At the turn of the 1900s the controversy about who had the right to use the federal reserve land and cattle men making accusations that it was sheep who were doing all the damage to the forest was mentioned weekly in the newspapers especially in Williams and Flagstaff where many of the livestock men grazed their animals in the summer and Phoenix, an area that was used by both sheep and cattle men for their winter grazing area. Unfortunately, the letter mentioned in the newspaper that the secretary of the National Live Stock Association wrote to Pinchot was not printed in the paper, or at least it has not been found at this time in my research. As more of the concerns about the use of the federal reserves is found in the early newspapers, I will include them here. I have included the exact article written in the Williams News, November 9, 1901.
“Pinchot made suggestions as to a plan to which all trouble regarding grazing on the reserves can be resolved for all livestock in the western territories to the secretary of the National Live Stock Association. The secretary of the association wrote a letter in September and Pinchot responded to that letter. He was concerned with the cooperation between those grazing on public lands and the government. He wanted to insure the best management and condition of the range be maintained. He outlined nine points.
1. Consultation between the forest reserve officers and those who graze will decide on the number of livestock to be grazed on each reserve and to establish boundaries between cattle range and sheep range.
2. Local associations will assign ranges to each livestock person, but this is subject to approval.
3. Those grazing on the reserves along with the local associations will be responsible for adherence to the terms of the permit and prevention of fire and over-grazing. (how is this processed – herders having camp fires, number of days on each section, number of sheep?)
4. Sheep owners will have exclusive rights to the grazing area assigned and this will also apply to the cattle owners.
5. These permits will run for five years.
6. State residents will have rights over those trespassing and out-of-state owners of sheep.
7. Any questions arising during process will be decided locally and on their own merits in each separate case.
8. These grazing permits are generally summer assignments and provisions will be made for transit routes.
9. The emphasis of the government policy will be on regulation rather than prohibition except for the interest of over-grazing from all populations. Pinchot thought that these suggestions needed no further comments as it was to be to the best interest of all parties. These regulations would accomplish several things – 1. No monopolies; 2. Allow for new men to take up the livestock interest and not be shut out of the reserves; and 3. Each man would want to keep his range in good condition since he had it for five years and could probably renewal it.
FYI – Pinchot was the first chief of the United States Forest Service from 1905 to 1910.