A taste of sowbelly and saleratus biscuit: Gifford Pinchot's Arkansas adventure
Gifford Pinchot has long been considered the "father" of American forestry. In 1898, Pinchot became chief of the Division of Forestry (a predecessor to the modern-day Forest Service) and helped build the fledgling agency into the leading federal mechanism for forest conservation. In one capacity or another, Pinchot's support and guidance helped Presidents Grover Cleveland, William McKinley, and Theodore Roosevelt (a close fiend) establish and expand what would become the National Forest system, including the Arkansas (now Ouachita) and Ozark National Forests, created in 1907 and 1908, respectively. Pinchot's many protege staffed a growing number of forestry programs, and he sent friends and contemporaries like Samuel J. Record and Frederick E. "Fritz" Olmsted to help implement scientific forestry on public and private lands. Bankrolled by the Pinchot family, the Yale Forestry School emerged as the premier forestry institute in the United States at the beginning of the twentieth century.' Early Yale faculty members like Herman Haupt Chapman and R. C. Bryant helped to prod portions of the timber industry towards sustainability and, hence, permanence. But in 1891, Pinchot was just a wide-eyed novice exploring many of the forests of his native land for the first time, and his journeys would bring him to Arkansas.