South Carolina Forestry Commission


Encoded Archival Description

Biography or History: The South Carolina Forestry Commission was established in 1927 as the State Commission of Forestry. It was originally constituted as a five-member commission with one administrative officer, the state forester, who was also secretary to the commission and custodian of its records. The commission was required to make an annual report to the General Assembly on the condition of South Carolina's forests, on the effect of the destruction of forests on the general welfare of the state, and to make recommendations as to reforestation. The commission's duties and responsibilities included preventing, containing, and extinguishing forest fires; advising landowners; promoting public awareness of the advantages of forestry, forest culture, and preservation; and cooperating with the federal government in the distribution of funds allotted to the state for forestry purposes. The first state forester was hired in June 1928, and the office, consisting of the state forester and a secretary, opened on June 18, of that year. By 1929, the staff had grown to include an assistant state forester and a nurseryman, and plans were being made to hire two district foresters. In 1929, the commission was authorized to accept gifts, donations, and contributions and to acquire real estate. The commission was also authorized to grow forest tree seedlings and transplants and to sell the same to landowners for reforestation. The sinking fund commission was authorized to convey to the Forestry Commission "certain wastelands" belonging to the sinking fund commission or to the state. In 1930, the state was divided into four districts. In 1933, the commission was authorized to acquire "otherwise submarginal lands and cut-over forest lands" for timber production, demonstrations of forestry practice, erosion and flood prevention, game sanctuaries, public shooting grounds, and "places of general recreation." The commission was authorized to "acquire, own, sell, lease, exchange, transfer, or rent, pledge and mortgage real and personal property and to cooperate with all agencies of the federal government in all matters pertaining to reforestation and providing employment for the public." In 1934, in response to federal initiatives, the commission was given authority over state parks with the power to "control, supervise, maintain and... improve" all state parks. The commission was invested with the power to issue rules and regulations governing the use of the state parks. Responsibility for the maintenance and supervision of the state parks was transferred to the newly created Department of Parks, Recreation, and Tourism in 1967. Although forest management assistance was provided for in an act of 1941, adequate personnel became available only after World War II. The Forest Fire Protection Act of 1945 extended fire protection to every county in the state and established the county forestry boards. The county boards were authorized to approve county fire protection plans and hiring in their respective counties. In 1955, the legislature allowed South Carolina to join with nine other Southeastern states to form the Forest Fire Compact Commission. Membership for each state consists of the compact administrator (the state forester) and a four member advisory committee. Among the goals of membership in the compact is the promotion of the prevention and control of forest fires through mutual aid. In 1961, the governor began to commission key fire control personnel as law enforcement officers. As of 2000, the commission, under the authority of a 1982 statute, was commissioning its own law enforcement officers with statewide jurisdiction for the enforcement of the state's forestry laws and the commission's rules and regulations. Several laws pertaining to the prevention and suppression of forest fires were enacted in the 1960s, including the Intentional Forest Fire Act of 1967 and the Notification of Intent to Burn Act of 1969. 1973 saw the inauguration of the Urban Forestry program, established first at Columbia. The program was established at Greenville-Spartanburg in 1974 and at Charleston in 1977. The program provides technical services to homeowners, contractors, city planners, and developers. In 1981, the Forest Renewal Program (FRP) was established to provide financial cost-sharing assistance to private woodland owners in re-foresting cut-over and understocked forest land. From its earliest days, the State Forestry Commission has been intimately involved with the United States government. During the New Deal, the commission, the Civilian Conservation Corps, the National Park Service, and the United States Forest Service cooperated in the development of state parks, state forests, and recreational development areas. The State Forestry Commission continues to cooperate with the United States Forestry Service in the prevention and detection of forest fires. The commission also administers certain federal grant programs. With the exception of the interlude during which the commission was responsible for the maintenance and supervision of the state parks, the duties, responsibilities, authorities, and functions of the Forestry Commission have remained substantially unchanged since 1927. The commission is responsible for applied forestry, including reforestation, woodland management, farm forestry, industrial uses of timber and the marketing of forest products. The Commission manages four state forests, operates forest tree nurseries and seed orchards, and administers the State Lands Forest Management Program which provides technical assistance to S.C. state agencies owning forest lands. The commission is responsible for organized forest fire protection through cooperation with the U.S. Forest Service, private individuals, corporations, and the counties. Finally, the commission has always had a very strong outreach program--educating the public about conservation and publicizing the activities of the commission. To this end, its duties have included public lectures, exhibits (the commission has sponsored an exhibit at the South Carolina State Fair every year since 1928), and the printing and distribution of publications. As of 1990, the Forestry Commission was organized into staff and line operations. Staff operations consist of the divisions of administration, field operations, engineering and logistics, and the special projects section. For line operations, the state is divided into two regions, each headed by a regional forester. Region One, the Coastal Region, consists of four districts, each headed by a district forester. Region Two, the Piedmont Region, consists of three districts, each headed by a district forester.

Custodial History: unspecified

Acquisition Information: State Commission of Forestry

Scope and Content: unspecified

Appraisal Information: unspecified

Accruals: no

Arrangement: unspecified

Conditions Governing Access: None

Conditions Governing Use: None

Physical Characteristics and Technical Requirements: None

Other Finding Aid: None

Location of Originals: SCDAH

Alternative Form Available: None

Related Material: None

Bibliography: None

Other Descriptive Data: None

Processing Information: None


Encoded Archival Description - Identification

Unit Title: South Carolina Forestry Commission

Accumulation:

Created:

Creator: South Carolina Forestry Commission

Physical Description: Extent and media

Language: English


Encoded Archival Description - Header

Identifier: RG162

Title Proper of the Finding Aid: South Carolina Forestry Commission

Creation Date: 2015

Descriptive Rules: DACS


South Carolina Forestry Commission

Object Type: Collection

In Collection: State Records

South Carolina Forestry Commission
South Carolina Forestry Commission