Rare Theodore Roosevelt proclamation expanding Oklahoma’s Wichita Forest Reserve

Theodore Roosevelt, WICHITA FOREST RESERVCE. OKLAHOMA. (SECOND PROCLAMATION.) Washington, D.C.: [Government Printing Office,] 1906.
Folio circular, 1pp plus tipped-in folding map.

An extremely rare circular printing a 1906 proclamation by President Roosevelt expanding the Wichita Forest Reserve in Oklahoma.

Originally established in 1901 on just over 57,000 acres in southwestern Oklahoma, in 1905 Roosevelt designated the Reserve as the nation’s first big-game preserve. It became Wichita National Forest in 1907, when all Forest Reserves were reclassified as National Forests. In 1936 it was transferred to the Bureau of Biological Survey and renamed the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge.

The circular includes the text of the proclamation, signed in type by Roosevelt and his Secretary of State, along with a tipped-in map of the affected area based on the work of the U.S. Geological Survey. Such circulars, sometimes (though not here) accompanied by a cover letter from the Secretary of State, were the State Department’s standard format for distributing presidential proclamations to elected leaders and the diplomatic corps. As such they appear to represent the first printings for distribution of these important presidential actions, preceding any appearance in registers compiling the actions of the Federal Government.

An ardent conservationist, Roosevelt left behind an extraordinary legacy of public lands protected under his authority, including 150 national forests encompassing some 150 million acres. In doing so acted under the authority of the Forest Service Organic Administration Act of June 4, 1897, which created the nation’s first legal framework for administering public lands as forest reserves. In 1905 he had transferred authority over these reserves from the Department of the Interior to the National Forest Service, a new agency within the Department of Agriculture.

Not in OCLC. For a brief history of the early years of the National Forest system, see Lands and Realty Management Staff, United States Department of Agriculture Forest Service, “Establishment and Modification of National Forest Boundaries and National Grasslands: A Chronological Record, 1891-2012, pp. ii-iv.


Small penciled annotation, integral blank absent.