Judith River Ranger Station

Thomas Guy Myers arrived at this remote mountain meadow in 1906. Armed with this pocket-sized “Use Book” of Forest Regulations, Myers’ task as a ranger of the newly created Jefferson National Forest was to interpret and administer policies regarding public use of the newly set aside “federal” timber, range, water, and mineral resources in the Judith District. An abandoned sawmill and 1876 miner’s cabin were lonely reminders of long-gone occupants and their reliance on the natural resources. Taking up residence in the primitive cabin, Ranger Myers set to work building a field office and permanent lodging. Completed in 1908, Myers’ handiwork embodies the ideal image of the early Forest Service: to invest much labor in a structure that represents conservation in both feature and function. Materials at hand were native logs and chinking of hand-split wood billets supplemented by willow saplings as mortar stops. Myers scrounged barbed wire “scattered through the timber by the sawmill outfit” to reinforce the lime-mortar daubing. Crude corners and a simple square shape further demonstrate the conservation ethic. A hip roof and interior finishing of beaded board and elegant wallpaper add sophisticated “urban” contrast to the simple rustic style. The tall log barn (1909) and corrals illustrate the ranger’s need for self-sufficiency, while the garage (1925) demonstrates modernization.

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Along the Middle Fork of the Judith River, Utica, Montana ~ Public