February Spotlight – Monterey District, LPNF

The Double Cone Quarterly published some incredible articles about the history of the Monterey District of what is now known as the Los Padres National Forest. Tom Hopkins, current president of the VWA suggested this series for my history spotlight, and for that, I am extremely grateful. There are the five articles which will be spotlighted in this post. I will provide a “lead-in” and a visual for each one, and then a link where my readers can read the rest of the articles.

The first article is about the proclamation made by President Teddy Roosevelt.
“Now, therefore, I, Theodore Roosevelt, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the power in me vested by section twenty-four of the aforesaid act of Congress, do proclaim that there are hereby reserved from entry or settlement and set apart as a Public Reservation, for the use and benefit of the people, all the tracts of land, in the State of California, shown as the Monterey Forest Reserve on the diagram forming a part hereof;”

This is the map attached to that proclamation:

Here is the link to the entire article: Winter Solstice 2000

The second article displays some old maps commissioned by Jefferson Davis in the 1850’s with links to the originals in the Library of Congress. Here is one of them:

Here is the link to the article: Fall Equinox, 2001

Here is a more recent map from 1883:

and here is the link for more: Spring Equinox, 2000

The Summer Solstice issue of 2002 (link here)
provides some wonderful history and observations from the early 1900’s by residents about fires and campers.

According to E. A. Sterling (1904): “the largest fire in recent years started last year, 1903, in July, and burned for three months. It started from an unextinguished campfire in Township 18 south, range 4 west [in the Chews Ridge area], and burned a strip of about a township wide through to the coast, becoming wider towards its western end.”(10) On July 21st of that year Eleanor Chew reported that “a fire has been raging on the Carmel for some time past and the air is filled with smoke. The weather has been cool, otherwise it would have been very unpleasant.”(11) Two months later, on September 22nd, 1903, she reported that “the mountain fire which has given the people of this vicinity so much trouble for the past month has again broken out and nine or ten men have been fighting it for several days. The coast fire has also come over the divide and crossed the Carmel river and threatens Andrew Church’s place with destruction.”(12)

The last article from this series is in the fall equinox issue here

This article begins again with the proclamation by Teddy Roosevelt in 1906, and then traces the subsequent federal actions for the next 96 years through 2002, and the acquisitions and designations which occurred.

And that is our Big Sur History lesson for February. I really urge you to check out each article for links to the Library of Congress map and other historical documents, and to the last two lengthy articles. I hope you enjoyed them as much as I did.