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Leon Kneipp 1932 Address

Ogden, Utah

July 11, 1932

CONFIDENTIAL

FOREST OFFICER:

“Assistant Forester L.F. Kneipp is very much interested in making National Forest recreation resources play a more definite part in the economic and social welfare of tributary communities and of the nation at large. I know you will be interested in his discussion before the Regional Office personnel on July 5.

BRIEF OF MR. KNEIPP’S TALK TO REGIONAL OFFICE

‘Recreation in the National Forests is becoming something more than just a fad and plays a definite part in the economic and social welfare of thousands of small towns adjacent to National Forests. Recreation has a very important place in National Forest management and recreation areas should be managed in such a way as to in every way possible work toward the betterment of humanity. Recreation lands are a resource; parts of cities or whole communities find their whole livelihood dependent upon recreation. In Wisconsin, the summer tourist trade brings to the State over $100,000,000 each year.

‘Region 4 has many wonderfully beautiful areas fully comparable to those in any other part of the country. If the people who pass through this country each year, en route to the West Coast, could be induced to spend two or three days longer visiting those attractions, several million dollars would be contributed by them to the Intermountain Region.

‘Recreation today is not an idle dream. It is a cold-blooded business proposition on one hand and a definite social service on the other. With more leisure hours, which the public generally is experiencing, comes the opportunity for more travel and play. Today people are exchanging money for recreation the same as they would for railroad ties or wool. It is the duty of all Forest officers to make the National Forests contribute to the fullest degree, both economically and socially, to the recreation resource. It is not a side issue or a fad, but a very definite and rapidly growing means of community livelihood.

‘The fact that a good many Congressmen and influential people in the east believe that all scenic areas with outstanding features should come under the administration of the National Park Service, makes it necessary that the Forest Service show the public it is just as capable of administering those areas for the good of the public interest as is the Park Service. The same is true of Forest Service highways, which in the opinion of some should be under the jurisdiction of the Bureau of Public Roads or the Western Highway Commission. It must be shown on the ground that we are fully appreciative of what is expected of us. This has not been done. Eye-sores exist throughout the National Forests. We must realize that unless we change our past practices we are open to attack; we must realize what the requirements are and meet them as fully and as quickly as possible. When we see we are overlooking a chance for betterment or improvement, every effort should be made to make that improvement. We are judged by what the public sees on its trips through our National Forests. If our campgrounds are littered, garbage cans overturned, signs of all descriptions posted on roadside stores or service stations, resort premises untidy, a bad impression is given and the Service consequently suffers. One remedy for this is to be more exacting in our requirements in the beginning. Care should be taken in granting permits, to make sure the applicant is the right type of person to run a resort, service station, keep up a summer home, etc.

‘Of course, lack of funds is a great handicap, because all necessary and desirable improvements on recreation areas cannot be made without money. But even with this handicap, more could be done to do away with some of the unsightly conditions which now exist on the National Forests, not only in this Region but throughout the entire Forest Service. There is already a keen appreciation of this need, as evidenced by fact that the Bureau of the Budget approved increasing the $67,000 S. & F. P. appropriation to $90,000 for this fiscal year, although it was later cut back to last year’s figure by Congress.

‘All Forest officers could do more if they would so make up their minds. They must be willing to spend more time on campgrounds. This can no doubt be accomplished by a little rearrangement of other jobs of high priority and by a little initiative on the part of the Forest officers until such a time as funds become available.

‘The public has a great interest in this recreation resource and will support expenditures for it. The average man will not worry a great deal if you tell him his timber supply is being exhausted, but just tell him that his fishing streams are drying up or that the trees of his favorite campgrounds are being killed and he will soon take notice and lend his support to remedy the situation.

‘In order to get the best results in issuing permits, such as permits for summer home communities and for resorts, a thorough study should be made to make sure the sites selected are adapted to the particular kind of use for which they are selected. More time should be devoted to actually planning the occupancy under special use and to laying out campgrounds. Greater care should be given to the selection of campgrounds, and the applicants who are to manage hotels, resorts, etc., should be fully informed in order to get them to realize just what the right kind of supervision means, both to themselves and to the Forest Service.’

Mr. Kneipp has given us a viewpoint which I think each Forest Officer in Region 4 will want to acquire. We do not want to imitate the National Park Service, but we have an opportunity to develop a recreational policy of our own which will be unique and fit in admirably with the everyday social and economic life of the day.”

[signed] C. B. Morse, Acting Regional Forester

Source

Chester B. Morse, Acting Regional Forester, Ogden, Utah, to “Forest Officer,” July 11, 1932, in Thomas G. Alexander, “Region IV Forest Service Research Collection,” MSS 1609 Box 57 fd. 46, L. Tom Perry Special Collections, Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah.