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Arkansas Forestry Commission collection

Arkansas Forestry Commission collection

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Finding aid for the Arkansas Forestry Commission collection


Butler Center for Arkansas Studies
100 Rock Street
Little Rock, Arkansas, 72201
(501) 320-5700

October 10, 2014

Repository: Butler Center for Arkansas Studies
Creator:Arkansas Forestry Commission.
Title: Arkansas Forestry Commission collection
Dates: 1909-2003
Quantity: 21.5 Linear feet
Abstract:This collection contains tens of thousands of images and some documents related to forestry and the Arkansas Forestry Commission. It includes 300+ images of forestry-related CCC projects in Arkansas.
Identification: BC.MSS.10.17
Language: English
Permanent URL:


This collection is arranged into two series - Images and Documents/Media.

Series I - Images is arranged largely in the Arkansas Forestry Commission's original filing system. The first group photographs are arranged topically in files based on an AFC numbering system. In this system, larger topics are further broken down into sub-sets. Here are the main topical headings with their corresponding numbers:

0.1 Nursery

0.2 Protection

0.3 Water Quality

0.4 Reproduction

0.5 Crop Cuttings

0.6 Forest Types

0.7 Tree Species

0.8 Soils and Watershed

0.9 Camera Points

1 Management

2 Maintenance and Construction

3 Utilization

4 Administration

5 Exhibits and Publicity

6 Miscellaneous

7 Wildlife

8 Scenic

9 Recreation

10 Litter

The next set of photographs are arranged topically in file folders, as they were filed by the AFC. Following these diles are individually sleeved photographs largely from the 1930s and 1940s. These images are labeled individually as described by the AFC and arranged chronogically. Photographs separated from the original filing system are also arranged chronogically.

Series II - Documents and Media is arranged topically and alphabetically. Media follows the paper documents.

Scope and Contents

This collection contains tens of thousands of images and some documents related to forestry and the Arkansas Forestry Commission. It includes 300+ images of forestry-related CCC projects in Arkansas.

Historical Information

The Arkansas Forestry Commission (AFC) was established by Act 234 of 1931 and amended by Act 48 of 1939. Its initial responsibilities included fire control, education in fire safety, and forest management. Its activities have expanded to include oversight of rural and volunteer fire departments, disaster response, assistance with private land management, tree seedling nurseries and genetics, educational programs for the Arkansas public schools, urban forestry, and participation in events such as Arbor Day and Earth Day throughout the state. As of 2011, the Arkansas Forestry Commission has nine district offices statewide and smaller offices in almost every county in Arkansas. With the passage of Act 1978 of 2005, the Arkansas Forestry Commission was combined with the Arkansas State Plant Board, the Abandoned Pesticide Advisory Board, and the Arkansas Livestock and Poultry Commission to create the Arkansas Agriculture Department.

The desire for wildfire protection for the forests of Arkansas motivated the formation of the Arkansas Forestry Commission. In the 1930s, wildfires were fought primarily with hand tools and by setting backfires with manual drip torches. Fire detection was accomplished by the use of fire towers located on private property. Today, both Arkansas Forestry Commission personnel and rural fire volunteers fight wildfires with a combination of fire plows, trucks, and small airplanes. Wildfire detection is done primarily from the air.

Recognizing the need for fire protection throughout the rural areas of Arkansas, the Seventy-second General Assembly of Arkansas passed Act 36 of 1979, which established a Rural Fire Protection Division within the Arkansas Forestry Commission. This division is charged with establishing, equipping, and training rural volunteer fire departments throughout the state. As a result of this initiative, the number of rural fire departments in the state has increased from 300 in 1979 to more than 1,000 in the year 2011. They provide comprehensive training programs for volunteer firefighters.

Arkansas Forestry Commission personnel are often the first called for disaster response. With the assistance of rural fire department volunteers, they clear roads for repair crews and perform search and rescue operations during natural disasters.

As an additional service to the citizens of Arkansas, the commission provides planning for land management to private landowners in the state. The first seedling nursery was established in 1934 on ten acres of land near Conway (Faulkner County). In addition, a strong genetics program is in place to improve the pine and hardwood timber for the state. In cooperation with other states, new and different varieties are grown and statistics are compared to increase profits for the timber industry and private landowners in Arkansas.

The commission is very active in educational programming in conjunction with the Arkansas public schools. The commission also works with the familiar icon Smokey Bear.

Baxley, Mary Bennett. "Arkansas Forestry Commission," Encyclopedia of Arkansas History and Culture.

Index Terms

This record series is indexed under the following controlled access subject terms.

Arkansas Forestry Commission.
Civilian Conservation Corps (U.S.)
Forest fires -- Arkansas.
Forest management -- Arkansas.
Forest reserves -- Arkansas.
Foresters -- Arkansas.
Forests and forestry -- Arkansas.
Natural resources -- Arkansas.
Nature -- Arkansas.
Trees -- Arkansas.


Restrictions on Access

Unrestricted access.

Restrictions on Use

Non-circulating, in-house use only.

Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Arkansas Forestry Commission collection, MSS.10.17, Butler Center for Arkansas Studies, Arkansas Studies Institute

Acquisition Information

Donated by the Arkansas Forestry Commission, March 23, 2010

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