The Potter Diaries

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.

Albert F. Potter

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

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.

To read about Potter's experiences crisscrossing Utah from the Wasatch Mountains the Colorado Plateau, you can either download the entire diary as a PDF or click one of the links below to get started.

You can also see Potter's route.

Potter's route provided by USDA Forest Service.

Salt Lake City to Cache Valley; July 1-9, 1902

Bear Lake (Garden City); July 10-11, 1902

Cache Valley; July 12-18, 1902

Salt Lake City Area (Big & Little Cottonwood Canyons); July 26, 1902

Alta to Heber; July 27-28, 1902

Heber Valley, American Fork, Provo; July 31-August 6, 1902

Heber to Strawberry Valley, Wallsburg; August 7-11, 1902

Utah County; August 12-18, 1902

Indianola to Clear Creek; August 19-22, 1902

White River Basin to Indian Creek; August 23-27, 1902

Scofield to Fairview; August 28-29, 1902

Fountain Green to Levan; September 8-11, 1902

Levan to Fayette; September 12-16, 1902

Moroni, Nephi, Mt. Pleasant; September 17-19, 1902

Fairview to Castledale; September 22-25, 1902

Castledale, Orangeville, Joe's Valley; September 26-October 1, 1902

Sanpete County, Emery; October 2-9, 1902

Sevier County to Thousand Lake Mountain; October 10-16, 1902

Teasdale to Boulder Mountain; October 17-20, 1902

Teasdale, Loa, Fremont, Salina; October 21-24, 1902

Salina, Mayfield, Richfield, Salt Lake City; October 25-November 3, 1902

Joseph City, Marysvale, Beaver; November 4-9, 1902

Bear Valley, Parowan November; 10-14, 1902

Panguitch Area November; 15-22, 1902