The Potter Diaries

The Diary of Albert F. Potter (Former Associate Chief of Forest Service) is a collection of diary entries spanning about 145 days in 1902 from July to November. In that time, Potter traveled more than 3,000 miles across Utah by train, wagon, horseback, and by foot. In his diary, Potter details his experiences surveying the land and visiting with locals about the possibility of establishing a forest reserve.

Potter's background was primarily in running a livestock operation in Northern Arizona until a combination of drought and competition with other grazing companies sent him to look for work in public offices.

In 1900, Potter became a guide for Gifford Pinchot, chief of the Division of Forestry, and Potter led Pinchot across the mountains of Arizona. Shortly after the journey, Pinchot assigned Potter to the task of surveying Utah's forest with the intention of eventually creating several forest reserves throughout Utah.

USU Forestry Extension is making this diary available to those interested in learning more about Utah's forest and rangeland conditions around the turn of the century and to help put today's conditions in context.

Potter's diary entries have been retyped as-is with no editing for grammar or spelling. The original transcript is located in USU's Special Collections and Archives.

Albert F. Potter on a horse
Albert F. Potter Used by permission, Utah State Historical Society, all rights reserved

To read about Potter's experiences crisscrossing Utah from the Wasatch Mountains the Colorado Plateau, you can download the diary.

You can also see Potter's route.

Potter's route provided by USDA Forest Service.