A Brief Timeline

1944-Forest Service Chief Lyle F. Watts, Asst. Chief C.M. Granger & Alaska CCC head, Charles Burdick

1944–Forest Service Chief Lyle F. Watts, Asst. Chief C.M. Granger & CCC head in Alaska, Charles Burdick

The story of Alaska’s great national forests cannot be separated from the compelling story of its people and their history. The following summarized timeline attempts to place the modern history of Alaska’s national forests in the context of the State’s epic history.

This timeline is predated by over 10,000 years of settlement by Alaska Natives before the first Europeans arrived.

1741 - First European contact with Alaska with Bering/Chirikov expedition.

1776 - Captain James Cook of England journeys into Turnagain Arm and Prince William Sound.

1784 - First permanent Russian settlement is established on Kodiak Island.

1799 - Aleksandr Andreyevich Baranov establishes Russian trading post known today as Old Sitka.

1805 - First cargo of Russian furs from Russian-America is delivered to China.

1867 - Secretary of State, William H. Seward, negotiates purchase of Russian America for $7.2 million, less than two cents per acre.

1880 - Joe Juneau and Richard Harris discover gold on Gastineau Channel. Juneau is established.

1887 - Congress creates the Indian Reservation on Annette Island.

1892 - President Benjamin Harrison establishes Afognak Forest and Fish Culture Reserve, a precursor to the Chugach National Forest.

1896 - Klondike Gold Rush begins.

1902 - President Theodore Roosevelt establishes Alexander Archipelago Forest Reserve–a precursor to the Tongass National Forest.

1907 - Tongass and Chugach National Forests established by proclamation.

1910 - First Forest Service Chief Gifford Pinchot fired by President Taft over successfully protecting Chugach land in mining dispute.

1913 - First Alaska Territorial Legislature convenes.

1924 - Congress extends citizenship to all American Indians and Alaska Natives.

1933 - Civilian Conservation Corps began to build campgrounds, roads and trails in the forests, and restore Native totem poles of Southeast Alaska.

1942 - Japan bombs Dutch Harbor; invades Aleutian Islands.

1942 - Alaska Spruce Log Program established on Tongass to provide airplane lumber for military use.

1948 - Alaska Highway opens to civilian traffic.

1951 - The first of two 50-year timber contracts begin with a pulp mill in Ketchikan.

1957 - Atlantic Richfield discovers oil on Kenai Peninsula, ushering in Alaska’s modern oil era.

1959 - Alaska is admitted to the Union as the 49th state.

1964 - Wilderness Preservation Act passed to protect wilderness resources. An earthquake rocks Southcentral Alaska.

1969 - National Environmental Policy Act passed to protect the environment

1971 - Congress passes Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (ANCSA).

1974 - Act passed requiring forests to submit plans that provide for multiple use and sustained yields of products and services.

1980 - Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act (ANILCA) passed to bring a balance to competing demands on Alaska’s natural resources.

2002 - Tongass National Forest Centennial

2007 - Chugach National Forest Centennial

Forest Service archaeologists and Passport in Time volunteers excavate a site on Etolin Island

Forest Service archaeologists and Passport in Time volunteers excavate a site on Etolin Island, Wrangell Ranger District, Tongass National Forest