National Forest Vacations

National Forest Vacations guide book, 1950.

"Opportunities for outdoor recreation offered by the national forests cover the entire field of the country's forest sports and diversions. For extent, variety, and interest they are probably unequaled anywhere in the world. Furthermore, these opportunities are inexpensive, informal, and relatively undiscovered -- open to enjoyment by everyone."

With this, the Forest Service introduced its vacation pamphlet that touted the many features of the national forest system: free entry, campgrounds and picnic areas, winter sports, resorts and summer homes, wilderness areas, roads and trails, water sports, hunting and fishing, and much more. The Forest Service published versions of the National-Forest Vacations pamphlet for more than five decades, beginning at least as early as 1928.

Among other points, this guide to visitors highlighted the American Forestry Association's summer "trail riding" horseback trips through western wilderness areas -- priced to sell at $150-$250 all-expenses included for the 10-15 day outings. Hiking and horsepack trail mileage on the national forests outnumbered roads 140,000 to 137,000. The guide also noted that 4 1/2 billion board feet of timber were being harvested each year from the national forests, and warned visitors to take care not to start wildfires. Nearly 30 pages of the pamphlet are dedicated to a forest-by-forest guide that includes location, special features, recreation resources, and facilities and accommodations for forest visitors.

To read the full version of this vacation pamphlet, see:
National Forest Vacations, 1940.