Letter from Forest Service Chief Gifford Pinchot to Forest Supervisor Seth Bullock

This no-nonsense letter from Forest Service Chief Gifford Pinchot to Seth Bullock, Forest Supervisor, lays out procedures in light of the agency's transfer from the General Land Office (Department of the Interior) to the Department of Agriculture. The letter to which Pinchot refers is known as "The Wilson Letter," and it lays out principles of natural resource conservation which continue to guide the Forest Service today.

This page contains a transcription of the original document; the layout reflects the general style and organization of the original where possible.




February 1, 1905
Mr. Seth Bullock
Forest Supervisor
Deadwood, S. Dak.

Dear Sir:

You have been informed by the Commissioner of the General Land Office that upon this date the administration of the Federal forest reserves is transferred to the Department of Agriculture and that you will hereafter report to me.

I now enclose for your most careful attention a copy of a letter addressed to me by the Honorable, the Secretary of Agriculture. Your work will be henceforth carried on in the spirit of this general policy. In accordance with the Secretary’s order you will hereafter report directly to me in all matters formerly submitted to the Commissioner of the General Land Office, and you will, until further notice, continue to perform your duties in accordance with the rules and regulations now in force, except that those fiscal matters which by the laws, rules, and regulations governing forest reserves were formerly assigned to Receivers of Local Land Offices will hereafter be transacted by James B. Adams, Chief of Records, Forest Service, Washington, D.C., and all moneys on account of deposits and payments must hereafter be submitted directly to him in the form of certified checks on National Banks, or money orders.

In case you have not had an opportunity of communicating to me your views in regard to changes in the present rules and regulations which you deem advisable for the best interests of the reserves and for the public concerned with the use of their resources, you are instructed to submit at once such information, in order that a revision may be made at the earliest practicable date in accordance with the Secretary’s instructions and along the lines laid down by him

You will forward the Secretary’s letter to each forest officer under your supervision, as well as to newspapers and prominent citizens of your locality. Additional copies for this purpose have been sent you under separate cover. You will continue to use the stationery and forms now in your office until a new supply is sent you.

Very truly yours,
(signed) Gifford Pinchot