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Property records and form 858 are the answer for Week 470 of Orofino History Trivia a special feature to celebrate the history and heritage of Clearwater Country.

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Monday: Had to be done annually

Tuesday: Involved records

Wednesday: Sometimes people lied to complete them.

Thursday: Broken, discarded items were put in a bin.

Friday: Was the bane of Forest Rangers

Saturday: Was known by a number

Monday: Some rangers packratted.

Tuesday: Included knives, forks, spoons, cups, axes, saws, keys, blankets and etc.

Wednesday: Sometimes a ranger would snitch a few things from a fire camp.

Thursday: It took years for things to change.

Property records were the bane of early day Rangers with the U.S. Forest. In those days a complete annual inventory was taken of everything classed as property which included such things as knives, forks, spoons, cups, axes, saws, keys, blankets, etc., according to Ralph Space in his book, The Clearwater Story: A History of the Clearwater National Forest.

The inventory was taken in the fall and submitted on a form numbered 858. If a ranger was not able to give a satisfactory reason for shortages, he had to pay for it. This lead some to ingenious lies, according to Space. If a cabin burned, pack string rolled (which they did quite often) or a boat sank, a lot of property went with them. Some rangers packratted items from fire outfits to build a surplus and that made up for lost items.

Space said that during the summer each ranger had a bin for broken or worn out items were thrown. When the Forest Supervisor or his assistant came around, they could examine it and declare it surplus, but a lot of items were just thrown away or repurposed. That caused shortages.

It was red tape to the nth degree and everyone hated it, but it took until 1924 to get things changed and property was reclassified. That made a lot of inexpensive items expendable.

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Orofino, ID 83544
Orofino 476 0733
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