Some Historical Trends in Timber Management
Virtually the whole western US was government land at one time, either through purchase or treaty. Then chunks of it were transferred out for various purposes to various individual or corporate entities until transfer was halted in the 1890s by an executive fiat. In the eastern states, the lands had been out of the public domain until the early part of the 20th century. All of the eastern national forests were purchased back from the private sector under various acts of Congress in the '20s and '30s. For the most part, they were tracts that timber companies owned and had logged entirely and they probably saw a way to make one final killing by selling it back to the federal government. In some cases, the federal government actually moved very aggressively on some of the areas that had been cut out, were washing out, blowing out, in the Appalachian region particularly and down through Texas.