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Clearwater-Potlatch Timber Protective Association (C-PTPA) is the answer for Week 379 of Orofino History Trivia a special feature to celebrate the history and heritage of Clearwater Country.

Join in the discovery!

Monday: It was first in the nation.

Tuesday: Several well known people were involved in getting it organized.

Wednesday: Funds to support the organization were collected from land owners.

According Clearwater-Potlatch Timber Protective Association's web site history page, there was little interest in protection fo forests until 1900. The first organized suppression effort on the part of timber companies and homesteaders was about that time. Cruisers with timber companies and settlers carried the load until 1905.

After Charles Munson was named Idaho's first State Land Commissioner in 1905, he along with Theodor Fohl, Nat Brown and C.O. Brown, were instrumental in organizing the nation's first cooperative timber protective association, Clearwater Timber Protective Association. It encompassed 353,000 acres. The Potlatch Timber Protective Association was formed in 1906 with about the same acreage. After an agreement was reached, it allowed for the first time in history, funds to be collected from landowners on a pre-rata acreage basis to pay for thelabor and materials of the associations. The associations began pre-suppression activities including establishing boundaries, mapping the protection area and building trails for men and equipment. The history says then telephone lines were strung for communication and lookout towers built for detection. After a serious fire on Smith Ridge in the 1930s changes came about that put the associations under one chief fire warden. Even in the early dyas of the associations, they realized it was economically and physically less demanding to put fires out while they were small.

As time and technology changed, so did the associations. Roads were built in the area and pack strings reduced as mechanized equipment became available Communications have advanced to state of the art, multi-channel radios that keep the associations personnel in touch with each other, as well as cooperating agencies int he area. Equipment such as aircraft and dozers have also become an important part of suppression efforts.

In 1965, with access and transportation improvements, there was a need seen to consolidate the two associations and they became Clearwater-Potlatch Timber Protective Association.

Boat and aerial patrols were instituted to take care of the area around Dworshak Reservoir when the lake was filled after the construction of Dworshak Dam. These patrols are under contract to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

C-PTPA has become a highly mobile, economical, initial attack organization that prides itself on keeping wildfires small.

For more information on C-PTPA, see their web site at:

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Window on the Clearwater
P.O. Box 2444
Orofino, ID 83544
Phone: 1-208-476-0733
Fax: 1-208-476-4140