Case No. 1

Forest Service &
Forest Products Industry

Evolution of Forest Management

U.S. Forest Service Badge
(National Museum of Forest Service History)

United States Forest Service

The Department of the Interior was responsible for management of the Forest Reserves until 1905 when Congress, supported by President Theodore Roosevelt, transferred the Forest Reserves to the Department of Agriculture’s new U.S. Forest Service. Gifford Pinchot, who had negotiated the Homestake Mining Case No. 1 timber sale, was appointed its first Chief and was responsible for managing the Forest Reserves. In 1907, the Reserves were renamed the National Forests.

When the Reserves were transferred to the Department of Agriculture, Pinchot received an important conservation document in the form of a letter (Source 108) from Secretary of Agriculture James Wilson, a letter that Pinchot had in fact written for his boss. It emphasized that the management of the forest reserves must be done with “business-like regulations, enforced with promptness, effectiveness, and common sense.” The last lines of the letter suggested that “Where conflicting interests must be reconciled, the question will always be decided from the standpoint of the greatest good of the greatest number in the long run” (Pinchot, Breaking New Ground, 1947).

Forest Management Since 1900

In 1901, the USDA Division of Forestry completed field work and prepared a management plan for the entire Black Hills Forest Reserve. (Source 109)

According to an annual report written by Gifford Pinchot in 1905, reforestation work was attempted in the Black Hills Forest Reserve by broadcasting yellow pine seed on 32 acres and using corn planters to plant another 8 acres of forest land. (Source 110)

The 1905 Use Book and later Forest Service manuals set out rules and regulations for activities on the National Forests and contained guidelines for the forest rangers to follow. Although the Organic Administration Act of 1897 specifically mentions only two natural resources – timber and water- the Forest Service always considered itself responsible for managing all natural resources on the National Forests and Grasslands. It was not until 1960, when the Multiple-Use Sustained Yield Act was passed, that the other natural resources were formally recognized in law.

Since the 1980s, the management of all the natural resources of the Black Hills National Forest has been guided by a Forest Plan, as required by the 1976 National Forest Management Act (Public Law 94-588). The current forest management plan approved in 1997 (amended in 2005) continues the original Forest Service conservation philosophy.

Beginning in 1899, with Case No. 1, many forest product companies, loggers, truckers, and other woods workers in the Black Hills have played an essential role in the conservation of the Black Hills National Forest and its natural resources.

Neiman Enterprises is one example of a family-owned business in the Black Hills that has contributed to the management of the Black Hills National Forest. In 1936, A.C. Neiman started the company with a small sawmill near Upton, WY. In 1958, his son, James S. Neiman, began building Neiman Sawmills, Inc in Hulett, WY and started cutting mine timbers for Homestake Mining Company. Through the years, other sawmills, including the Pope & Talbot Mill in Spearfish, SD that was originally owned by Homestake Mining Company, were bought and those mills were updated. In 2010, Neiman Enterprises was named as a Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI) organization. Jim D. Neiman, the grandson of A.C. Neiman, is the current President of Neiman Enterprises. The company is dedicated to providing quality products, conserving the Black Hills’ forests, and protecting our environment.

Dedicated and skilled forest products companies are crucial for long-lasting forests that provide timber, water, wildlife and other benefits in the Black Hills and throughout our nation. Certainly, the forest products industry has changed over time. Early loggers and mills focused largely on producing mine timbers, lumber for the construction of buildings, and cordwood to burn for heat and steam power. Today, Black Hills mills manufacture a wide variety of wood products, including lumber, paneling, posts and poles, landscape timbers, particleboard, and wood pellets.

Four generations of the Neiman family, (L-R), Marcus W. Neiman, James Neiman, James S. Neiman, William Neiman, Jim D. Neiman. (Photo credit Julia Petersen)

Chapters in this Exhibit


Case No. 1 was the name given to an 1899 timber sale on U.S. Government land in the Black Hills Forest Reserve in South Dakota.

Forest Reserves

In 1891, the U.S. Congress passed the Forest Reserve Act, which allowed the President to set aside parts of government lands across the western United States as Forest Reserves.

Homestake Mining Company

In 1897, Gifford Pinchot, the Chief of the Division of Forestry under the Department of Agriculture, convinced Homestake to apply to the Secretary of the Interior to purchase timber from the United States.

US Forest Service & Forest Products Industry

The Department of the Interior was responsible for management of the Forest Reserves until 1905 when Congress, supported by President Theodore Roosevelt, transferred the Forest Reserves to the Department of Agriculture’s new U.S. Forest Service.

Harvesting Technology & Science

Since 1900, the methods how trees are cut and the how foresters and other natural resource professionals apply science to manage the forest have changed drastically.


The total forested area of the US has been relatively stable since 1910, although the human population has more than tripled since then.

Funding for this exhibit is made possible by

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