Arapaho and Roosevelt National Forests and Pawnee National Grassland History


The Arapaho National Forest was established by Theodore Roosevelt on July 1, 1908. It was named after the Native American tribe that occupied the region for summer hunting.

The Roosevelt National Forest, originally part of the Medicine Bow Forest Reserve, was first named the Colorado National Forest in 1910 and was renamed by President Herbert Hoover to honor President Theodore Roosevelt in 1932.

The Pawnee National Grassland was transferred to the Forest Service from the Soil Conservation Service in 1954. The Soil Conservation Service acquired this prairie during the dust bowl days of the 1930s and was charged with its rehabilitation. It was designated a national grassland in 1960.

About the Heritage Program

The mission of our Forest’s Heritage Program is multifaceted; providing a benefit not only to our natural resource managers but to the public. Their mission is to:

  • Protect significant heritage resources.
  • Share the values of our heritage resources with the American people.
  • Interpret information gathered to provide perspective to our Forest’s natural resource managers.
  • Ensure that future generations will have an opportunity to discover the human story of our National Forests and National Grasslands.
  • Make the past come alive as a vibrant part of our recreational experiences on the Forest.
  • Connect people to the land in a way that will help us better understand and manage our Forest’s ecosystems

Discover more about the history of the Arapaho and Roosevelt National Forest and learn how you can become involved with the Forest's Heritage program