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The Making of a New Western Hero: The Forest Ranger in Popular Fiction, 1900–1940

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Newcomers on the scene at the turn of the century, the first foresters in the American West sometimes faced a reluctant and even hostile public. But as the Old West waned, popular authors like Zane Grey chose the Forest Service ranger as a protagonist in their stories. More than simply another romantic and courageous hero, the steadfast forest ranger—as portrayed in numerous novels published during the early 20th century—popularized notions of conservation and scientific forestry among a national audience. The fictional ranger brought the “gospel of forest conservation” to countless readers, just as he converted most of his fictional antagonists to the very same principles.

Keywords: History; environmental management; forest; forest management; forest resources; forestry; forestry research; forestry science; natural resource management; natural resources

Document Type: Miscellaneous

Affiliations: Archaeologist–Historian PO Box 520 Medford, OR, 97501,

Publication date: 2000-11-01

More about this publication?
  • The Journal of Forestry is the most widely circulated scholarly forestry journal in the world. In print since 1902, the Journal has received several national awards for excellence. The mission of the Journal of Forestry is to advance the profession of forestry by keeping forest management professionals informed about significant developments and ideas in the many facets of forestry: economics, education and communication, entomology and pathology, fire, forest ecology, geospatial technologies, history, international forestry, measurements, policy, recreation, silviculture, social sciences, soils and hydrology, urban and community forestry, utilization and engineering, and wildlife management. The Journal is published bimonthly: January, March, May, July, September, and November.

    2015 Impact Factor: 1.476
    Ranking: 22 of 66 in forestry

    Also published by SAF:
    Forest Science
    Other SAF Publications
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