Last modified: 2015-04-25 by rick wyatt
Keywords: forest service | departmental | united states |
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image by Joe McMillan, 12 December 2002
Established in 1905, the United States Forest Service, an agency of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, manages public lands in national forests and grasslands.
According to their national historian, the Forest Service has an unofficial flag (pursuant to the regulations McMillan has cited by the Department of Agriculture page, which prohibits USDA agencies from having their own official flags). He writes:
The Forest Service has an unofficial flag. The blue flag with a circle of 13 white stars once flew in several locations. It was flown on ranger boats in Alaska and a few other places. For the centennial of the national forest system in 1991, there were reproductions made and flown, while others in blue and green were little desk type flags. The current maker is:
National Capital Flag, Inc.
100 S. Quaker Lane
Alexandria, VA 22314
Gerald W. Williams, Ph.D.
USDA Forest Service
I saw a similar flag a few years ago at Wayne National Forest in Ohio.
Sean McKinniss, 11 December 2002
fs.jorge.com/archives/Heritage_Program/FSFlags_Harmon.htm has an article about the Forest Service flag by Frank J. Harmon, dated circa 1980, which says in part:
"The Forest Service was one of relatively few Federal bureaus to have its own flag. Its display was rather scattered and sporadic, mostly in the Northwest, and it went out of general use even there about fifty years ago [i.e., about 1930]. However, it was flown until very recently on a few ranger boats along the Alaskan coast, where it was first used early in 1909."
"The flag features a pyramidal white evergreen tree inside a white shield, similar to the traditional badge [of the Forest Service] but without any lettering, and a circle of thirteen white stars surrounding the shield. The background flag color is dark navy blue, and the white insignia are sewn onto both sides of the blue fabric. A green background was desired, but in the early period there was no dye that would not fade in outdoor use. The fabrics originally used were all cotton or all wool bunting. The old flags found and pictured are about 10 x 14 inches, 16 x 20 inches, or 20 x 24 inches."
Harmon goes on to say that the design was based on the flag of the Geological Survey, was approved in 1909, and that instructions on its use were sent out in 1917.
Joe McMillan, 12 December 2002