J W Humphrey History
Contributor: HSatchel Created: 1 year ago Updated: 1 year ago
MARR DATE 3 MAY 1963 SG
J.W. Humphrey's career with the Forest Service, before the advent of the graduate forester, was typical for his day. After thirteen years on ranger districts, he became supervisor of the Manti National Forest in 1919, a position he retained untill his retirement in 1941. Mr Humphrey's office was over the Ephraim Bank. It was a day in western history when an ability to adjust to loneliness and to pack a balky mule with a diamond-hitch was more important that a taxonomic knowledge of the flowering plants of the Wasatch Plateau. Here is Mr. Humphrey's account of how he became a forest ranger in 1906.
Sometime about the middle of July 1905, some friends of mine suggested that we go to Mount Pleasant and take the Forest Ranger examination which was scheduled for July 23 and 24. At that time I was living in Salina, and the nearest Forest Office where the necessary blanks could be secured for making application was Ephraim. I lost no time in securing the blanks and filing same with the Civil Service Commission.
The Manti Forest Office was located upstairs over the Christiansen Furniture store in Ephraim. We reached the office by climbing the stairs next to the ranger's office, and walking a plank south across the part of the store roof, as the office was in the south side of the building. About eight months later I received an appointment as Assistant Forest Ranger on the Manti Forest, with headquarters in Orangeville, Ranger District #2 . My appointment became effective the day of the San Francisco earthquake, April 18, 1906. A. W. Jensen was Forest Supervisor, and Parley Christiansen, David Williams, Frank Anderson, Beauregard Kenner, and Ernest Winkler were the rangers. Winkler and Arthur Jeffs were forest guard up untill 1906 when Winkler was made assistant ranger.
On April 18, 1906, I received a compass, a Jacob staff, a marking hatchet, a surveyor's link chain and pins, a small "Use Book" that I could put in my hip pocket, Gifford Pinchot's "PRIMER OF FORESTRY" in two volumes, numerous forms, most of which were for free use, and some stationary, including township plats and a map of the forest.
The following day I left for Orangeville with one saddle horse and one pack animal. Arriving at Orangeville I rented a pasture near the forest boundary. I had no tent so I used an open cabin on the pasture that I had rented, and which I later bought. In June I hired a man to move my wife and baby into Upper Joe's Valley where I had built a hog-proof enclosure which I covered with a larger Tarpaulin, and this served us the first year as a tent. The following year I received an authorization of $65 with which to build a cabin and buy a stove. I hauled some homemade slab chairs and a rough lumber table form one of the old abandoned sawmill sets. This sufficed for another year or so when funds became available for a better stove and additional furniture.
In 1907 I was giving the responsibilty of a ranger nursery, 36 by 36 feet, enclosed with lath fencing, and shaded also with the same material. I hauled the fencing, built the nursery, and planted it to Ponderose pine from seed secured from the Bessey Nursery at Halsey Nebraska. I did all this alone as there were no neighbors within 25 miles, no telephone, and the road was difficult to get over with a light buckboard. It did not take me long to find out what rodents and birds could do to a beautiful little nursery. I improvised a sprinkling system for the nursery by setting up a barrel to which I attached a hose. I did this only after I found that friend-wife could not carry the necessary water from the creek to water the nursery with a sprinkling can when I was away for a few days at a time. I was furnished a shotgun to shoot the birds, and poison to kill the rodents; and we succeeded in getting about 200,000 nice little seedlings in that nursery.
The Manti Forest was three years old at the time of my appointment.
At the time I entered the Forest service I had no acquaintance with the Manti forest other than a small part of 12-mile Canyon where I went a sawmill with my Father. This was in 1889, and I had the pleasure of helping Will Gribble drive oxen skiddings logs. Gribble was only nine years old and skidded logs regularly for his later during the summer season. I mention this [because] then I had never seen so many chokecherry shrubs and trees as were found there, nor so many very large delphinium plants in large patches. In 1915, visiting the same area with Homer Finn, Assistant Regional Forester in Range Managment, and a number of forest supervisors, I recall the cherry bushes were showing heavy effects of too much cattle grazing.
After becoming to the Manti as the forest supervisor I soon learned the reason for the injury to the chokecherry. Sometime between 1907 and 1910, Sam Pierce was hired to trap bear that were very numerous in Twelve-mile and adjoining canyons. As I recall, between 50 and 100 bear were taken out by Mr. Pierce. Prior to that time the bear had kept the cattle out of the high country so that the upper range and the chokecherry had been left very lightly grazed. I also learned that in 1914, on the recommendation of Homer Fenn, the cattle numbers were increased in the canyon; and slowly but surely the range began to show the effect of too heavy of use. The deer also increased so that the reductions in date of entry to the forest, the other reductions in numbers of stock (both cattle and sheep). increase in the area by donation of lands by the cattle owners, and exchanges from cattle to sheep at two to one ratio still left the allotment too heavily used.
I found in the history of grazing in Manti Canyon that after the sheep had been excluded from the range 1,329 cattle were permitted in 1904, and 1,550 cattle and horses were authorized to graze in Manti Canyon in 1906. A fence was constructed across the canyon below the forks, and a herder was employed to look after the stock and see that numbers did not exceed the allotment. Wallace Riddle was the herder. Later he became a Forest Supervisor of the Powell Forest. In 1907 the allotment was reduced to 867 cattle and horses, and in 1909 to 509 cattle and horses. Perhaps this reduction was due to the fact that the owners did not fill the allotment to that unit. In 1913 there were only 456 cattle and horses permitted --- just why, I could not learn. In 1919 it was increased to 922, and Ephraim permittees were allowed to drift 350 into the head of Manti Canyon.
It is significant that no damaging floods have occurred in that canyon since it was placed under Forest Service managment in 1904.
Individual allotments worked out fine to start with. Flock owners had outside range on which they could hold their sheep later or to which they could return before the end of the season it the feed became short on their allotment. This private range went into other hands through homestead, scrip purchase, or other plans. This left the permittees out on a limb. They immediately demanded more range to care for their stock for the full grazing season. They said they had paid the same fee as others who now had range to carry their stock, This situation necessitated shifting numbers between allotments, or in overgrazing those particular allotments. In 1913 an addition to the forest was made in Bil's Canyon [Axtell area]. This area had been used as lambing range and also for summering dry sheep for the full summer season. Some of them were also given lambing preferences for all or part of their stock. As a result 2,800 were shoved over on the summer range where I had made the individual allotments in 1907; and you know what the result would be. When I came to the Manti as supervisior, I was told by permittees that these permits for 2,800 sheep were not as good as the permits that were secured under original prior use. I took the matter up with the Regional Office [in Ogden] and tried to get permission to straighten the situation up by applying reductions to the permittees. . . to the actual carrying capacity of the Bill's Canyon addition. Because of the lapse of six years since the action was taken I was not allowed to make fair and equitable adjustments which, had it been done, would have given full relief on about 10 sheep allotments.
On East Mountain and other areas coal lands went to patent* and other owners of the lands, of course, wanted the grazing rights to the surface areas. About half of the Gentry Mountain, about 1,200 acres in Ferron Canyon, 400 acres on the Horn Mountain, and some lands in Quitchupah went into private ownership. These changes kept the local officers ----and many of the Regional Office--- guessing what to do next. Then came the increase of deer and elk on the forest ranges. Except for winter range there was not too much complaint about deer. One stockman said that he did not give a damn for the deer, as a hard winter would come on and kill most of them off, but the $()*&()$%elk would live and kill the range and starve the cattle and their owners .
* a "patent" in this sense is the original doctrine issued by the U. S. Government by
which ownership by a private party is acknowledged as a prior fact on Federal lands.
The mixture of private or state lands among federal reserve lands is the cause of many
management problem, inadverent or not.
There were few roads on the forest in 1906. There was a road to every sawmill on the forest. There had been roads to all the mill sets but falling trees had closed them or the runoff down the old roads had gullied them so badly that many of them could scarcely be used as horse trails.
From THE OTHER 49ers SANPETE COUNTY UTAH 1849-1983
IN THE HISTORY OF GARFIELD COUNTY
"GOLDEN NUGGETS OF PIONEER DAYS"
pgs 292 -294
"The coming of the automobile and the system of good roads was the necessity for the advertisement of the beauty spots in scenic Southern Utah.
Many men contributed to the development and growth of Bryce Canyon, they are by far too numerous to mention. There are a few individuals however, that have played such important parts that their deeds and works cannot be forgotten.
To Supervisor of the Forest W.J. Humphrey goes first honor in seeing the possibilities of Bryce Canyon as a scenic attraction.
In the year 1915 he was transferred to Panguitch from Moab, Utah. He was enticed to view the canyon by Elias Smith, (ranger of the East Fork Division). He loath to take the time right then but the ranger insisted. They viewed the canyon from the brink a short distance south of where the Union Pacific Lodge now stands. Of this he says, "We came upon what I have always considered the most beautiful piece of natural scenery on the face of the earth. Needless to say, I found it difficult to drag myself away from the beauty of the scene, immediately upon my return to Panguitch, I began to make it possible to reach the canyon by automobile. First, I had to interest the Forest Service Officials, however, I never had any trouble convincing them, once they had seen the area. The late Ernest Winkler, on being showed the canyon cried, "Humphrey, we can"t let such a beauty spot go by such a common name as "Bryce Canyon", so we attempted to change the name to "The Temples of the Gods", this name did not stick long."
Other men from the Regional Forest office visited Bryce Canyon and the following year M. Humphrey received $50.00 with which to build a road to the area. "It was necessary to build two bridges, one across the East Fork of the Sevier River, another across the Tropic Canal and clear the timber up through "Dave's Hollow". The road was poor when dry, but when it stormed it was nearly impossible to get to the canyon with cars, in fact many visitors had to leave their cars and walk part way. The view at the brink was startling as the road ended abruptly, just as it left the pines." (Many of us remember when the car belonging to Alma Barney came near to going over the brink.)
Under Mr. Humphrey the road was changed to near its present location, a dugway was constructed and the road made barely passable for cars. This cost the Forest Service about $150.00.
These two road items with perhaps as much for some foot trails was about all the Forest Service had contributed while he was supervisor in Panguitch save for the advertisement of this scenic area.
"In 1916, the Forest Service had some pictures taken of Bryce Canyon in color which were showed all over the country from New York to California.
Arthur W. Stevens, a forest service worker wrote an article in "Outdoor Life" illustrated with some of his pictures.
Mr. Humphrey dictated an article and furnished pictures in "Rio Grande Red Book". As J.J. Drew was clerk his name appeared as its writer.
He had no trouble in listing volunteer aid in Garfield County of men who with their teams and wagons and picks and shovels, cleared the brush, leveled the road and filled the hollows making a road to Bryce Canyon.
He made an earnest endeavor and a special effort to interest the Denver and Rio Grande Railroad to develop Bryce and other near by attractions which he considered had the natural "set-up". He never dreamed the the Union Pacific would be interested.
It has been some thirty odd years since he first dreamed of making Bryce Canyon known to the world. He has lived to see all his dreams fulfilled. In the year 1948 there were 175,248 people who visited Bryce Canyon. Of this he says,"I shall always feel that the part I played in introducing Bryce Canyon to the world is the greatest accomplishment of my life."
Never did he fail in getting the wholehearted cooperation of the people of this county. Many of our altruistic citizens joined in conveying people from many States free of charge from our towns, to the canyon."