Celebrating Presidents Day: U.S. Presidents and the Forest Service

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Since its founding and the support from President Theodore Roosevelt, the USDA Forest Service has maintained a relationship with the office of the highest elected official in the country.

In celebration of Presidents Day, we want to share some of that rich history by highlighting photos of former U.S. presidents and their involvement with the agency.


Black and white photo fo two men standing on a boat
This 1907 photo shows close friends President Theodore Roosevelt and Gifford Pinchot, 1st Chief of the U.S. Forest Service, conversing. USDA Forest Service photo.
Black and white photo: Group photo with President Teddy Roosevelt
Theodore Roosevelt, Gifford Pinchot, John Muir and others in a sequoia grove, Yosemite National Park, California. Photo courtesy of Forest Service Collection, National Agricultural Library.
FDR and Gifford Pinchot sitting on a bench
President Franklin D. Roosevelt and Gifford Pinchot, 1st Chief of the U.S. Forest Service, at the 1931 Governors’ Conference in French Lick, Indiana. USDA Forest Service photo.
FDR giving a speech
President Franklin D. Roosevelt at a festival on Monongahela National Forest, West Virginia, 1936. USDA Forest Service photo by E. S. Shipp.
President Roosevelt approving a poster
Public Relations, Cartoons & Posters, Washington, D.C. Poster painted by James Montgomery Flagg for the U.S. Forest Service fire prevention campaign is presented to President Franklin D. Roosevelt, June 1937. From left (standing): James Montgomery Flagg, artist; Henry A. Wallace, Secretary of Agriculture; Earl H. Clapp, Associate Forester. USDA Forest Service photo.
President Truman signing a document next to a kid
Gifford Pinchot honored. Washington, D.C. President Harry S. Truman signs the proclamation changing the name of the Columbia National Forest in Washington State to the Gifford Pinchot National Forest in 1949. The change honors the late first Chief of the U.S. Forest Service and twice governor of Pennsylvania. Looking on is Gifford Pinchot’s 3rd grandson, also named Gifford Pinchot. Photo courtesy of ACME Newspictures – 6/16/49
President Truman sitting at his desk, surrounded by cabinet members
Photograph taken during the signing of the proclamation that changed the name of the Columbia National Forest, Washington, to the Gifford Pinchot National Forest in 1949. Photo courtesy of Wide World Photos, Inc. – 6/15/49. From left, Dana Parkinson, Chief, Division of Investigations and Enforcement, Forest Service; E.W. Loveridge, Assistant Chief, Forest Service; Wesley McCune (behind heads of Loveridge and Hopkins); Howard Hopkins, Assist. Chief, Forest Service; Christopher Granger, Assistant Chief, Forest Service; Richard E. McArdle, Assist. Chief, Forest Service; President Harry S. Truman; Raymond E. Marsh, Assistant Chief, Forest Service; Dr. Gifford Bryce Pinchot, son of Gifford Pinchot (first Chief of Forest Service); Gifford Pinchot (nicknamed Sandy) age 6, grandson of Gifford Pinchot; Secretary of Agriculture Charles F. Brannon; Mrs. Elizabeth M. Mather, secretary to Mrs. Gifford Pinchot; Lyle F. Watts, Chief, Forest Service.
President Eisenhower, riding on the back of a convertible, being greeted by Smokey Bear
President Dwight D. Eisenhower with Smokey Bear, date unknown. USDA Forest Service photo.
President Eisenhower holding a Smokey doll
President Dwight D. Eisenhower with Smokey Bear, date unknown. USDA Forest Service photo.
JKF at innauguration ceremony for Grey Towers
President John F. Kennedy at the conclusion of the Grey Towers dedication ceremony, Sept. 1963. Crowd touring Grey Towers, ancestral home of Gifford Pinchot, first Chief of the U.S. Forest Service, donated to the Forest Service on May 21, 1963. USDA Forest Service photo by by Bluford Muir.
Ed Cliff, President Lyndon B. Johnson.
Ed Cliff, 9th Chief of the Forest Service, shakes hands with President Lyndon B. Johnson. USDA Forest Service photo.
President Bush at Sequoia National Monument
President George H.W. Bush in 1992, announcing the Presidential Proclamation to preserve, protect and restore giant sequoia groves within the Sequoia National Forest. The president traveled to the forest for this historic event to sign this agreement, securing the future of the magnificent sequoia trees. USDA Forest Service photo by Heidi Hosler.
President Clinton at Sequoia National Monument
President Bill Clinton at the Giant Sequoia National Monument. USDA Forest Service photo.
PResident Bush in CAlifornia, getting briefed about forest fires
President George W. Bush, joined by California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, second from right, is briefed by U.S. Forest Service Regional Forester Randy Moore, right, July 17, 2008, in Redding, California, during President Bush's tour to survey the wildfire damage in Northern California. White House photo by Eric Draper.
Presidnet Obama meeting with Chief Tidwell
JUNE 29: President Barack Obama speaks with USDA Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell (L), as Colonel Chris Crawford, US Air Force (2nd R), and General William Shelton, US Air Force, stand by after arriving at Colorado Springs Municipal Airport on June 29, 2012, in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Photo courtesy of Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images.