Splendid Was the Trail (revised edition)

by Kenneth D. Swan

illustrations by Joseph S. Swan ( K.D.'s son)

  • K.D. Swan's career with the U.S. Forest Service, from 1911 to 1947, spanned the "Stetson-hat era," when foresters patrolled the backcountry on horseback and performed a remarkable range of duties. In this lively, detailed retracing of his "trail," K.D. brings those days alive, inviting us to ride alongside as he cruises timber, plants seedlings, patrols through blizzards, drafts maps, fights wildfires, builds trails, and more.

    Luckily for us, K.D. became a talented photographer renowned for his images of forestry work and wild, wide-open landscapes. The result is a wonderfully rich, insightful record of a forester's life in Region 1—Montana, northern Idaho, and western South Dakota—during the agency's early years. Here are remote ranger stations, men digging fire line, mule strings laden with supplies, and the first smokejumpers, but also sod-roofed farmsteads, small-town street scenes, the Civilian Conservation Corps, and hardships on the home front during the war years.

    Relive the halcyon days of the intrepid forest ranger by following in the footsteps of K.D. Swan on his "splendid trail!"

176 pages, 6 x 9, 45 b/w photos, index

ISBN 10: 1560378166
ISBN 13: 978-1-56037-816-7


    New updated edition!

    * Gently edited for clarity and accuracy.

    * 45 black-and-white photographs by K.D. Swan.

    * 13 illustrations by K.D.’s son, Joseph S. Swan.

    * Fully indexed.

    * Kenneth D. Swan worked for the forest service for over 30 years in its earliest days.

    * Harvard-educated photographer and educator.

    * Book has been selling since 1968.





Splendid Was the Trail (revised edition)

Splendid Was the Trail (revised edition) align=

Kenneth D. Swan align= In 1911, after earning a master’s degree in Forestry from Harvard University, Kenneth Dupee “K.D.” Swan (1887–1970) began his career with the U.S. Forest Service in Region 1. He quickly fell in love with Montana’s mountains and wild, wide-open spaces, and began making photographs of his work—planting trees, cruising timber, fighting fires—and also of the landscape. By the 1920s, Swan was primarily a photographer and educator, touring the region to document forestry work and giving presentations on forest conservation. Swan’s writing and images captured the early years and “Stetson hat” era of the Forest Service. He retired in 1947 and died at the age of eighty-one in March 1970.

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