Interviewer: Jody Noll, graduate student, Department of History, Auburn University
Interview Date: Friday, October 26, 2012
Location: Jolly Residence, Alexander City, Alabama
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Interviewer: Let’s just start off briefly with some personal questions. Can you briefly describe your life before joining the Forest Service?
Jolly: Yeah I grew up in a family of nine children. I am the next to the oldest. I of course educated myself and I attended the University of Tennessee and studied Civil Engineering. I didn’t get a degree in Civil Engineering. Then I changed to Forest Management. Got my degree in forest management at North Carolina State and then studied public management at the University of Washington.
Interviewer: Ok. So you mentioned you attended a few different colleges. Did your time at these schools prepare you for the Forest Service?
Jolly: Yeah I’d say they did with a degree in forest management. I didn’t start out wanting to work for the government so I tried my little bit of time with Weyerhaeuser Company, which is a big timber company out in the west. Worked a short while there and then took a job with the Forest Service in 1961.
Interviewer: Ok. Why did you think…why did you take a job with them?
Jolly: Well, I wanted to work in forest management and the biggest thing going in forest management in the world is the US Forest Service. So that’s the main reason…That’s the main reason…I was interested in the outdoors. That’s why I studied forestry. I started out as I said in Civil Engineering. My dad was a forester. I thought I wanted to be a forester, but then I thought I wanted to do something different. So I almost got my degree in civil engineering before I decided that what dad was doing was more of what I wanted to do. So I went back and finished my degree in forest management.
Interviewer: Ok. Was your dad a forester with the Forest Service?
Jolly: No. My dad worked for the TVA-Tennessee Valley Authority. He was a forest economist. So his work was mostly inside, he wasn’t out in the woods like I was for very much.
Interviewer: What goals did you have when you began working with the Forest Service?
Jolly: I’d say, honestly, I didn’t have any real lofty goals. I wanted to do a good job of what I was doing at the time. When I first started I was going to let the future take care of itself. I developed what I wanted to do later. What I aspired to do, and that didn’t happen all at once. I didn’t make a plan for myself for the rest of my career. I planned some ahead and when I reached a certain level
Interviewer: Ok. You didn’t have goals or, you know, not many specific ones. What made you or what types of goals did you have as your career kind of moved on and you moved up within the Forest Service?
Jolly: Well, I wanted to, you know, at first I was working in the woods almost entirely doing various sundry things, and the more I saw of the Forest Service and learned of it I wanted to get to be a manager and manage and affect as much area as I could. So I wanted to climb as high as I could in the outfit.
Interviewer: Ok. Next I am just going to ask you general questions about some of the different things that you did. Could you describe a typical day you had as a junior forester?
Jolly: Well, a junior forester just learned about the Forest Service for one thing and learned what the Forest Service did. And then I marked timber, which foresters do. I ran crews that did timber stand improvement. I surveyed land lines some. Very briefly. And then I cruised timber for both sale and for land exchange. I was a only junior forester for about 18 months, I think, something like that fairly short period of time. One other thing that happened during that time that I thought was really good and endeared me to the Forest Service was that the training that the hierarchy in Forest Service wanted its new employees to have for not only doing the job at the time but also preparing themselves for more responsible jobs in the future.
Interviewer: What about a typical day or some of the stuff you did as an assistant district ranger and then district ranger?
Jolly: Well, as that the…when I began the assistant district ranger was a line officer, the junior forester was more of a staff, and the assistant district ranger was a line officer, and so your responsibility was dealt with everything that was going on on the district. You shared that with the district ranger who was, also he was your superior, but also a line officer. So we had the responsibility for everything that district was charged to do. We sold timber, we did timber stand improvement, we managed recreation areas, we did wildlife management projects, we did some range projects, some land exchange, and we dealt with the public, and we dealt with the public, and we dealt with the public, so one of the biggest things I mean your managing their lands so you have to pay attention. And that’s kind of it. But it was the managerial position not actually doing stuff but planning for the jobs the employees did and then supervising it to a certain extent to make sure you were getting what you wanted and then interacting with the other district rangers on the forest. You know you have said that you are not real familiar with the Forest Service. Do you have an understanding of the organization or should I?
Interviewer: You could briefly talk about it.
Jolly: For example, there are four levels of the Forest Service. You’ve got the ranger district, which is the ground. That’s where the rubber meets the road. Then you have the forest level which is the forest supervisor then manages the forest which maybe be made up of two or three or maybe up to a dozen rangers districts depending on the size of the forest. And then you have the region, which is then looks after all the forests in whatever the region is and then at the Washington office level we call it the chief and that’s the top line job.
Interviewer: How about some of the responsibilities you had or stuff you did as the regional environmental coordinator?
Jolly: Okay, that was probably one of the most interesting jobs I had at least up until that time because that job didn’t exist until in region 8. Well it didn’t exist in the Forest Service until I took it. It came out of the National Environmental Policy Act of 1970. And I was assigned in that job in 1972 so we just kind of about figured out what the outfit had to do to comply with the Environmental Policy Act. And so we were inventing the job as we went. I was in that job for about 3 or 4 years out of the regional office in Atlanta. And all that time we were inventing it because it was different. We had…it required public involvement, it required preparing a statement about what you were going to do. And then it became very legal after that and so then you were trying to teach the people in the organization how to do it. So we had to make up the rules and how we were going to do it. And we were tested right from the start, I mean, we got sued under the Environmental Policy Act probably within a year after I took that job, so 3 years in to the law. So that was the biggest part of my responsibility in Atlanta as the Environmental Coordinator. I also had some land manager planning responsibilities. And some appeal. We had an appeal system where the public could appeal a decision prior to the passage of the Environmental Policy Act. And one of the rules we came up with is that they couldn’t sue us under the Environmental Policy Act until they’d appealed and see how they came out in an appeal. To try to keep it out of the court to begin with.
Interviewer: You mentioned you kind of had to create new stuff with in the Environmental Coordinator. Could you provide some examples of what you did with that?
Jolly: Well, you know, we had to decide what an environmental statement going to look like. First you had to become really fluent with the law itself. And the law is pretty straight forward and simple to begin with; it’s been amended many times in the courts. I’m not aware that congress ever amended it. But every decision that you got amended it some. And it required just a couple of things: if you were a federal decision maker and you were about to do something before you could decide what to do you had to describe what it was you were gonna do, develop some alternatives that you could do differently. You had to promulgate that to the public. Give them 90 days to respond to it, however they wanted to respond. Ordinarily it would be well I think you ought to do this a little bit more or you skipped this or you did not consider this or whatever, then incorporate what you got from the public into the final environmental statement which you then announce the decision and go forward. And it was supposed to be a major federal action. Now these were words in the law which decision makers have to really deal with it. It required the environmental impact statement to be done for major federal actions that had a significant impact on the environment. Now you got major and significant, now guess what that is. So you think about that for a minute. In the beginning we looked at major as really major. In other words we might for a forest it might be a couple of million acres we might do an environmental statement on the timber sale program for the forest. That’d be a major federal decision, see. That would have a fairly significant or could have a fairly significant impact on the environment. Before it was all said and done and the courts got through with us we were doing environmental—full blown environmental impact statements on almost every single timber sale. And whereas you might have for a forest; there’s a hundred something forests in the country hundred and fifty I think fifty something. And you might have 150 environmental statements for each one with an environmental impact statement. If you did it one every single timber that might be a hundred thousand. We might have that many different timber sales in the year across the country see. So you could see where the courts could really change it. If, for example, our rule said we’re just going to do it on the forest and we got sued, and the judge says, “No, you can’t do it on the forest you got to do it on some other level maybe not quite to begin with anyway every single one.” See what’d that do to your work load. I don’t recall that we ever that we were ever appropriated a single dollar to do the environmental impact statement. It became part of the planning requirement for whatever job it was we were going to do. An irony…an irony of the never has been talked about very much is nobody ever sued us for fighting forest fires or for putting forest fires out, you know. And I would contend that the biggest impact of the Forest Service work, and I think it’s as large as all the rest of the work the Forest Service does period, is our fire suppression program. Because if you put fires most of the fires on the national forest start naturally see by lightning, see, and many of the ecosystems are…need fire in them, see. We had a policy that if a fire started we had to put it out by ten o’clock the next day that’s what we referred to as the ten o’clock policy. So we and we were really good at it ok. We put 98 percent of the fires that we got out by ten o’clock the next day. Which meant we eliminated 98 percent of the fires from the ecosystem. Now if you think about that for a minute that’s you know what impact it means change. That’s the definition of impact. There’s no good or bad with it to start with. In other words the environmental policy act didn’t say write an impact statement on it on anything you did that might have an adverse effect on it. It just said have an effect good or bad. Cause effect means change, so anytime you go out there you’re gonna be changing something. And we never did anything that changed the environment any more than putting out the fires. We were never ever asked to do an environmental impact of the fire management program. Now there was some a couple of the environmental group\s that made some noise about that maybe eight or ten years ago, after I had retired but I went I was the environmental coordinator in Atlanta beginning about 1972, and I was only there in that job that specific job for about 3 years, but everything I did as a line officer after that, you know as a line officer you’re the ones that have to sign off on the environmental impact statement whatever level the decision is delegated to; the district ranger signs off on a lot of them for the smaller timber sales of the ranger district. See, the chief actually has to sign off on very few. It’s mostly at the forest level, some on the regional level, so that just kind of an irony in the whole business in doing environmental impact statements. The law itself my sense is it was really good. It impacted us tremendously, but our decisions were always better having done it than they would of having not done it. Doesn’t mean we were making bad decisions, prior to the time that we, the requirement became with the law, but I can’t remember a time when I felt any better about a decision because we did that. I mean I…it just was good for us. The other thing it did is it required us to involve the public. Up until that time we had a pretty good record of relating to the public, but not really involving the public in the decision making process. And we struggled with that. That evolved over time you know we would start the planning process with the public by giving them maybe a half dozen different alternatives and then said ok help us work with these alternatives. Well, it evolved to the point where we were going to them with some objectives. And sitting down and letting them help formulate the alternatives themselves, see. After we started doing that we really got really good input from the public. We were harassed, there’s no if and or buts about it. There were some people who thought the forest ought to be managed differently than the way Congress was telling us to manage it. And they used the authority that they had through the environmental policy act and any of those laws, plus the federal tort claims acts to try to work their will. And they… I’ll talk a little bit later about working with members of Congress to try and deal with that.
Interviewer: Ok. When you mentioned you said you worked with the public. Was this specific groups you worked with or individuals?
Jolly: All the way from. The whole gamut. All the way from individuals. This was a good thing. The outfit even before the advent of environmental policy act and that requirement and the planning process. We were required first off in our career to establish contact with people in the community, and they were referred to in those days as key contacts. In other words you would have in the town where the district was headquartered you’d have the mayor and businesspeople and groups like user groups. If you had a big recreation program then there was a constituency there of folks that used the forest. So you stay in contact with them as individuals, but primarily through their kind of the leadership, and then we’d right away get involved with the political structures at the lower levels like the county judge and the school board and that kind of thing. And we were expected to belong to a civic club. That’s not an expectation in the Forest Service anymore I don’t think, but it was early on. So you…the thought there was you’re living in the community. The Forest Service is in the community, and so we expect you to be a part of the community. Not just come there and work in a cocoon, and that was really good for both the outfit and for the individuals. So that…and later after I became a forest supervisor and had to get involved with the US Representatives to Congress and the governors and the hierarchy and other agencies and the whole idea was that for especially for members of congress was that they worked for the same people we did. See, and usually if they heard something they didn’t like about what the Forest Service was doing, their constituents expected them to do something about it. So if we could do something about it we should have. We didn’t always but we should have. One of my tenets as I got in more and more responsible positions was that I kept the Congress, our delegations whatever they were. For example as a forest supervisor, I would have, in a state I would have both senators both US Senators and whatever representatives the forest was in their district. Sometimes that was one or sometimes it was two or three depending on how big the forest was and how small the districts were. The idea there was to keep them informed of what you were doing. That was my way of dealing with them because if you could keep them from being surprised by something you’re doing then you got along better. Also, I tried to stay completely out of the politics and no lobbying for money or for anything else. People did and the people who did usually regretted it before it was over with, but as long as you dealt with the things that they were concerned about and gave them the straight skinny on it, it worked. And you didn’t have to say yes. In fact we probably said no 80 percent of the time when somebody would want to do something. For example somebody would own land inside the national forest and they’d want some special treatment because they had the forest surrounding them. Well, you can’t do that. If they wanted access we had to deal with them, I mean we could not shut them out. But they didn’t necessarily get the access that they preferred if it was the best what they preferred and that was the best for the public in terms of the public land then they got it. But if they wanted something. I’ll just give you a rough example. If they wanted a road that went on too steep a grade and we’re looking at the resources they wouldn’t get that, see. That’s just an example of, but the public is paramount in managing the public land. And the way we went about it became much more defined after the passage of the national environmental policy act and the national forest management act and some other acts that dealt with planning.
Interviewer: Ok did you get a sense of what kind of influenced the implementation of the National Environmental Policy Act? I mean, were there certain influences for that to be brought about? Was it the public was it the Forest Service?
Jolly: I’m not I’m not really quite sure what you mean by influence, but the affect it had, it had a huge effect. We didn’t get near as much done on the land because we were spending our time planning. And that became a real drag later on. I could tell you as the regional forester in Missoula, when I retired I was named in 41 major lawsuits in my official capacity, not me personally. Now I had lots of people to help me that. But when you’re dealing with 41 lawsuits, now they’re all not active. The way lawsuits work you know you worked on them for a while then you wait until some other things get done. So it’s not like you are working on 41 major lawsuits at one time, but that takes a lot of time. Plus, you have to strategize. We kept in Missoula, in the regional office, we kept 6 attorneys busy full time just doing work for us. (Interviewer: that’s a lot) So it, you know…Like I said the work kind of had its ebbs and flows. We won most of the lawsuits; it didn’t mean that it didn’t cost us a ton of money, and after the Equal Access to Justice Act passed we were paying not every time but most of the time we were paying the plaintiff’s legal expenses, so that was a huge cost also. And so those kind of things docked what we could get done on the land, and sometimes that was the environmentalists’ strategy. They didn’t want us selling timber then they kept us busy with lawsuits so we couldn’t be preparing timber for sale. It wound up reducing the…from a national perspective it wound up reducing the timber sale program by about 80 percent. So that was an effect. Up until beginning in about the early sixties and up through the eighties the national forests provided about 25 percent of the wood the country used. Now they are providing about 2.5 percent. So, I mean…And the wood is still out there. Just an aside, you know, half of the wood the country owns, and I describe it this way: half of the wood that you can make a board out of, half of the tress that can make a board out of, you make lots of things beside boards, but half of the trees that will make a board are standing up somewhere in a national forest, and we are producing 2.5 percent instead of 50 percent of what the nation’s demand for wood products are. So there’s an environmental impact, I would argue, there’s an environmental impact on state and private lands that’s way beyond what it would be if we got a proportionate share of wood off the national forest. That’s a political argument, see that’s what that is. I never did get too concerned about it. We were accused of, most of the line officers were accused of making that cut regardless because it affected our pay, but I never did make the cut that I was assigned never, and I never did suffer pay wise for it.
Interviewer: Kind of shifting gears a little bit. Can you describe your time in D.C. as Assistant Director of Timber Management and then Director of Timber Management?
Jolly: I was Assistant to the Director of Timber Management. We call that the nice way of saying that is the crummy little job officer. We had to do whatever the director wanted us to do, none of it was very important, but it had to be done, and then I became the Deputy Director, which was a huge change in responsibility. So as the crummy little job officer, I was, I made the coffee for the timber unit, and not only did I make the coffee, I bought the supplies for it and stuff. The biggest chore was responding to congressional inquiry or public inquiry. So the public or congress person would write us a letter saying, “What’s going on here?” and I was responsible for making sure that was responded to within seven days. We had a rule in the chief’s office that not only did it have to be done, but we had to send it out within seven days of the time we received it. Now, I didn’t have to write all of them. I had to find out who ion the staff was the most capable for that. Knowledgeable in the area and everything. And then I would have to get it and look at it and make sure we didn’t have any bad language, not only bad from the standpoint of English but bad from the standpoint of being impertinent or anything like that, because there’s that tendency when somebody writes you a letter and they tell you they don’t like what you’re doing you’re inclined to want to say, well to heck with you, you know, stuff it, kind of a deal. And we couldn’t have that. That was probably the biggest single responsibility I had. And then I managed a very interesting project, and I think I got it listed there, called the heliostat. Now that took about, I can’t remember now, but probably 15 to 20 percent of my time both as the crummy little job officer and then later after I became the Deputy for timber management. And that project in itself was probably the most interesting project I worked on in my career and it failed, but we spent nearly 50 million dollars on it, and its technology that’s needed. What it is, is with helicopters there’s a cap on how much weight we can lift with a helicopter. I can’t remember what it is now but it’s around 25 tons, and the guy’s…a fellow by the name of Frank Piasecki who was one if the inventors of the helicopter decided…he developed this concept where he would attach four helicopters to a blimp, and the blimp provides static lift, and the helicopter provides dynamic lift, and he the blimp would make the helicopters and the blimp, the whole machine, weight neutral. In other words, you could go out there if you wanted to go up, one person could push on the bottom of it and it would go up. The dynamic lift of the helicopters could be applied totally to lifting weight, and then the limit would then be based on how big the blimp was. It flew some. It wasn’t like it wouldn’t work at all, but the technology was new, controlling the thing was a huge challenge, because you had four flying machines attached to one total machine each… and they were far enough apart that each control input for each helicopter was a little different if you were going into a turn or something, see. We were doing that with mechanical means and we should have been doing that with electronic means. It’s referred to as having crashed, but it actually didn’t crash. While it was flying the wind got up and the pilot—there’s one pilot in each machine—but there’s one pilot that controls the whole machine. The other three guys are there to control their machine if they get in trouble, but only if they get in trouble. Well, he decided he was in trouble, and he decided the way to solve it was to get on the ground, and he landed. It was a soft landing, it wasn’t a hard landing, but the thing wasn’t designed to taxi, but it was taxiing. The wind was blowing pretty good and it was moving it down the runway and it shook itself to death, it shook itself apart. It took three years to fabricate it and 12 seconds for it to shake itself apart and it killed one guy. So it was bad news and we had a huge amount of criticism for doing it. There was a lot of people in the aeronautic world that thought it would never work, so there was a lot of criticism even in the government, even in the Forest Service there was a lot of criticism for even spending any money on it. That concept is still being explored. Boeing is doing it right now, and we probably would have been more successful had we sucked it up. Goodyear had gave us a bid at the time that Frank Pasaki came to see us, and they wanted 250 million to do the same thing he said at the time would cost 18 million. It grew to about 48 million before I left, and there probably was 3 or 4 million after that before it actually fell apart. It will be the…and we still haven’t figured out since then how to lift more weight.
Interviewer: Do you think…you said there was a lot of criticism before it began…do you think that played a role in at least the funding?
Jolly: Well, the funding…we got as much funding as we wanted. He, he couldn’t…We never did have to slow down or stop because we didn’t have money. It did affect the outlook of the Forest Service. I think if we had public support for it even after it vibrated itself apart, we would have put it back together and improved the control system and tried it again. So in that sense the public opinion did have an effect on it. We never got back into again. Boeing is doing some work on it now. This is. I’m trying to think. This was…For me in my career this period was between 1982 and 1985 while I was in the Washington office. After I left there’s somebody replaced me and they were doing some flight tests and it was about eight months after I left that it fell apart. And that was the end of it.
Interviewer: Can you describe some of the other challenges you faced while working in DC?
Jolly: Well, I don’t know about challenges. We had things going on like the environmentalists were after us. Well, maybe it wasn’t just the environmentalists…there people were going after us they claimed that we were selling timber for less than it cost us, see. They were primarily using the road system, that’s the biggest cost of getting timber out of the woods is building the road system. All the road systems were, well I wouldn’t say all of them, but 99 percent of the road systems would be used more than once. So we weren’t too concerned on the first sale in the drainage that it cost us more to make that sale than we got receipts from it. Because we had a road system after that. And that was the biggest cost and the next time there would be some cost in the road system, but it would be primarily just opening it up maybe add to the length of it. But they wanted to stop the timber sale program. That was their objective. And so I led a team that evaluated, we called them the below cost timber sale and helped affect the policy or our ability to explain the policy, especially at appropriations here and that kind of thing on the Hill. So that was kind of a challenge. Writing the letters was always a challenge. I mean just keeping up with it. We didn’t get a terrible number of letters, but, you know, we were in the national office, so any time someone wanted to write the president and they wrote the president then that letter came to us. The agency signed the response, not the president. Everyone in a while you would get a kick out of it because somebody would write a letter about something about what you were doing that was caustic as all get out and their letter would come to us to respond to. I had a one case where a guy wrote a letter about how bad I was, and I got to sign his response. Now I am sure he didn’t expect me to see the letter see. He wrote the letter to the president, see and the president never sees those letters, I mean, it may be one in a million that the president will actually see, but we answer all of them. The White House would ship ‘em over to the department and they would ship ‘em down to us. Or if they go to the Hill we’d get them from members of Congress, but the agency would always be responsible for responding to them. If it was a pretty big deal then the Secretary of Agriculture may want to sign it. And they reviewed not all of them but they reviewed our responses as part of their responsibility to make sure we were trying to be responsive and not just blowing them off. Travel was a challenge kept me away from home a lot. Probably the biggest travel challenge I had was in Atlanta. I figured it up when I left there. I had been away from the office 80 percent of the working days. Now I wasn’t away overnight all the time, but I was out of town. In fact I remember one week that I went to four different forests during the week that and spent the night in my own bed every night. But it was, you know, and Peggy was selling real estate at the time, so we passed at the night. Because she was working on the weekends when I was at home, and I was traveling while she was at home, but I had to do a lot of travelling anywhere any job I had after I got to the forest level. When I was working on the district I had hardly any travel except a training session or something like that.
Interviewer: Did some of your previous assignments help you prepare for your role in DC?
Jolly: Oh yeah. Well, that plus the…just the training we had. But yeah, being the environmental coordinator and bending the rules. There was one of us in each region so there were nine of us that had that job. We had to coordinate what we were making up at the time with the chief’s office to make sure that it worked for everybody. That put me in the chief’s office a lot. And then Chief of Forest Service was sued by the environmentalists for not having an environmental statement on his national program. Now this was, I know that Congress never contemplated that happening. We wrote an environmental statement in 19— well I can’t remember exactly when it was. In the 1973 to 1975 period there on the national program. As far as I know we only did it once, and we were the only agency that ever did it. But it was an interesting assignment, I mean, we had to pull about 500 different scientists together to prepare parts of it. I was a co—they had two leaders, co-leaders, and I was one of the co-leaders. So I was going back and forth from Atlanta for during that year. I can’t remember what that year was I think I have it written down over there. I was going back and forth for three months every week while we did the draft. There was a 90 day period where we waited to get the public input and then another 90 day period where I went back and forth every week for three months doing the final, taking all that input and coordinating it and doing the final. It was the public lands, let’s see Public Lands Defense Council or something like that was the one that sued the chief. After we did the environmental impact statement and they saw it, they decided to withdraw the suit. So, I mean who knows whether it really worked. I mean trying to do something like is so complex when you’re talking about everything you do all the way across the country and Puerto Rico and Hawaii and Alaska, see, and you’re talking about input from the… We had more than 500 people at one time or another in doing the input the specific stuff. If it was an engineering problem you had to have engineers. If it was an endangered species problem you had to have wildlife biologists and something specific. The job I had was with this other person who was a woman was coordinating that and bringing it all together. That was a challenge, but it was the first time we ever did it was really neat I thought, and it worked. Now whether it worked because we did such a good job or whether the Natural Resources Defense Council decided they had done enough—they were pretty responsible. There were mostly attorneys and they were just testing us and I passed the test on that deal. But yeah a lot of what I did in the field… We refer to everything except the chief’s office as being in the field, okay? You are not in the field when you’re in the chief’s office. Everything I did in one way or another had some effect and, you know, taking it another step—you may have this question later on—but every job that I had helped prepare me for the next job that I did. The regional forester job is probably, including the chief’s job, the regional forester job is probably the most demanding job in the Forest Service. In fact there was a study done at Penn State, I can’t remember the name of the study, but they said that. Because the regional foresters were in the field and not in the Washington office they had more autonomy, they were farther away from help if they needed it, and so it was more demanding. It was fun too.
Interviewer: Ok we have been talking about 45 minutes. Do you want to take a little break?
Jolly: I’m good to go.
Interviewer: Ok sounds good
Jolly: You want some coffee or anything?
Interviewer: No thanks I am good for now. Since we are still kind of talking about DC…from what we have read the early years of timber management in the Forest Service, there seemed to be a debate between conservation and preservation. During your time as Deputy Director of Timber Management did you get a sense of if this debate was still relevant?
Jolly: Oh yeah the debate went on forever from the very beginning. You know the 1898 act, the Organic Act, that specified the National Forests were for two primary purposes. One was to produce clean water. The other was to produce timber to meet the needs of the American public. So for the first 50 years or 60 years of the Forest Service that was the one thing that we had to do was produce timber. So it was looked at as conservation rather than preservation, and Congress appropriated our money that way, sees. The public began to get a different idea in the late sixties and seventies and through the eighties, and they called a halt to it in the late eighties and early nineties. When I left about the time I left in ‘95 we could see there was going to be a drastic reduction in output, and it happened before the year 2000. Somewhere in there I was gone, so I don’t know exactly. One of the things that happened is the timber industry depended heavily, especially in the west, on the outputs of the National Forests and it’s a big deal. I mean, there was saw mills, wood processing factories that went belly up when the program went down. So it was a big deal lots of jobs, lots of communities involved and that kind of thing. We had good support from the timber industry until probably right after 1990, and then so many things began to happen because of the lawsuits and they wanted to blame that on us because we weren’t producing, and beginning about 1995 about the time I left they began withdrawing their support. The only real support for our budget we had outside the Forest Service was from the range community, the ranchers, after that, and so as a result of that, I mean, they were shooting themselves in the foot is what they were really doing. They…we didn’t get any budget for it we couldn’t do it. The program held up pretty well until 1995. We had dropped some in the early 90’s when I was still working, but it was gone after that, and it hadn’t been the same outfit since then
Interviewer: Could you—if maybe it’s relevant provide any examples of how the debate between conservation and preservation shaped some of your decisions?
Jolly: You know that’s really tough. Because I had so much experience working with the public, my feeling towards the production, and we were really production oriented. I never did believe that I had to produce exactly what we planned to or else or I would be docked somehow for that. By the time that that became a real issue, I was steeped enough in the Forest Service that I knew what my boss might do to me. I never told anybody in fact I told people that I didn’t want them to do anything out there that would actually hurt the environment. Now you can’t cut a tree down without some effect, see. But we knew how to fix that after we replanted the trees and took care of the watershed. In the early days of harvesting timber one of the biggest objections was you’d damage the watershed, so you’d have muddy water. One of our very first premise was production of clean water, see. So, well, we had to learn how to manage that road building everything without muddying the water up, and most of the time we did that, but if you ever mess up one then that’s the one that’s focused on from then on and then it never changes. It’s like there was some really pretty poor grazing practices on the public lands and the grazing went on not only on the national forest but on the Bureau of Land Management and Corps of Engineers and the Bureau of Reclamation, but we had a big range program, especially in the west but we had it in the east too. We had some pretty poor practices or we had some permitees doing some pretty dumb things, but later the people that knew how to mitigate that all kind of stuff the best were the ranchers, but the public never forgot. They’d see a poorly managed allotment and that’s what they saw every time they thought about a cow being out there, see. So the public has a long memory. And things like, you know, we all have a view of what we expect when we go out and use the public land and we don’t expect to see a dang cow out there, and that turns people off. Now if you are in the west where many, many people’s livelihoods come from ranching then the view on that is it’s just part of the world for them; it’s not a negative. But if you have one these recreation areas in the east and somebody’s out there at a picnic table and a damn cow walks through there, they’re put out by that, put off by it. The debate roared the whole time I was working, and I spent many an hour in front of a group of people answering questions about what we were doing. I never felt like…I never felt like I was expected to do something that would be detrimental, long term detrimental, to the environment or to the land that I was responsible for at the time. We had some flooding a time or two that maybe that what we did in terms of road construction didn’t hold up like maybe it should have, but you’re not going to be successful every time. As long as our goal was not to do that then I was ok with that. I was never pushed, and I never did push anybody. If somebody who worked for me did something because they felt like they were pushed they never talked to me about it. I never had a problem with that. It was, I suppose I wasn’t around in 1905, but I suppose the debate was as energetic then as it was even much later. There was…there were people in the public that when we were putting these national forests in the east together, buying the land for them, and that’s what the Weeks Law was all about, but there were a lot of people that didn’t think that the government ought to be buying land. But there were as many people who owned the land that couldn’t afford to pay the taxes on it that thought they should, and that how the Weeks Act got passed.
Interviewer: Since were talking about the weeks act can you discuss some of the impact it had on the Forest Service?
Jolly: Well I was never around any Weeks Act work much. I spent the first 15 years of my career in this Southern Region, which… The Weeks Act applied primarily to the southeast and the northeast that’s where all the private land was that people wanted to put into public land and that’s why the Act got passed. But I never worked on a project…I when I was a line officer, every time we bought land I was aware of it, but I didn’t actually worked with it, but I think it made the national forest in the east. We wouldn’t have had the national forest in the east had it not been for the Weeks Act. So there was a little tiny bit of public domain land in the east but not very much. And public domain is land that’s always been in public ownership. It would be like the forest reserves that were part of the Louisiana Purchase and that kind of stuff, see. But, you know… There again I just think if we hadn’t had the weeks act or something like it we wouldn’t have had the national forest in the east. So in that sense it was enormous. It was probably the greatest thing to ever happen to the public land. And I, you know, When I went to Illinois the Shawnee National forest was a little tiny national forest in the southern tip of Illinois and it had in the beginning after the passage of the Weeks act and during the depression the public was screaming at the Forest Service to buy it and make it a National Forest. But when I got there in the seventies it was complete opposite, and I remember getting up in front of a group of leaders in the community it was about 50 of them that were all hounding us to sell it, sell it, you know and I just told them, you know, there is no way you guys are going to convince me to sell one acre of this it’s a jewel sitting down right here in Illinois. Illinois has the least number of acres per capita of public land of any state in the country. So you can just say all you want to that we ought to sell it. I ain’t selling it. They stopped haranguing me about it after that. I mean I Wasn’t ugly to them I just told them I’ve looked at this and if I were you I’d want more here instead of less. And it’s true Illinois is per capita ownership of public lands is at the bottom of the list and its miniscule compared to a lot of other states
Interviewer: Why do you think that is?
Jolly: I just think the topsoil in Illinois is so deep and so fertile that it’s gotta feed us. I think they could have some more land. I think they could utilize some different kind of ownership patterns to get some of the wetlands some of the? And that kind of stuff in public ownership. Because you know the real sensitive lands, private owners, if they are going to produce from those lands, just can’t take care of them as good as the public, the government can and still make any money. And Illinois’ got I mean- I used to drive back and forth between Harrisburg where I lived, which is right down in the south, to Champaign where the University is and you’re just driving between two rows of corn there all the way up. And they farm it from roadside to roadside, or fence row to fence row. It’s all cultivated. So once upon a time there was a good pheasant crop in Illinois. It’s not there anymore. There’s not enough consolidated habitat.
Interviewer: Let’s talk a little about your time when you helped develop management of endangered species policy.
Jolly: We were- the Forest Service was looking hard at why we were- at how our policies developed towards managing endangered species. We came to the conclusion that we decided on how we were going to treat them, we had to protect them there wasn’t getting around that. We decided what we were gonna do and how we were gonna do it based on other resources. Nobody made us do it. The chief just got talking to some of his people and decided that our endangered species policy ought to be oriented around the endangered species and not timber resource, water resource, recreation resource, or whatever. So they asked me to, I was I think at that time I was a deputy regional forester I think in Arizona or New Mexico, but I had a team in there, and I think it took us about three or four months to put together a new national policy. And we did that by talking to a lot of people. Talking mostly to wildlife people biologists, and people like that and forest rangers. You know how can we go about writing our new rules so that the people that are implementing them think about the endangered species first and then make the policy deal with that rather than make, the policy- how are we going to make the policy how are we going to think about the timber program first and how are we going to accommodate the endangered species. So it was changing the way we thought. We put that together in the draft and then took it around the country and presented it to the top people in the outfit. We had a lot of pushback but in the end everybody accepted it enthusiastically. It didn’t necessarily mean we couldn’t sell less timber, but maybe we designed the sales different see. Or maybe in some cases we didn’t sell as much timber. In some cases we could sell more timber because the species would benefit by it. You know it’s like with anything else you got endangered species- one example is the northern goshawk, and the uh oh it’s an owl I’m trying to think it oh it’s a parrot, thick billed parrot they are both endangered species but the goshawks preys on the owls or the parrots. So you had to try to meet the need for habitat for the goshawk an endangered species and still benefit the thick billed parrot. That just one that’s kind of a unique conflict, but there’s lots of conflicts. The species- the endangered species, many of them have diametrically different habitat requirements. So if you are managing those two species on the same acres, which often you are, you have to balance what you do. That’s similar in what you get into with all these laws. I’ll tell you about an experience that, and it kind of springs off the endangered species act. The activists- environmentalists in New Mexico were shutting the timber program down. Now it’s not a very big program there but there’s still several mills in the state there’s probably a dozen mills that depend on the national forest to get their raw material. The activist-environmentalists were being very successful. So I was asked to meet with the entire congressional delegation from New Mexico, and it gets a little bit of touchy I guess because they can’t be seen, the members of congress can’t be seen as trying to dictate to the federal mangers who are in the executive branch of the Government. At the it was Senator Domenici, Senator Bingmen and then there were four congressmen and I can’t remember who all of them were now, but it was about six people and I had to meet with them in one of their offices, and I wouldn’t meet with them if they had any of their staff with them. I told them look I don’t mind getting some heat if the public decides that were beating up on you too much I don’t mind getting some heat over that, but if it happens then we don’t get anything done. I would just as soon we met in private and if we decide to do anything on the basis of that meeting then well go public with that. So I met with them and when it got right down to it I said you know you guys passed these laws and you’re wanting the environmentalists to ease up on some of your constituents out there and I agree with that I don’t think they ought to be getting away with some of what they are getting away with, but we have to comply with the laws that you passed and they accepted that. The truth is we have real dilemma in this country because there’s not a- we actually do I believe need to amend the endangered species act. There are some aspects of that need more flexibility and it would not hurt the endangered species at all. But the environmentalists are not going to sit still for one word to be changed in that law. So if a member of congress raises their hand and says were going to amend the endangered species act, he’s not going to be around to that. And it’s a real dilemma in this country right now. That’s just one example. These acts all need to be looked at in concert and probably some amendments, but the one act that trumps everything is the endangered species act. I mean, it trumps everything. If you can’t do something on the land without negatively impacting an endangered species, you just can’t do it. No matter how good it might be for something else. And the endangered species act needs to have that flexibility. The activists will say that once you give an inch the timber barons are gonna come in there and take a mile. That could happen to a certain extent. I remember one time as a district ranger, we were trying to manage in Arkansas for a wilderness area. There were no areas in Arkansas that met the requirements of wilderness but we were doing some things through the planning process that were making the area more like wilderness. I was the ranger there, and I was the one who was working with the public getting that done and they kept telling me we need to somehow get this in wilderness cause when you leave, whoever comes along behind you can change the whole thing, and I said no we’ve got it all written down they won’t change a thing. I hadn’t been gone a month and the Ranger came in there and he didn’t even know didn’t even bother to look at what we had written down and sold the whole thing in timber sales, so that kind of thing does and even though your intentions are good it happens.
Interviewer: Ok. You mentioned and obviously we have talked a lot about this you moved around a lot in your career. Can you describe some of the differences between the places you lived and worked?
Jolly: Yeah. I started out in South Carolina with the Forest Service. The highest place in the forest, the forest was about 300,000 acres, the highest place on the forest was 15 feet above sea level. And I worked then in New Mexico, Arizona, and in Montana, and Idaho, and North Dakota where we had peaks over 14,000 feet so that’s some of the differences and everything in between that. It’s so diverse that its, that’s one of the really interesting things about it. But everywhere you go you have to learn something. I grew up in east Tennessee in kind of the mountains, and when I went to work on the coast, man it scared the daylights out of me. I couldn’t figure out which way was which. If it got cloudy I’d been used to getting around the woods without even thinking about it. I grew up in the woods. I remember one time I was out cruising in South Carolina and it got cloudy so I couldn’t see the sun and I wound up thinking I was coming out on the road where my rig was and I was 6 miles away from it. So I mean you have those differences. But I grew to…We just fell in love with the coast. I mean it’s one of the most interesting ecosystems to work in. It’s so productive for one thing. I learned how to prescribe burn over there. I never had set the woods on fire on purpose before. One of the first things they did when I got there was put a drip torch in my hand and told me string the fire out along cloud line, and I said when do I stop. When you get to the turn in the line so I kept going and kept going. I thought I had gone about three or four miles but I really went about a mile in a half before I came to a turn and I had set fire along the whole way. And those folks had been burning the woods since the thirties, and they knew what they were doing. I tell this story and it’s true that we burned about a third of the district every year. Mainly to get through it to keep the brush down. It was nothing to have three or four thousand acres on fire and go home and go to bed. We did that one night and I hadn’t had much experience there but they said we could go home and go to bed so I went home and went to bed. Well about 2:00 in morning I hear a knock on the door and I go and open the door and it’s the boss- the guy that was running the burning program and he says get your clothes on the wind changed last night and we need to go, we probably got some fire over the line. So we went out and the spent rest of the night we spent mopping out some spots. We were on the way back in this guy’s name is Jim Parker and I says Jim you live 40 miles north of the forest you were home in bed asleep what woke you up? He said when the wind changed I woke up. It didn’t make any noise it just changed and he was tuned in to that see and he woke up and said well I better go check. Cause we got the wind going the opposite way of where we set the fire on line. And we probably had maybe two dozen spots. It was easy enough for two of us to do it. It wasn’t really bad weather, but that was one thing you do on the coast. Now I took prescribed burnings to a lot of other places because of what I learned there. We burned in the mountains in Arkansas while I was there where they never had burned before and wouldn’t have if it hadn’t been for my experience. Now burning in the flat woods though is completely different than burning in the mountains. But I’d learned enough about the fire behavior that I thought we could pull it off you know. I was I made decisions about prescribed fire all the way through my career as a result not as a result of that but with that experience and later. And right now one of the biggest issue going is putting fire back in the woods. We have done such a good job with Smokey Bear and what we call the 10:00 policy where we have to have the fire out by 10:00 the next day that we have excluded fire where we really need to have it. But it’s so risky. I’ve given several talks here about prescribed burning in the mountains, in the west where we have so much wild land that’s not accessible and but we have with smoke jumpers and that kind of technology we put the fires out in the wilderness. You guys probably don’t know about the 1988 fires in Yellowstone Park where we burned up half the park. The parks 2 million acres and we burned half of it in a really bad fire season. What led to that fire that big fire was we have a prescribed natural fire policy where if lightning starts a fire we have to have prescriptions prepared for all of the acres out there that say if a fire starts there we can let the fire burn if it meets certain conditions. So there was two fires that were burning north of Yellowstone on two of the national forests that had burning since April. They were started by lightning in April and the decision was made to let them burn because they met the prescription for that. Prescriptions stuff like the number of times and the side of the ridge you are on there’s about 2 dozen parameters that you measure. And then if you can say well this is within those parameters then you can let it burn, and you observe it every day and either by the air or by some method and if it gets out of prescription, put it out. So we had two fires burning since April and at the end of August we get in a real bad fire season. We’re still watching these, they’re still within prescription so were still letting them burn. And then we get a start in a really tough place and the fire blows up and the one thing we hadn’t accounted for was those three fires burning together. There’s nothing in the prescription that spoke to that. We should have we learned from that what we should have done was as soon as that wildfire started and we saw that it was affecting these two other fires we should have put them all out. We didn’t do it and we burned up half of Yellowstone up. Now it killed a lot of trees in Yellowstone, but Yellowstone thirty years later is better off for it.
Interviewer: You worked for the Forest Service for thirty four years so a very long time. Can you describe some of the changes you saw during your time with the Forest Service.
Jolly: Well the biggest one was in the timber program. The planning process, working with the public was a huge change. We developed that, and we were probably better at that than anybody. We’re involving the public with our decision in the beginning when we first started doing it, it was kind of begrudging you know this public coming in here messing with me and I am trying to get a job done type of deal to where we actually had people looking forward to working with us, and being able to influence what we did in a real way, and that was a huge change and we got really good with it. Now we got sued a lot so we didn’t always succeed, but I think even most of the time even when we got sued we were doing the right thing. When you make a decision, an administrative decision, and somebody doesn’t like it they can come up with all kinds of reasons, they use those laws right there to stop you from doing it. The planning process we got and actually the thing it swung way too far…we got to where we were, because of the lawsuits primarily, but we were spending way more time than we should have been planning. You know sometimes if you had a plan and wanted to amend it would take you ten years to amend the dang thing and that took a lot of resources. The timber sale program went way downhill over that period of time. Kind of precipitous it kind of built up during some of that time. I’d like to think I was at the time I retired I had been working for a third of the time the National Forests had been in existence and I’d like to think that it was probably the most interesting third because of all the things that happened. I mean it just was. It didn’t have anything to do with necessarily with me it’s just the public interest in what we were doing. We were considered at one time the best agency in the Federal Government to work for. That’s not true anymore. In fact, it’s way down toward the bottom now. I’ve been gone and I haven’t tried to keep up with it, so I don’t really. I have some ideas that are behind some of it maybe, but I don’t really know, but it was terribly interesting. We probably moved more than most. Even though the outfit was mobile. It was really required of you to advance, and the Forest Service really puts a lot on diversity. Mostly of its people. At that time it put a high value on diversity of experience. It hardly does that now. There isn’t a mobility requirement now. We had some requirements for example if you go up the ladder you start the professionals will start out somewhere GS 5 or 7 I don’t know you know what that means, but those are just the government pay scale. Then you go all the way up to the executive pay scale where I was at the end and a lot in between and you don’t’ get there up to the top without a lot of experience. Now they don’t require it, well they don’t require as much of it. Almost any job you walk in to you’re prepared for it. Nobody is prepared at the top job say in the region is completly prepared for it. It’s just like these two guys running for President. Now neither one them are prepared. Obama wasn’t when he was running, but what you’re looking at is can they, do they what it takes to get prepared to be able to do it. That’s kind of what you betting on when you promote people in the Forest Service to take these top jobs. The two regional forester jobs I had, that’s the top. There is one line job above it that’s the chief. I didn’t aspire, really aspire to be chief. I can’t say I wouldn’t have accepted it if somebody had offered it to me, but I really was happy as regional forester. I mean you got a whole bunch of people working. You’re looking at 20 to 30 million acres of land that’s scattered out from the mountains to the bottom lands. It’s just really interesting. Most of the time we had a pretty good budget. Although we didn’t have as much as the Park Service for the kind of work we were doing. Actually a lot more recreation goes on in the forests than in the parks, like ten times as much not just a little bit more, but the parks are smaller and so, than the National Forests. I don’t know how much the National Park System is, but National Forest System is nearly 200 million acres and I suspect the National Park system is somewhere around 20 million something like that.
Interviewer: Ok we have time for just a couple more questions. How did advancements in technology affect your job if they did at all?
Jolly: Yeah the planning technology, the computer technology, allowed us to plan. I mean we had so many variables that planning for those variables and doing it without computer capability you can do it, but with the computer well you could rack up different alternatives and have a pretty good idea so the computer technology helped a lot. It helped us with budgeting it helped us with letter writing it helped us all the way across the board. I never did learn to type so I being in a line officer job I didn’t do much work myself on the computer. I did some but not much. The fire suppression technology changed enormously. We went from digging line by hand to big equipment and then using airplanes to drop retardant on it. Even that changed some. The retardant itself didn’t changed much. The retardant’s kind of a fertilizer deal. I don’t think that changed the whole time I was with the outfit once we devolved it, but the way we put it out going from fixed wing to helicopters. Even most of the fixed wings we used were old equipment. In fact that’s one of the big issues right now is the equipment is so old it’s worn out and we haven’t really tried to develop new equipment. Logging was. The technology for that changed drastically and that’s what heliostat was all about was trying to change that technology. Some of the watershed and wildlife techniques, not so much techniques some as just learning more about them. You know 1/3 of the Forest Service or one of our arms was research. We did more research in the Forest Service in wild land management than the rest of the world put together. We had people all over the world in other countries giving people advice of what to do. In fact you know Agent Orange talked about that the other day. The Forest Service was the people who put Agent Orange together. We didn’t name it, we did it for the military in Vietnam. We sent a team of people over there. They wanted to de-foliate the highlands where the trails were, where they moved the men and material. And so they wanted some help from us. We had the people who knew how to deal with herbicide cause we were using them, lots and lots of herbicide. Agent Orange is just a combination of two herbicides we have been using since the 1930’s. Became the big bugger and caught everything even though it caused practically nothing in terms of human ?. The Government paid off lots of lawsuits to people who claimed they had some malady caused by Agent Orange. Most of them weren’t even in contact with it. You could sue now if you had a problem and probably get a settlement. The two herbicides we use in this country today in the rice culture so were putting it right on what we eat. Tell me about it. There have been a lot of changes in technology that I could probably go on and on about it.
Interviewer: What about in your biography you mentioned your wife Peggy played a role and the contributions she made
Jolly: Yeah I think that’s something the Forest Service never the Forest Service did a lot of good things for its people and a few things that weren’t so good, but mostly good, but they, it never recognized as an agency the contribution that spouses make. Now when you think we moved 16 times with the Forest Service, and I could not have done that without her support. Or I could not have done it nearly as well if she was grumping about it. And then there were other times…like at uh, we’d have… I’ll give you a good example fire. We had a bad fire here on the Ouachita Forest and I was stationed at Mena. We lived in Mena and the neighboring district was a remote district. They lived not in a town. The ranger there, they came to church in Mena and we went to the same church, and a fire started on his district while we were in church. When I got home from church, the dispatcher called me and said Leon’s got a really bad fire, and we have some, we have 40 people here, do you want me to send them, and I said yes send them because we need any other help. He said well now they’re getting people out of the churches. We went to the Catholic Church so we were done in the middle of Sunday morning, but all the Protestants are in church in the middle of the day. So the ranger’s wife went to four Protestant churches, walked in on the sermon, stopped the sermon to get the men out. Now that’s the ranger’s wife doing that. She’s not a Forest Service employee. That kind of thing happened over and over. She had to drive me one time, we were on vacation and I had got word I had to be somewhere she had to drive me 500 miles and then drive back to get me to do this and did that without anything. Then when I went up to Missoula, one of the deputy’s wife was real sick so they had a detailer up there, guy detailed for two and half months away from home. Now his wife had to pick up everything at home. Now what I did in that case, I had the authority to do it. I got a really nice picture got a really nice frame for it. I had him bring her to the office and presented it to her. But there was no policy to do that or no encouragement see, and that’s what we should have been doing. We didn’t have to pay them, but we should have been more forthcoming with recognition. She had a job every time we moved, I had to change jobs but I was still working for the same outfit. She had to change jobs, she had to get a new job. So she sold real estate she was a secretary in the Air Force in Albuquerque a pretty high level secretary. She did several different, and oh when she was in Real Estate and we moved a couple times she had to take the test and the damn Real Estate business every time you change states you gotta go through the licensing process just like you didn’t know anything. Those were kind of the contributions spouses make. Now in my early days it was always the wife because there weren’t very many male spouses. Now there are just as many male spouses that have to make some kind of sacrifice when the female has the job with Forest Service and they move. And so that’s what I mean by that. And I’m pushing now, being where I am now, to get that kind of, it’s not something you can really develop a policy for, although I think maybe if they wanted to they could. But it’s getting a recognition of the sacrifices that the spouses make. I mean just moving is a hell of a deal, see. I always say, we’ve moved 19 times since we’ve been married, 16 times with the Forest Service. And when I say that what I am saying is she’s still married to me. So that’s what I meant by that. Whatever I write is going to recognize all that too. Cause I couldn’t have done most of it if she west resisting me. I couldn’t have any fun and if you’re not having any fun doing something, you’re not going to be near as productive.
Interviewer: Okay, so that’s all of the questions I have. Is there anything else you would like to discuss?
Jolly: Yeah I think one of the big advances we did make, although it was kind of kicking and screaming, was women and minorities hitting the workforce. When I came to work, I could say almost without any doubt that you were either white males or and you were either foresters or engineers. The woman did only clerical stuff. Now I think, I don’t know this for sure but somebody told me the other day that slightly over half of the line officers in the Forest Service are women. I remember when I was on the Shawnee up in Illinois, that was in the 70’s, toward the end of the 70s, there was an SAF meeting, Society of American Foresters, national meeting in St. Louis and I was there to help with the students that were there and I was talking to a prof from the University of Minnesota and he told me then that about that time over half of the students in forestry in the US were women. That’s when they…And now it’s about 55 percent of the students are women. I don’t know how it is at Auburn. There’s a forestry school there they probably don’t call it forestry school now.
Interviewer: I think it is
Jolly: Is it still? Most of them have gone to something like resource management or something like that. To try and get away from the timber view of it. We went through some weeping and gnashing of teeth in the seventies and we got sued by the women, some women in California, and they covered the gambit, but most of it was like equal pay and equal access and that kind of thing. We didn’t pay enough attention to was happening to us so we got a judgment against us that forced us then in to, well we had to give up a lot of the personnel decision making authority to the court because we had to meet certain things and we weren’t meeting. It wasn’t it wasn’t I don’t think we were actually that prejudiced we just were kind of dumb. We just didn’t pay enough attention you know. We could see this it was right in front of us I mean they were in the court. The only time that I can honestly say the only time I overtly discriminated against anybody was against white males in selecting a female forest supervisor in North Dakota. I just there was so much heat being put on me and there was because there was we had a certificate with eleven people on it and ten of them were males, not all white males but they were males, and one woman and the only reason she was put on their was because she was a woman. We usually only got ten, you know you might get fifty applicants you’re supposed to go through a sorting out process and come out with ten, but I can honestly say I never I probably discriminated some but not overtly knowing that I was discriminating, except that one time, and boy I didn’t feel good about it I tell you. I think there’s probably been some more of that done since I retired. I mean there’s no see women don’t make up fifty percent of the qualified human resource for the line officer jobs probably not more than twenty percent and now they’ve got than half of the jobs, so there’s been some kind of reverse discrimination. Not all bad you know to have a pool of qualified people you have to have lots of ‘em involved and some of them are not going to be as qualified as others but that’s true as with all men. But that was a major thing. The training of the National Forest Service, I don’t have a good feel for it now, but the training I got was superb and did help my advancement. One of the things the Forest Service did and I don’t know, I haven’t worked much for anybody else, but they would throw and I think it helped me more than anything they would throw a job at you without much instruction and then see how you did. I had several of those a lot of these task forces that I led they were testing me to see if I was good material for a regional forester see. I probably got tested more than the average, but one of the things was because I liked to do it. Some of those were you know the one on doing the environmental impact statement that required me to be away from home for six month in that particular year, except the weekend. I worked for a really neat regional forester in Atlanta and we couldn’t come home every weekend without paying for it ourselves. We could come home once a month; well he was the boss he told the people in DC I want him home every weekend because I may need to talk to him, and he had no idea if he was going to talk to me he just wanted me to be able to come home without having to pay for it myself. I worked for some… I only had one boss that I would not go to work for again; all the rest of them were really good with varying degrees. Now they asked one of the guys that interviewed in at the reunion this summer and they asked and it was the same its Lincoln Bramwell and who’s the guy over at Auburn he’s with the Forest Service there’s somebody in the Forest Service I think or maybe it’s a prof. Lincoln Bramwell is the Forest Service Historian out at DC and they asked who the Forest Service had the most effect on you and you haven’t asked that. I did some thinking about it and moving around like we did I was I don’t think there was one person that I could say had a much greater impact on me. However the guy I worked for when I was district ranger on the Ouachita Forest, and the ranger there, I didn’t like very much but he had a significant positive affect on my… he’s the kind of guy who would chew you out right in front of people, and I got in a way, I learned from that number one I learned not to do it but I also learned how to cope with it if it’s being done to you so it didn’t bother me. He just, he had a little drinking problem. He wasn’t an alcoholic but he had a little drinking problem when he had a snoot full heed get ugly, never did get physical but he’d get ugly, and I got chewed out a few times during those times. I can still look back and he’s gone now but I can still look back on him as had a positive impact on me. He insisted that we maintain external contacts and I learned how to do that really good and I probably wouldn’t have if it hadn’t been for him, see. He believed in leaving you alone, not micromanaging his subordinates and I believe that most really good managers who are supervising other people, they have a lazy streak so they learn how get other people to do the work. I think I could almost look at anybody who’s really good at managing people and find a lazy streak. I am being a little facetious, but I think it’s true. So I don’t know if there’s, what I’m gonna do in this in my own what I’ve got. If you guys want to take a minute and look at that, if you can, you don’t have a computer with you? Let me get that flash card and let you look at it.
Interviewer: Let me stop the recording
Jolly: Are we done?
Interviewer: Yes Sir
The Interviewee: Dave Jolly is a native of eastern Tennessee. He studied civil engineering at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, and forest management at North Carolina State University, earning a Bachelor of Science in Forest Management. He also studied public management at the University of Washington. He began working with the USDA Forest Service in October 1961. His positions included Junior Forester (Francis Marion National Forest, Wambaw Ranger District at McClellanville, South Carolina), Assistant District Ranger (Ouachita NF, Caddo RD at Glenwood, Arkansas), District Ranger (Mena Ranger District at Mena, Arkansas), Regional Environmental Coordinator (Southern Region), Forest Supervisor (Shawnee NF at Harrisburg, Illinois), Assistant to the Director of Timber Management, Deputy Director of Timber Management (both in Washington, D. C.), Deputy Regional Forester (Southwest Region), and Regional Forester (in Southwest and Northern regions). He retired in March 1995. He is married to Peggy.
The Interviewer: Jody Noll is a graduate student in history at Auburn University, Auburn, Alabama. He is from Gainesville, FL. He holds a Bachelor’s degree from the University of South Florida St. Petersburg. He is studying history at Auburn University.
Description of the Interview: The interview was conducted at the kitchen table in the Jollys’ home on Lake Martin near Alexander City, Alabama. Another graduate student, Daniel Williams, was also present. This interview was conducted for a class project in Dr. Aaron Shapiro’s Fall 2012 Introduction to Public History (Auburn University) in conjunction with the USDA Forest Service.
Content of the Interview: Mr. Jolly talks briefly about his childhood, educational background, and motives for joining the Forest Service. He then discusses his various job duties and the broad range of projects on which he worked. These include fire suppression, public and governmental relations, environmental issues, timber management, and the Helistat Project. He shares some of his unique experiences while on the job. He also talks about some aspects of day-to-day life as an employee of the Forest Service, including frequent family moves and the contributions of his wife, Peggy, to his work.
Notes on Recording: The interview was recorded with a Zoom Digital Recorder. The quality is excellent. There are occasional background noises, such as the chimes of a clock and the rocking of the table.