the "FOREST RANGER" is authorized to examine and report as to its being a "bona fide" claim.  His duties in the premises and the restrictions as to ditches and timber cutting are set out in a publication by the department (1907) called the "USE BOOK".

The regualtions of the Dept. permit owners of mining claims to cut timber for the actual mining purposes in connection with the particular claim for which the timber is cut.

This information is taken from page 337 of the 1908 publication:  "Mining Rights on the Public Domain"  Additional info is on page 404 as well.

I am having trouble trying to figure out if a Forest Reserve is a set aside such as one of Wilderness designation.


Additional info:

"The "legal effect" of reservation was later determined to be a withdrawal of the land from  the "public domain," rendering use a mere privilege in contravention of any claim to public common grazing right or established local "possessory rights."

Later challenges in 1911 questioned the Forest Service's right to impose grazing permits and fees on the use of range in the public domain on the basis of the "implied license" affirmed in Buford v. Houtz . The Court ruled in Light v. U.S. (220 U.S. 523, 55 L. Ed. 570. 32 Sup. Ct. Rep. 485) and U.S. v. Grimaud (220 U.S. 506, 31 S. Ct. 480, 55 L.Ed. 563) that the Forest Reserves had been withdrawn from the public domain and that the "implied license" of Buford v. Houtz had been "curtailed and qualified" by Congress, to the extent that the privilege of grazing should not be exercised in contravention of the rules and regulations of the permit system. (Grimaud was a transient shepherd, utilizing the land as open "grazing commons" in public domain. At the time of the Grimaud case there were extensive valid permits to graze in the Sierra Forest Reserve with which his use would have conflicted. Under Forest Service "Use Book" rules for granting grazing permits, transient herders, such as Grimaud, who could make no claim to local property ownership, were given Class C, or last priority is granting of permits.)

Before expiration of his term, President Benjamin Harrison had reserved almost 13.5 million acres of Western Land."


good stuff is a link to the book:

Well that book answers a main question I had when reading early possible statute authority concepts of the USFS.  Forest Reserves language of the early day became National Forest Lands.  So forest reserves would not be Wilderness set asides as was previlously contemplated in my readings.....per the book.  Thanks Larry for the link....helped clarify the issue.


here is a guidline for forset serfvice employees to follow when dealing with the public


The administration of forest reserves is not for the benefit of the Government, but of the people. The revenue derived from them goes, not into the general fund of the United States, but toward maintaining upon the reserves a force of men organized to serve the public interests. This force has three chief duties: To protect the reserves against fire, to assist the people in rather use, and to see that they are properly used.

Forest Officers, therefore, are servants of the people. They must obey instructions and enforce the regulations for the protection of the reserves without fear or favor, and must not allow personal or temporary interests to weigh against the permanent good of the reserves; but it is no less their duty to encourage and assist legitimate enterprises. They must answer all inquiries concerning reserve methods fully and cheerfully, and be as least as prompt and courteous in the conduct of reserve business as they would in private business.

They must make every effort to prevent the misunderstanding and violation of reserve regulations by giving information fully and freely. The object should be to prevent mistakes rather than to have to punish them. Information should be given tactfully, by advice, and not by offensive warnings.

Forest Officers will be required to be thoroughly familiar with every part of this book, and to instruct the public and assist in making applications for the use of the reserves.

(p. 13)

That is verbatum to the 1905 Book....Did you get that from the current book?
Me Gold Seeker

Here's link to the most current Forest Service Manual.

Links to other directives and handbooks, which includes the link above.

Definitions of term use in the above documents

As you peruse these documents most if not all will open in a Microsoft Word format which can be saved and or printed out.


no that is from the 1905 book..I hadnt looked at the newer version..I just thought it interesting wht pinchot had intended the forest service employees to be about......

I guess the protect the forest from fire went bye bye.  Interesting where we have come from and where we have gotten to.

Having argued many such timber issue cases before Congressional open hearings and Congressmen such as Peter DeFozio it is no wonder many of us are so frustrated.  It would be interesting to keep that 1905 Book circulating throughout the internet.  Maybe people would wake up and start to realize what a monster the USFS has become.


Because its a way to get the goal if we see most of the times these things has a lot to do with our daily life and because of that impact learning is appreciable. Forum Index -> Mining Law Tibits
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