PUBLISHED: 6:17 PM on Wednesday, September 17, 2008
U.S. Forest Service discovers century-old journal
JUNEAU - The original journal and official letters of William Alexander Langille, the first U.S. Forest Service supervisor in Alaska, was recently loaned to the Forest History Society.

The century-old journal was recently found in the back of an old wooden file cabinet at a Forest Service office in Alaska. Upon recognizing the importance of the journal, staff brought it to the Regional Office for conservation.

Langille came to Alaska in 1903 at the request of Gifford Pinchot, first U.S. Forest Service Chief, and President Theodore Roosevelt. He began his forest supervisor duties in Ketchikan in 1905 and traveled extensively throughout Southeast and Southcentral Alaska. His mission was to examine the natural resources in Alaska and report on the administrative needs.

In addition to Langille's journal, the Forest History Society was also loaned three bound books containing copies of the letters that Langille wrote in his official capacity. These letters document his activities. He mapped the boundaries of the forest reserves, made timber sales, investigated timber trespass, examined mining claims, enforced game laws, and did cooperative work with the Biological Survey, the Fish Commission and the Geological Survey.

The Forest History Society is a nonprofit educational institution dedicated to fostering the study of the history of human interaction with the forested environment. Through programs in archival and library collecting, publication, education and service, the Society seeks to provide a historical context for issues relating to human use of natural resources.

The Society began caring for the Forest Service Headquarters History collection in 1998 when the Washington Office of Communications transferred it to FHS in Durham, N.C. Materials continue to be added.