Rare Theodore Roosevelt proclamations creating National Forests in Nevada

Theodore Roosevelt, RUBY MOUNTAINS FOREST RESERVE. NEVADA. [with:] VEGAS NATIONAL FOREST NEVADA. Washington, D.C.: [Government Printing Office,] 1906, 1907.
Two folio circulars, 1p and 2pp respectively, each with a blank integral leaf and tipped-in folding map.

Two extremely rare circulars printing proclamations by President Roosevelt establishing National Forests in Nevada. Ruby Mountains Forest Reserve (1906) encompassed more than 420,000 acres in northeastern Nevada, and Vegas National Forest (1907) some 185,000 acres in Lincoln County. Both have long since been absorbed into Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest.

Each 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.

In this circular format these proclamations are extremely rare. OCLC records a single example of the Vegas proclamation (University of Chicago) and none of the Ruby Mountains proclamation.

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.


Both with small penciled annotation, one with a long separation along the fold.