Reflections from Don Peters Career in the Forest Service

 

My FS career began in 1935 and ended forty years later on December 31,

1974. At that time my wife Ollie, and I had been married a little more

than thirty-seven years enjoying a happy life with many good experiences

and a few not so good.  My assignments were:

 

1935: Lookout on High Rock, Clackamas Lake RD, Mt. Hood NF.

 

1936: Fire and public relations duty registering names of the car

driver, license plate number and number of occupants passing through a

gate at North Gate Guard Station, Clackamas Lake RD, Mt. Hood NF.  Most

visitors were fishermen, enroute to good trout fishing on Little Crater,

Ollalie and Breitenbush Lakes.  The job demanded almost constant duty

from early Thursday afternoons through the following Mondays as

vacationers came and returned to their homes in the Portland and other

Willamette Valley areas.  The remainder of the week except for holidays

traffic was slow.  In my idle time I fell a Douglas fir snag, and then bucked

it into sixteen-inch lengths of wood with a single handled bucking saw,

split and piled it in rows to let it air dry.

 

1937: Member of a FS range survey crew working on private ranches in

Western and Northeastern Oregon under a cooperative effort with the Soil

Conservation Service.

 

1938: Administrative Guard, Asotin RD, Umatilla NF.  The first few days

we were at Clearwater RS.  Soon thereafter I had to go to my duty station

at Long Meadows, leaving Ollie to help an Assistant DR’s wife who was

bedridden with a severe thyroid condition and had recently delivered a

newborn baby.  Ollie cared for the family and did the cooking, laundry,

ironing and other housework.

 

My duty at Long Meadows was to ride horseback with permittee cattlemen

and sheep camp-tenders to obtain compliance with permit requirements and

resolve distribution problems.  I was well prepared for the job, having

grown up on a farm and worked on ranches in the Snake River country of

Southern Idaho.  Ollie accompanied me on horseback, with a packhorse

carrying our camping gear, as we slept out during nights away from our

Long Meadows headquarters.  It was necessary to be alert for rattlesnakes

near springs, ponds and creeks.

 

Black Bear were common, although Government trappers had reduced their

numbers in recent years.  Coyotes were very common.  We enjoyed their

nighttime serenades while camped out.  Much of the area we rode was East

of the small Settlement of Troy, Oregon between the South boundary of

the existing Wenaha-Tucannon Wilderness Area and the Grande Ronde River.

We saw one Cougar, several Bear and many Coyotes, but were not afraid

because I carried a 30-30 rifle under my right stirrup strap when riding

and next to my sleeping bag at night.

 

1939: Same job as in 1938 on the Heppner RD, Umatilla NF. Upon moving

our horses there we lived and cooked in an old shed. The floor was just

plain dirt kept moistened daily with buckets of water carried from a nearby

spring.  Later on we moved to another location and lived in an old sheepherder

cabin resembling a Prairie Schooner.  It had a small cook stove, a small

bed and a canvass roof.  The floor was tilted.  To correct that problem

after mopping, we would pour water at the high corner and let it run

over the floor from the sides and out the lower corner.

 

1940 and spring of 1941: Walla Walla River Watershed survey, Umatilla

NF.  Participated in range reconnaissance, identified and recorded on

maps locations of various soil profiles, ran experimental studies by

applying rain type moisture under a huge tent then measured and recorded

quantities of runoff water and top soil losses.

 

1941: From mid spring to mid September I was Chief of a range survey

crew on the Long Creek RD, Malheur NF.  The project ended because the

short grasses and dicot plants dried and were impossible to identify on

site.  I was then sent to the Eagle Creek RD, Mt. Hood NF to work as a

foreman in a CCC camp.  Gail Baker was the DR.  The camp was closed in

late October and I was furloughed.  We then moved to Portland where I

found work as an instrument man for a construction contractor.  I had

learned while in college to operate transits and levels, but lacked on

the job experience.  The first day of work, my immediate boss, a retired

and skilled railroad surveyor, checked my accuracy of reading angles on

the transit and using a level to set elevations.  He then called me aside

after determining that I could operate the instruments satisfactorily.

He said “Son, you did a good job operating the instruments but you will

never be able to do the job if you don’t learn to set the tripod

quickly.”  In positioning and setting the tripod I had adjusted one leg

then the other two, which wasted time.  He immediately taught me the

proper method then told me to practice for an hour and come back.  I

caught on quickly and upon watching me he decided that I could set the

tripod to his satisfaction and after a few days my work output would

increase.

 

I continued work with a helper setting wood stakes with all vertical and

horizontal measurements meeting accuracy requirements of one tenth of an

inch when setting steel anchor bolts in forms to be filled with

concrete.  Freezing and thawing conditions at the job site on the South

bank of the Columbia River, a few miles East of Portland, slowed our

progress.  It was often necessary to adjust blueprint specified

measurements to shorter or longer lengths by adjustments calculated with

engineering tables.  By the use of a spring scale attached to the head of

the chain, the head chainman was able to maintain a predetermined amount

of pull on the chain, thus negating any change in the length of the tape

other than making adjustments caused by changes in temperature.

 

1942: In early March the FS called me back at a salary of $1,800 per

year with a per diem rate of $3.00.  My primary job was to use a transit

doing triangulation work and some level work on a War Mapping project

financed by the Army Corps of Engineers I readily accepted the job,

considering it another step toward full time employment with the FS.  The

work area was in and around the oil fields of Southern California until

mid summer and then switched to the Pacific Coast and Redwood areas of

Northern California.  Our objective was to obtain more triangulation data

and the level crews to obtain many more elevation data to use in making

more accurate maps having topographic lines.  A problem that impeded

progress while doing triangulation work in Southern California was the

refraction of light caused by heat waves beginning at about 9:30 a.m.

and extending until late afternoon.  That changed our working hours from

shortly after daylight to no later than 10:00 a.m. with a possible two

additional hours before the sunset.  However, when cool breezes blew in

from off the Pacific Ocean we were able to resume normal work hours.

After notifying the construction company that I would soon be going back

to work for the FS they offered me a pay raise.  At that time, I was

reminded all the more that I longed to have a career with the FS.  As a

result, I did not accept the offer.

 

During the latter part of my assignment Ollie had to return to Oregon to

stay with her mother and father.  Her mother was a FS switchboard

operator and her father was a fire dispatcher.  Ollie was pregnant and I

was changing work locations every few days.

 

Before doing triangulation work in the Redwoods the FS had a problem.

The Coast and Geodetic Survey and the U.S. Geolological Survey had done

high-level triangulation work surrounding the Redwoods; however, because

of the type of topography there were no peaks that stood out, thus

making it impossible to do triangulation work.  The mature Redwood trees

grew to about the same height having normal taper, but the diameters

became much smaller at a point about thirty to fifty feet from the tops.

FS engineers decided that in order to do triangulation work on some of

the highest points, tree heights needed to be extended.

 

The plan was to select the tallest Redwood tree at each of several

locations, cut off the top at the point of severe decrease in diameter,

fall and limb a nearby Douglas fir tree, cut off a section of that tree

at a point where its base was approximately one foot in diameter, then

attach to it a banner having four different colored stripes each about a

foot high and four feet in length.  The newly made top would then be

pulled into position by using a heavy block and tackle with two pulleys

attached to the Redwood tree, one near the top and one at the bottom.

Power to raise the new top was supplied by team of horses or mules.  The

new top was then attached with bolts and cables to the Redwood tree.  The

stripes in the banner were changed to different positions at each

location and formed a code for the instrument man to designate its

location geographically so that the cartographers could place its

position on the map, then correlate the geographical location with white

spots on aerial photos to be taken following completion of the field work.

Before installing the new top section, a platform was constructed of

lumber that had been packed in by horses or mules along with four

sections of half-inch plywood each eight feet in length and two feet in

width.  The sections were then placed side by side on the platform and

spiked in place.  They had previously received two coats of flat white

paint and two coats of enamel paint white paint to aid in identifying

their positions on aerial photos to be taken at a later date.  While

taking triangulation readings the red and green stripe colors

occasionally blended under a blue sky and green background thus causing

an error in identification.  Some revisits to identify a few targets were

necessary, but at a time when the sun was in a different position.

To accomplish the task the FS hired a local Indian, knowledgeable of

their trail locations and points of higher elevations. They were provided

with rolls of white cord and strung it while enroute to a target location. FS engineers hired

high climbers and along with the Indian, took their felling gear with

food supplies to the top of mountain where the selected tree was

located. After a few days that job was completed. All materials and gear

was carried by a pack string of mules and or horses.

 

Late in September storms began to blow in from the Pacific Ocean. An

urgent need arose to obtain additional angle readings from the top of

Redding Rock Lighthouse to supply the third leg of a triangle. One set

of readings had been taken from an inland peak located to the North of

several desired points and another from a peak located to the South. It

was necessary to obtain readings from a triangulation point on top of

Redding Rock Lighthouse to enable closing the triangle and calculating

the location of the inland peaks by use of trigonometric functions.

The U.S. Coast Guard operated the lighthouse for many years, but had

turned off its beacon lights and shut down some time after a small

Japanese submarine was seen off the Oregon coast.

 

I never learned how or why I was selected for the assignment of going to

the Rock and doing more triangulation work. After the job was completed,

I wondered how an Eastern Oregon land lubber like myself who had never

been on any Ocean, would jump at the opportunity not knowing the perils

to be encountered.

 

The Weather Bureau had informed the R.O. that wind velocities would soon

increase and become a reality. If we were unable to complete our job,

that part of the mapping project would have failed. Four of us

consisting of the Captain, a white water Alaskan expert in rowing small

boats about twenty-five feet in length, Barney Duberow, a retired FS

employee now living in Bend, and I then left the port in a thirty-six

foot in length fishing boat. Shortly after we had left shore the Captain

anchored it overnight to await an incoming tide. The boat tossed around

as if it were a cork. Diesel fuel fumes made me seasick but by the next

morning I had recovered.

 

The white water man had been hired to row Barney and me from the fishing

boat, with survey gear, to the Rock. The forecasted wind storm had

become a reality, and it was too dangerous for the fishing boat to

maneuver closer than seventy-five to one hundred yards from the Rock on

an incoming tide with waves eight to ten feet high. I was concerned that

the man from Alaska had imbibed from a bottle of something stronger than

water the previous night and that he would become too tired to complete

his assigned job. We worked on the windward side of the rock where the

wind speed was increasing with waves eight to ten feet high were

striking the Rock. After several attempts to move Barney and me and

survey gear from the twenty-five foot rowboat, we made it to shore and

stood on a projection of the Rock above the incoming waves. We then

grabbed hold of a moving weather-beaten two inch in diameter rope frayed

at its bottom end, but fastened at its top to a steel rung ladder that

reached the top of the Rock ninety-four feet above mean ocean level and

three miles from shore. We finally caught hold of the rope and after

tying the survey gear to our backs we cautiously climbed the ladder to

the top of the Rock. One of the transits was brought along, by order of

my boss, as a spare in event the one I had used for several months

failed to operate properly. Each transit was packed in a wood box, which

increased our load weight.

 

Before climbing the rope we noticed that the lower two rings of the

steel ladder had been broken by the erosive forces of wind and seawater.

Upon reaching the top of the Rock we found it to be covered with sea

gull droppings and it took a few minutes for us to locate the

triangulation point on top of the Rock. Then looking down the lea ward

side of the Rock we saw a large herd of Sea Lions barking or yapping

incessantly. Not only did the odor bother us but also the slippery

surface on which, we had to stand. We were very cautious to maintain our

footing, that if lost would have caused us to slide into the ocean.

Shortly before completing our task the Captain blew the fishing boat

whistle and continued until we signaled him that we had heard it. I had

about ten minutes work remaining and stayed with the transit until

necessary readings were taken. We then prepared to get off the Rock.

After safely descending the ladder the remaining job facing us was to

reload our equipment and us, get back into the rowboat and return to get

aboard the fishing boat.

 

While putting our gear in the twenty-five foot rowboat a box containing

the spare transit slipped into the ocean and rapidly filled with

seawater. We retrieved it with a small rope we had attached to it. After

the reloading the equipment, Barney and I were ready to get into the

rowboat and return to the fishing boat. While trying to get into the

rowboat, with high waves still hitting the Rock, Barney slipped into the

ocean after losing his grip on the side of the small rowboat. He

immediately made another effort and pulled himself out of the water and

into the small boat with clothing soaked, but not having gone under. I

knew that upon reaching land I would have to thoroughly and as soon as

possible wash the transit with fresh water to inhibit corrosive damage

to its brass parts by the salty ocean water. The Alaskan then rowed us

to the fishing boat and as soon as we were aboard and on our way back,

the Fishing boat Captain took me to task for not getting off the rock at

the time of his blowing the signal. I did not offer an excuse, although

I did thank the Alaskan for his good work.

 

1943: I received my first full time professional appointment with a

grade raise, early in January as Assistant Ranger, Warner District,

Fremont NF. My desire to start a FS career had been fulfilled. I learned

to cruise timber, mark trees on sale areas, scale logs lay out logging

roads and administer timber sale operations.

 

1944: Continued duties as Assistant Ranger on the Warner District,

Fremont NF.

 

1945: Promoted to DR, Silver Lake RD, Fremont NF. At that time I

received another grade raise, the second of my professional career.

Shopping facilities for staple food and clothing were available eighty

miles to the North in Bend or one hundred miles to the South in

Lakeview. A second son arrived in June, born in St. Charles Hospital in

Bend.

 

We were at war with the Japanese. Much of the staple food and all

gasoline was rationed until sometime after the Japanese Emperor

surrendered on August 15, VJ Day. Rationing caused an additional problem

for Ollie to supply meals to S.O. and R.O. personnel who traveled to and

from Portland to Bend and Lakeview.

 

I obtained the following data, from Google research engine: “1941 the

rationing of rubber began; 1943 - three pairs of shoes per year as of

February 7, when shoe rationing went into effect; March 17, canned goods

were rationed and on March 29, meet and cheese were rationed; October

30, shoe rationing ended; meat and butter rationing ended November 23;

tire rationing ended on December 20. Sugar rations were cut twenty-five

percent in 1945 as reserves were near empty.”

 

At Silver Lake R.S. we had a wood range with coils. It provided heat for

a water tank and warmth in the kitchen on cold days. Supplemental heat

was supplied by a circulating oil heater and a log-eating fireplace.

Neither commercial electricity nor commercial telephone service was

available; however, we had a “limping” war surplus diesel generator that

had replaced a worn out gas driven generator. When not down for repairs

it supplied sufficient power for the Ranger Station office, home

lighting, a water system and a washing machine.

 

Our source of water was a well approximately 120 feet deep. A problem

occurred about every two to three weeks. During those times our entire

water supply had been drained. We were without water and we could not

use the kitchen range for fear of burning out the coils. A trap door had

been built in the pump house roof several years before, permitting

removal of six lengths of galvanized pipe, twenty foot in length and

1 1/2 inch in diameter. The well had been drilled through a layer of

lava rock and then into a pumice deposit. When we were out of water it

was necessary to remove one pipe length at a time by the aid of a rope

block and tackle, meanwhile maintaining a non-slip grip on the section

below to prevent the remaining pipe sections from slipping back into the

well. After removing the pipe we removed the flapper valve attached to

the lowest section, cleaned out the accumulated pumice that kept the

pipe partially open thereby permitting the water in our supply to drain.

We then reinstalled the pipe one section at a time. The operation took a

crew of threw or four men almost a half-day to accomplish. During the

late fall and winter months only one employee in addition to myself was

on duty. Donated help was obtained from neighboring ranchers. FS funds

were never available until after one cold morning when hand cranking the

diesel engine I fractured a disk in my lower spine.

 

On April 10, the Bald Mountain lookout called on his single line

telephone and stated the word “paper”, the code word for a sighted or

downed Japanese balloon. He then gave me his azimuth reading and

estimated distance from his station and said “tree”, which meant that

the balloon had landed in a tree. I confirmed his data without further

conversation and then reported the incident to my Forest Supervisor.

The following day a group of Air Force personnel arrived in vehicles to

deactivate either anti-personnel or incendiary bombs and to gather and

haul back to military headquarters any remaining parts of the balloon

that were not destroyed upon landing. The group consisted of a Captain,

a Lieutenant, a Sergeant and several non-coms.

 

I lead them to the downed balloon area via vehicle and foot travel over

snow. By using back sight and foresight readings on my compass, we found

the balloon hanging in a small pine tree with its life-endangering

envelope dropping device on the ground. The Captain and the Lieutenant

examined it from a safe distance with binoculars and determined that it

had one unexploded incendiary anti-personnel bomb, but did not have an

anti-personnel bomb that may have been released while in flight. There

was still danger for reason that if the incendiary bomb exploded it

would create intense heat sufficient to kill anyone near it. The

Lieutenant told me that his training and experience would enable him to

defuse and dismantle it without danger and asked me to hold pieces of

the mechanism as he worked. I agreed to assist him. After the bomb was

disabled the non-coms removed the thirty-foot diameter balloon from the

tree in which it was entangled and then loaded it and some parts into

the balloon into one of the small trucks.

 

When we returned to the Ranger station the Lieutenant told Ollie of my

experience, She became angry with me for taking chances that, if gone

sour would have left our sons without a father and her without a

husband. I admit that I had taken the word of the Lieutenant without

thought of danger. What a fool I was!

 

Ollie had supper almost prepared and a few minutes later announced,

supper is ready”. The non-coms left the dining room and went into the

kitchen. She followed them and again told them to come to the table. A

whispered reply from one of them informed her that they were not

permitted to eat with the officers. She then stepped into the dining

room and addressed the Captain saying, “I don’t care what rules you

have. In my house I am boss and I want all of you to eat together.”

Immediately the captain nodded his head to the non-coms in approval.

After having breakfast with us the following morning the group departed.

 

1946 and 1947: Continued my assignment as District Ranger on the Silver

Lake District, Fremont NF.

 

1948-1951 Was District Ranger on the Drews Valley District, Fremont NF

with headquarters in Bend I was Fire Boss on the ”Dog Lake” fire that

had started and rapidly spread in an area having a lot of logging slash.

Our crews, together with logging crew assistance helped us

contain the fire and to get it under control. One of the logging

companies brought two Caterpillar tractor bulldozers with operators. By

the coming of darkness we had the fire contained but far from

controlled. We put hand crews along the fire line and patrolled the fire

during the night. The next day the fire was controlled. At the time the

going price was twelve dollars per hour for a D-8 Caterpillar bulldozer

without operator and ten dollars per hour for standby. For a D-6

Caterpillar bull dozer, a much less powerful machine, the going price

was eight dollars per hour without operator and six dollars for standby.

Because of windy nights and our not having reached control, I placed a

D-6 Caterpillar bulldozer on standby. The cost to the Forest Service for

my decision was less than seventy-five dollars. We did not have reason

to put the bulldozer to use that night. A Board of Review was held that

fall with the Region’s Fire Control Assistant leading the discussion. No

serious criticism was made of our fire fighting efforts; however, the

discussion leader picked up my having placed the D-6 bulldozer on

standby. He told me that it was a waste of money. I listened to him and

then presented my rebuttal. After additional criticism he finished his

lecture and the Board Of Review session ended. A written report at a

later was not as critical as the oral presentation.

 

1955: Was District Ranger on the Warner District, Fremont NF having a

very heavy workload of numerous sheep allotments, several cattle

allotments plus timber sale preparation and sale administration.

 

1956-1974: Primarily Fire Control, Recreation, and Lands staff,

Deschutes NF. When transferring to Bend, I received my third in grade

raise and was very happy about that. I continued holding the Fire

Control position until the late sixties or early seventies. About 1959,

I was removed from the Range and Wildlife position and assigned the

Recreation and Lands staff function. Because of heavy increase in

workloads during the late sixties the Forest reorganized. A single staff

man held each major function. Mine was then Lands.

 

My FS career assignments consisted of eight years seasonable work; two

years Assistant Ranger; eleven years District Ranger on three Districts

and nineteen years S.O. staff on the Deschutes, totaling forty years. My

net employment time according to R.O. records indicated thirty-seven and

one-half years of service.

 

R.O. records showed that I worked on 224 class A and B fires; was Fire

Boss on several project fires in R-6, R-5 and one in R-4; Zone Boss on

several in R-5. I was qualified and carried Fire Boss Red Cards from

1961 until I retired in 1974.

 

My last Fire Boss assignment was the 47,000 acre Mitchell Creek fire

conflagration on the Okanogan in 1971. Parts of the fire fighting effort

were filmed by M.G.M. and named “Wildfire.” It was previewed in

Washington D.C. where Ollie and I were honored guests. My travel

expenses were paid from W.O. funds. Ollie and I paid for hers. The film

was then shown on NBC for several months.

 

During my first eight years of employment, work for temporary field

going employees ended in late October following the end of the

slash-burning season. If the employee had a Civil Service rating he

would be furloughed and put back to work the following spring if funding

was available and he so desired. If he did not have a Civil Service

rating he would be terminated and most often rehired if work and funds

were available. Working at odd jobs while attending college helped us

financially in a small way, but those who had been terminated were hard

pressed, particularly if they had a family to support. The common

expression by those fellows was “ we will be picking you ‘know what’

with the chickens until spring.’’

 

Wanting to become a Forest Ranger was helped by an experience I had when

I was seven or eight years old. My father had a friend who was a Forest

Ranger on a forest in Northern Nevada.  At intervals while in our town of

Twin Falls, Idaho he would visit our home and tell stories of his

experiences.  I became obsessed with the idea that upon growing up I too,

would become a Forest Ranger. Until that day arrived almost twenty-five

years later I carried that thought within me.

 

After I had been a Forest Ranger for almost eleven years, I one day

realized that one of my peers had been promoted to a staff position on

another forest and had received a grade promotion. After having a

conversation with my Forest Supervisor, Larry Mays it was not long

before Gail Baker was transferred to the R.O. and I was selected to fill

his staff position on the Deschutes with a grade promotion, assuming the

Fire Control staff and the Wildlife and Range Management staff

positions. After living in Bend a few months, Ollie and I decided that

we wanted to live there permanently.

 

I enjoyed riding horses as did Ollie and working with stockmen, loggers,

lumbermen, mountain climbers, hikers and most outdoor enthusiasts. In

addition, Ollie and I were powder snow ski fanatics. As Recreation

staff, I worked hard and long with District Range Ed Parker and Forest

Supervisor, Jim Eagan to obtain the Regional Forester’s and Chief’s

approval for a hoped for large winter sports-ski area development at

Bachelor Butte. That name since been changed to Mt. Bachelor following

approval by the Oregon Geographical Names Committee.

 

The potential applicant consisted of five professional business men led

by Bill Healy, an ex 10th Mountain Division ski trooper having served in

Europe during World War II. Bill was an excellent skier, knowledgeable

of all snow types and skiing conditions. Soon thereafter the group

incorporated for $50,000. Five Board members were elected and Bill Healy

became President.

 

A major obstacle remained to be solved before obtaining Chief’s

approval. Regulations required, that for a new area, publicity must be

given by contacting all existing ski area operators on NF land to

determine if any were interested. No interest was indicated following

our contacts. Had there been any, it would have been necessary to select

the highest qualified bidder based on the percentage of annual fee he

would be willing to pay. Luckily for the Mt. Bachelor group no positive

replies were received.

 

Prior to recommending approval to the Chief, Frank Folsom, head of the

R-6 Division of Recreation and Lands, requested that I return to the

R.O. for further discussion. His reason was that I had been a National

Ski Patrolman for ten years had held an American Red Cross first aid

instructor card during the same period and had close contact with

members and officers of the Pacific Northwest Ski Association. He wanted

me to give him more information before presenting his final

recommendations to the Chief in Washington D.C. He wanted answers to

what if” situations before presenting his final recommendations to the

Chief.

 

Mr. Folsom was an old time cross-country skier who had done only a small

amount of downhill skiing. He at first discussed my R-6 assignment in

1956 when I inspected all ski areas operating on NF lands in R-6. The

result of my recommendations tightened the rules of administration and

required all rope tow operators to discontinue use of solid barriers on

their operations.

 

He then seriously told me that the proposed development would be

unsuccessful for reason that Portland area skiers had three ski areas

available at Government Camp near the summit of the Cascades at an

elevation of 4,817 feet, with additional facilities at Timberline Lodge

at an elevation of 6,330 feet located a short distance above the

timberline on the lower slopes of Mt. Hood. He then stated that Portland

area skiers would not drive 160 miles to Bend plus twenty-two additional

miles to Bachelor Butte and then after skiing a day or two drive back

182 miles to Portland, and that skiers in the Salem vicinity would not

drive beyond Santiam Pass at an elevation of 4,170, feet to ski at

Hoodoo Bowl, and Eugene skiers would not drive farther than Willamette

Pass at an elevation of 5,128 to ski at the Willamette Pass area. Mr.

Folsom did not quote the elevations. I put them in for your information.

In my part of the discussion, I explained that the 9,060 foot summit of

Bachelor Butte, having potential for the lower ends of downhill ski runs

available at 6,300 feet together with its location seven miles east of

the Cascade Mountain summit, had much drier snow known to skiers as “

powder” and many sunny days. I also told him that skiers coming to

Bachelor would spend goodly amounts money for skiing, clothing,

shopping, motel rental, eating and gasoline. I then closed my

presentation by telling him that two large sawmills located in Bend had

logged their lands and slowed their operations from a three shift

operation to a one and as a result created a very large unemployment

situation. Near the end of our conversation Mr. Folsom told me that my

presentation had merit. A few days later Supervisor Eagan was informed

that the Chief had approved issuing a special use permit. That news when

conveyed to the applicant was gratefully accepted and appreciated.

After the special-use permit was issued, prior to the start of operation

in the fall of 1958, the permitee installed three rope tows and a Swiss made T-Bar.

In the summer of 1959 the T-Bar was removed and a Poma lift was installed. The skiers

enjoyed using it, but its capacity did not fill the demand. To remedy that situation the first

chairlift was installed, I believe in 1960. At the present Times there are ten lifts ready

to go as crowds demand. One takes skiers to the top of Mt. Bachelor.

All rope tows except one for beginners have long been removed. Four

lodges; seventy downhill runs, with the longest one and one-half miles in length, and

fifty miles of Nordic runs are available during the winter season. The Mt. Bachelor ski

area is now rated as a high-ranking ski resort.

 

You may wonder why I remained on the Deschutes staff for nineteen years

and did not try to climb the promotion ladder. The answer is: I was born

a Westerner, raised a Westerner and want to die a Westerner. After

arriving in Bend and living here a few months Ollie and I decided we

wanted to live here the remainder of our lives. That decision has not

been altered.

 

Chances for promotion to the W.O. were offered me twice during my

assignment on the Deschutes NF. One was in Internal Audit and one in

Fire Control. I rejected both offers. As expected, I was left to finish

my career in Bend. We have never regretted those decisions.

Here are a few lines from a book, entitled “East of the Cascades”

written by Phil Brogan an educated geologist, and long time reporter for

the Bend Bulletin. “Bend was founded in 1904. Midwestern lumber firms

whose pine stands were running short looked to the Pacific Northwest.

Already several Minnesota lumber firms had blocked off huge stands of

pine on the Deschutes. The Shevlin-Hixon Company of Minnesota and

Brooks-Scanlon on August 18 announced plans to construct mills. These

companies were to manufacture billions of board feet lumber from the

Deschutes pines.”

 

The Bend City Library has given me the following information pertaining

to Bend’s population growth:

BEND, OREGON: POPULATION”

1904…300

1910…536

1915…5,145

1920…5,415;

1930…8,848

1940…10,021

1950…11,409

1960…11,937

1970…13,710;

1980…17,200;

1985…18,450

1990…20,469

1995…29,425

1999…50,650

2001…52,029

According to the census data it appears that the Bend population began

to increase rapidly, in the early sixties when the Mt. Bachelor

Corporation began to expand its facility.

Don Peters