Complete

Share

Favorite

Forest Service Information Center

Great American Rail-Trail

Nature & Environmental Management

Visit the animatronic Smokey Bear to learn, straight from the source, how YOU can prevent forest fires.

Photo by: Joe Maruca

The big draw to this little museum is an animatronic Smokey Bear who, when approached, reminds you that “Only you can prevent forest fires.” The Forest Service Information Center offers much more than this (admittedly fun) novelty. Visitors can view historical artifacts from the U.S. Forest Service’s 100-years-plus history. The federal government has overseen forests in some capacity since 1876, when Congress appointed a Special Agent to survey and report on the condition of American forests. [1] The Forest Service was founded in 1905 to oversee 21 million acres of wooded reserves that President Grover Cleveland initially set aside in 1897; they ended up under the lax supervision of the U.S. General Land Office. President Theodore Roosevelt created the Forest Service to protect the reserves from loggers, miners and homesteaders and charged head forester Gifford Pinchot with two tasks: kicking profiteers off the land and preventing forest fires. [2] The information center also features exhibits that explain the present-day work of the Forest Service to maintain and preserve the country’s natural resources for the benefit of the American people.

 

  • [1] “Our History,” U.S. Forest Service, accessed January 30, 2020, https://www.fs.usda.gov/learn/our-history; Gerald W. Williams, “The USDA Forest Service: The First Century,” USDA Forest Service Office of Communication, revised April 2005, 5.
  • [2] Timothy Egan, The Big Burn: Teddy Roosevelt and the Fire That Saved America (New York: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2009), 33–34, 50–52.
References

Discover History on the Trail

Japanese Stone Lantern

After the United States and Japan fought against each other in World War II, the two countries sought to rebuild and repair their diplomatic...

Trail: Great American Rail-Trail
State: DC
Asian American/Pacific Islander History Military & War
Elizabeth Arden Building

For 60 years, this six-story Georgian-revival building at 1147 Connecticut Ave. was the home of the Elizabeth Arden Red Door Salon—the place where...

Trail: Rock Creek Park Trails
State: DC
Architecture Commerce, Economy & Work Gender, Sexuality & Queerness Women's History
Chinatown Friendship Archway

Although the Chinatown Friendship Archway was built in 1986, a Chinese community has lived and owned businesses in this area of Northwest Washington,...

Trail: Great American Rail-Trail
State: DC
Architecture Asian American/Pacific Islander History Migration & Immigration
See All History

Discovering America: Reconnecting People and Places

The Great American Rail-Trail promises an all-new American experience. Through 12 states and the District of Columbia, the trail will directly serve nearly 50 million people within 50 miles of the route. Across the nation—and the world—only the limits of imagination will limit its use.

Learn More
traillink-logo

Help us to connect you with more trails!

TrailLink is a free service provided by Rails-to-Trails conservancy

(a non-profit) and we need your support!

Your donation will help us to continue connecting more people to trails around the country.
Become an RTC member and wear your FREE T-Shirt with pride. Help defend and expand trails nationwide.
Get a FREE Rail Trails Guidebook when you become a Member with Rails-to-Trails Conservancy.

Explore by City

Explore by City

Explore by Activity

Explore by Activity

Log in to your account to:

  • View trail paths on the map
  • Save trails to your account
  • Add trails, edit descriptions
  • Share photos
  • Add reviews

Log in with Google

Log in with Apple

OR

Register for free!

Join TrailLink (a non-profit) to view more than 40,000 miles of trail maps and more!

Register with Google

Register with Apple

OR