2014 Essay 1

Arthur Woody by Aaron Covert

Arthur Woody was born on April 1st in the year 1884 near the town of Suches, Georgia and grew up on a farm in Union County. When he was twelve years old he watched his father kill the last deer in Georgia and made a promise to himself to someday right this wrong. As a young man he got a job in the Forest Service working as an axe-man, and around 1915 he became a guard in the Forest Service. Around this time he was recommending that the Federal Government should purchase more land in the north Georgia mountains. In the year 1918, the Federal Government combined all of these large land plots into one singular area they named the Cherokee National Forest, a part of this region extended into north Georgia. A short amount of time later more land the government bought was consolidated with parts of the Cherokee into the Georgia National Forest (which was later re-named the Chattahoochee National Forest). Arthur Woody was sworn in as the first forest ranger in the state of Georgia and made responsible of the whole Chattahoochee Forest.

Ranger Woody played a major part in the re-foresting the north Georgia area. He even set many records when it came to fire prevention. When people asked how he was so successful in this he replied “Well, I take a drink with all the men, kiss all the babies on the head, and tell all the women they are looking younger every day.” This response would seem irrelevant until you have to realize that a majority of forest fires were intentionally set. Ranger Woody’s friendly attitude to all people around him went a long way in preventing arson.

Woody was committed to his job in a way few others ever are. Once most of the north Georgia mountains were reforested he then began to bring wildlife back into the forests. He started by meeting a train in Gainesville that brought the first rainbow trout into Georgia from Denver, Colorado and hauled the fish by truck to the slope of Black Mountain where he transferred them to a wagon that carried them up to Suches to be released into creeks and rivers. He not only showed professional commitment, but personal commitment to his job as well.

Making good on his promise he made as a young boy he next started to bring deer back to Georgia. He began by purchasing three bucks from a traveling circus with his own money and then acquired five fawns from the Pisgah National Forest in North Carolina and raised them by hand. Soon after this the Federal Government caught on to what he was doing and began purchasing more deer to add to his small herd. Ranger Woody also replenished the bear population in Georgia by importing them. Arthur Woody was a great man in character and in the way he acted and went about life.

Though his methods were unorthodox and he refused to follow rules and go by the book no one could disagree with his successful results and accomplishments at what he did. He was a dedicated conservationist and spent almost his whole life working to improve the forests in the Blue Ridge Mountains. Because of all his hard work and effort we are now able to enjoy the mountain areas and forests in north Georgia. He deserves to be more widely known because without all of his work Georgia would not be what it is today.

Works Cited

Baker, Garrison. The Shadow of Yonah. Brasstown Creek Publications. 2005

Amerson, Anne. I Remember Dahlonega Volume III. Chestatee Publications. 1994

Arthur Woody, Forest Ranger Extraordinary. www.rootswcb.ancestry.com. January 16th 2014