Administrative History
NPS Logo

Chapter 1:


Indian River protection

Indian River protection was increased in 1910. President William Howard Taft used the authority of the Antiquities Act of 1906 to declare the area on Indian River to be Sitka National Monument. The monument came into being as a result of efforts by William Alexander Langille, supervisor of Tongass National Forest. The forest had come into being on July 1, 1908, when the Alexander Archipelago Forest Reserve that dated from 1902 and Tongass National Forest that dated from 1907 were joined. The combined forest area encompassed most of Southeast Alaska. Langille had first come to Alaska in 1897 as a part of the Klondike gold rush. Guiding experience in the Oregon mountains had brought him into contact with leaders in the national forestry movement.

Gifford Pinchot, head of forestry for President Theodore Roosevelt, called Langille from Alaska to Washington in 1902 and thereafter appointed him as a forestry expert. In 1905, Langille became supervisor of the Alexander Archipelago Forest Reserve and subsequently head of the larger Tongass National Forest. He had, according to a historian of the U.S. Forest Service activity in Alaska, "as many duties as Pooh-Bah of Gilbert and Sullivan's Mikado." [20]20

Indian River bridge
Indian River bridge, probably in 1904.
(Photo courtesy of Anchorage Museum of History and Art, #B63.19.3)

In 1908, Sitka Post No. 6 of the Arctic Brotherhood desired better protection for the area known as Indian River Park. It was natural that they should turn to Langille for advice. Langille recommended that the brotherhood petition the President of the United States to declare the area a national monument. He offered to prepare a sketch map of the area and to see that the petition and map went to the President. [21] After review by District of Alaska Governor Walter A. Clark and United States Chief Forester Gifford Pinchot, Secretary of Agriculture James S. Wilson submitted the petition with map and photographs to the Secretary of the Interior. On March 23, 1910, a presidential proclamation created Sitka National Monument. [22]

<<< Previous <<< Contents>>> Next >>>

Last Updated: 04-Nov-2000