The Sacramento District Review – April 2012

In this Month’s Issue:
A Look Back at USDA Forest Service Uniforms
Who to Ask for Answers about Wildlife Issues
Dry Forest Conditions
Evening Lecture Series
The Ranger’s Report
The Sacramento District Review is a monthly newsletter prepared by the Sacramento Ranger District of the Lincoln National Forest.


A Look Back at USDA Forest Service Uniforms

-Cheryl McWilliams

USDA Forest Service shield (left) & uniform buttons

USDA Forest Service uniforms have a long and honorable history of being both practical and unmistakable. Throughout the history of the USDA Forest Service, there have been many changes in the uniform.

Only one part of it has remained constant (except for variations in size) since its creation, and that is the badge. A century ago, the bronze badge with the shield, was popularly called the pine tree badge or shield.

The history of the uniform itself is far more complicated. No design has ever had unanimous support. From the start, the official uniform has alternated between a quasi-military and a civilian appearance.

Jim H. Sizer, Tonto National Forest Deputy Forest Supervisor in 1910 wears attire common for daily work

The history of these uniforms goes back further than the Forest Service itself. The need for some type of law enforcement in the national forests was first realized as far back as 1876, but it wasn’t until 1905 that the Forest Service took form as a part of the Department of Agriculture.

The first official uniform, adopted in late 1906, was for voluntary wear. This was the gray uniform with riding breeches, boots, and a double-breasted overcoat. If bought at all, it was carefully put away for official occasions. A stiff-brimmed army campaign hat was regulation.

The ranger’s daily work outfit was a hat, blue shirt, denim jacket, and pants -“Levi Strausses” as they were called in contrast to the “choke bores” that the ranchers labeled the tailored riding breeches favored by easterners and British. Only slowly did rangers begin to wear Forest Service uniforms on regular duty.

The second uniform, adopted in 1909, offered two styles in olive green, military and business. In the early years, field officers were only requested to wear the uniform, although some districts tried to require it.

The Washington Office began to require certain employees to wear the uniform in certain circumstances in the early 1920’s. After WWI there was preference for a change in the official uniform to one based on a British military-style Norfolk jacket. All permanent employees were required to wear the uniform on appropriate occasions.

Employees had to pay for uniforms out of their own salaries. Although a uniform allowance was discussed for many years, it was not adopted until 1955.

Jesse T. Fears, District Ranger, Greer Ranger District, Apache National Forest, Arizona, Circa. 1920’s

In the mid-1930’s the uniform featured a bronze-heather green jacket in the civilian sack coat style. The reason given for the abrupt shift was that the Norfolk was too military in appearance.

In 1935 the color was changed from “forestry green” to “bronze-heather green”. The style was changed to a businesslike loose-cut sack coat. The prescribed western hat had to be worn with a long center crease and the peak-top “Smokey Bear” style was firmly outlawed.

A number of clothing items went in and out of style with the years. Breeches, of course, declined along with the use of horses, especially after World War II.

The first official uniform for women was adopted in 1964. The basic parts were a short-sleeved shirt and skirt or there was also a short jacket with unit and agency patches, nameplate and badge. An overcoat and round brimmed hat completed the uniform. Slacks were not yet permitted.

The current uniform consists of a dark forest-green blazer with cloth shield patch on left breast and metal nameplate on right breast, sage-green trousers or slacks and greenish-tan shirt with myrtle-green tie.
Forest Service employees are authorized to wear the Forest Service uniform when they have significant, frequent, or recurring contact with the public, or when it is important to establish their identification as agency representatives.

Today, the uniform is a symbol of the USDA Forest Service and is still worn with honor and tradition.

For I remember it is Easter morn,
And life and love and peace are all new born.

-Alice Freeman Palmer

March Madness

I love spring anywhere, but if I could choose I would always greet it in a garden.

-Ruth Stout


Who to Ask for Answers about Wildlife Issues

-Lois Cadwallader

Black bear digging through a wood pile

Have you ever wondered who to ask or where to go to get answers to your wildlife questions? Sometimes it can get confusing trying to find the answers you need. Hopefully the following information will provide a starting point.

The USDA Forest Service, a federal agency, addresses issues and information regarding local species listed as sensitive, threatened, or endangered. This involves finding a balance between regulations concerning these species and meeting the multiple use goals of the Forest Service which include: logging, thinning, recreational uses, special use permits, and livestock grazing among others. Monitoring species’ numbers and distributions as well as habitat improvement – thinning, leaving snags as potential nest sites, and wetlands projects are also a major focus.

Hunting regulation catalogs are available for the public at the district office. However, hunting/fishing licenses and habitat stamps are not available for sale at Forest Service offices.

NM Game and Fish, a state agency, can answer questions regarding hunting regulations, game species, and wildlife issues such as bear problems. They monitor and manage the numbers of game species. They can also answer questions involving chronic wasting disease.

Merriam’s turkey in the snow

As a side note, The NM Game and Fish regulates ATV registration and use permits. More information regarding ATV’s is available at

US Fish and Wildlife, a federal agency, provides management oversight and guidance to other federal agencies by monitoring habitat or actions that affect species.

USDA APHIS (Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service), a federal agency, tests animals (such as feral hogs) for infectious diseases. Government trappers assist ranchers in dealing with predator issues.

Give us a call at the district and we’ll do our best to answer your questions or direct you to where you can find the answer.


Dry Forest Conditions

The Sacramento Ranger District would like to remind visitors and area residents that dry conditions exist in the forest due to the lack of moisture this winter.
All district fire crews and engines have started work and are preparing for the upcoming fire season. Be extremely careful with campfires, trash fires, and other potential ignition sources.
Please visit the Southwest Coordination Center, which provides fire information, logistics and predictive services at:


Evening Lecture Series

Our Lecture Series started off with a great crowd on March 8th. The fire crews made adjustments due to the snow and did a great job explaining wildland firefighting, the tools they use, and prospects for the 2012 fire season. Young and old also enjoyed a visit from Smokey Bear. Thank you to everyone that braved the cold weather to join us.

Our April Lecture Series topic has been switched from “Wildlife of the Sacramento Mountains” to “How Does Drought Affect Trees?” The Sacramento Ranger District will provide information on this current topic to our area residents and visitors. To get a better understanding of the effects of drought on trees join us at 6 p.m. at the district office, #4 Lost Lodge Road in Cloudcroft on April 12th.

Upcoming Lecture Series dates:

May 10 – Wildlife of the Sacramento Mountains

June 14 – NM Game and Fish

For additional information please call 575-682-2551.


The Ranger’s Report

– James Duran

James Duran, District Ranger

Spring has arrived and New Mexico has not failed to provide us with another typical windy season. This past winter produced temperatures that registered below average which will assist in delaying a fire season, but it is still critical that everyone be careful with fire especially when wind is forecasted. The spring is also a special time of year for many Americans who enjoy hunting on the National Forest.

The New Mexico Game and Fish Dept. holds an annual permit drawing, and hunters have already analyzed, selected and submitted their applications to hunt within their favorite game management unit. Hunters apply to hunt for a specific game species during a distinct hunt period within a particular unit.

Game management unit 34 includes the Sacramento Ranger District, and within this unit a unique variety of game species exist. In fact, the district offers habitat for seven of the eleven species found in the 2012 proclamation. These species include elk, deer, turkey, javelina, bear, cougar, Barbary sheep, and several fur bearer species.

In New Mexico, hunters will not find many other such areas that offer similar varieties in habitats and hunting opportunities. Hunting on National Forests is a recreational use that brings a high volume of visitors to the local communities where they fill hotels, dine out, and purchase supplies and equipment.

Several hunters who traveled who to the area last year were frustrated with the amount of prescribed fire that was being implemented during their hunt. Prescribed fires are scheduled annually but the actual timing of these burns is based on factors including fuel moisture, ventilation, wind speed and wind direction.

This window of opportunity to safely implement a prescribed fire that meets the resource needs is often times limited due to weather. But, when prescribed fire treatments are implemented, wildlife habitats are maintained and in many ways greatly enhanced.

Write a letter to the Ranger

If you’ve ever wondered about timber harvests, endangered species, off-road vehicle use, or other natural resource management topics, this is your opportunity to get your answer.
Individuals aspiring to acquire knowledge about the US Forest Service are encouraged to escape the fast pace world of technology and write a good old fashion letter to the Ranger.
If you would like to write a letter to James Duran, Sacramento District Ranger please mail it to: P.O. Box 288, Cloudcroft, NM 88317.

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