Centennial 1910 - 2010

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"100 Years Of Discovering Forest Treasures"

It’s time to celebrate, reflect, and look ahead. Take advantage of the centennial’s theme “100 Years of Discovering Forest Treasures” and use it to discover, explore, and enjoy your Eldorado National Forest.

The Eldorado came into being on July 28, 1910 when legislation carved it out of the Stanislaus and Tahoe National Forests. Let’s celebrate on more than just one day. Let’s take the entire year, right up to December 31, to discover the many ways the Eldorado sustains life, including yours!

The story of today’s national forest is written on its landscapes and in the hearts and spirits of people. Its legacy is found in the stability of its soil, the clarity of its water, the health of its trees, the condition of its watersheds, the vigor of its wildlife, and the wellbeing of people who benefit from the forest. How we treat the Forest today creates the forest for the future.

People’s stories about the forest are dramatic and varied; they’re filled with love, romance, adventure, daring, courage, uncertainty, dedication, research, conflict, debate, hope, fears, and making things happen. You’ll find stories of Native Americans, fires, Civilian Conservation Corps Camps, fire lookouts, road trips, vacations, water projects, power projects, ranchers, massive tree plantings, campgrounds, logging, mining, job corps, fishing trips, ski areas, Lake Tahoe, and much, much more.

And, talk about treasures. What are the treasures you get from the national forest? Time with your family and friends? Clean water you drink at home? The wilderness adventure you enjoyed? The wildlife you discovered? The fish you caught? The lumber in your house? The air you breathe? The views that refresh you? What’s your Eldorado National Forest treasure? Like a Greek riddle, the national forest asks us: How can the forest keep its treasures and give them away at the same time?

It challenges us to learn the way of conservation. Aldo Leopold, a famous Forest Service wildlife biologist, stated our challenge this way: “Conservation is finding harmony between the land and people.” Leopold challenged all of us to have a land ethic. The men and women of the U.S. Forest Service are proud of the more than 100 years they have served the American people and cared for Eldorado National Forest lands.


centennial logoAbout the Centennial Logo...

GOLD - The gold lettering reminds us of the special Forest heritage associated with the golden treasures found in and near the National Forest. The name Eldorado is Spanish for the golden one and later became the name of a legendary "Lost City of Gold" that has fascinated - and so far eluded - explorers since the days of the Spanish Conquistadors.

For those who know Spanish, it’s obvious that the name of the Forest is not the common spelling for El Dorado. The historical reason for this unusual spelling is not clear in the records. Some say it was a typo, other’s say it has Chilean roots that came with the early gold miners. Regardless of how it should be spelled, it has been spelled that way for 100 years, long enough to be part of the national forest’s distinct heritage.

On July 28, 1910, the Eldorado was created out of the existing Tahoe and Stanislaus National Forests. The new headquarters was located in Placerville where the county government was situated. Illegal sheep grazing was one of the Forest Service’s primary concerns at the time.

MOUNTAINS - Lover’s Leap, a rock formation familiar to millions of Highway 50 travelers on their way to Lake Tahoe, is featured in the logo. How this tall granite face got its name is speculation. Some say it was named after Indian lovers who leapt to their death. But, who really knows? If the legend is true, the lovers were most likely Miwok, Maidu, or Washoe Indians who lived in or passed through this area.

Pyramid Creek runs through the Lover’s Leap area. The creek is part of the headwaters of the South Fork of the American River, a river that continues to provide water, electrical power, and recreational opportunities to people. Much farther down river in Coloma gold was discovered in 1848 setting in motion the gold rush.

Crossing the Sierra Nevada from east to west and vice-versa was always a big ordeal; weather, steep slopes, and even equipment, like wagons, presented obstacles. The Eldorado National Forest hosts two major east west travel routes, Highway 50 and Highway 88. Pony Express riders passed by Lover’s Leap on their way to the gold fields and Placerville. Horse and mule drawn wagons made their way down the Johnson Cutoff, over "Slippery Ford,” and down along the South Fork of the American River. Later automobiles traveled on the Lincoln Highway, now known as Highway 50.

Lake Tahoe has drawn people up the South Fork of the American River for centuries. In fact, back in 1910, Eldorado National Forest lands extended to the shores of South Lake Tahoe. However, due to concerns about multiple units being able to protect Lake Tahoe’s remarkably clear water, the lands around Lake Tahoe have been managed since 1972 as a single unit, the Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit.

CABIN and FLAG - The cabin and flag signifies the Forest Service role in implementing laws to manage and conserve national forest lands. The cabin resembles a small guard station, known as the Pyramid Guard Station, which was situated not too far from the Lover’s Leap area. The guard station was built in 1910 and was an important Forest Service “office” in this area of the Forest.

TREES - The trees represent the Forests contained throughout the Eldorado. The peregrine falcon nest at Lover’s Leap represents the variety of habitat found throughout the forest. The sheer face of Lover’s Leap represents the wealth of year round recreational opportunities that are offered by the Forest.

Enjoy your National Forest!