The Mystery of the Catfaces
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It is my understanding that catfaces have been discovered in California,
Colorado, Wyoming, Alaska, and possibly 100's in Utah.
It may be feasible but unlikely that one person alone could be responsible for so many catface symbols on trees and rocks.
The following explanation appears to more plausible.
A friend of mine named Darrel Spreck loves to research.
He recently sent me some information which appears to fill in the holes to our history puzzle.
The following are two articles he found which state that the government personal had been directed to mark trees with catface symbols.
Salt Lake Mining Review 1915-02-28 Marking Forest Trails
Davis County Clipper 1915-03-26 Marking Forest Trails
For those of you who may have trouble with these links here is the information from the top link:
Marking Forest Trails.
Ogden, Utah, Feb. 25. - Word has gone forth from forest headquarters to
have the roads, trails and streams
on the national forests well marked before the camping season opens. In consequence signs conveying
accurate, reliable information are being prepared, at odd times during the winter when storms and deep snow
make it impracticable to engage in outside work, to be placed at points where needed throughout the forests.
At every crossroad or point where there is a probability of leaving the main roads or trails a sign will indicate
the direction and distance to local geographic points. If the trail is well defined there will be no further
directions until another point of divergence is reached; if; however, the trail is so dim that it is hard to
distinguish it from the many game and stock trails, it will be "blazed;" that is, trees along it will be marked
with a catface slash under a line at a height of five feet. These blazes should not be confused with a blaze
without a line, or bar, above it, since the latter are often made by hunters, or others for the purpose of
locating game or other things they have cached.
No longer will travelers have to rely on the directions, sometimes misunderstood,
that they get from the
occasional meeting with other pleasure seekers, but with the trails plainly marked persons visiting a forest
for the first time will not be delayed and lose patience in taking a wrong trail at a junction point; nor will
they travel for miles in doubt as to whether they have passed the point where they were directed to turn
off from the main road to find a delightful little spot for camping, backed away among the wooded hills
by the side of one of the numerous mountain meadows, just large enough to afford abundant pasturage
for the camp stock.
Many localities have two or more creeks which have been known by the same
name, such as Deer, Moose,
Bear, or Rapid creek. This duplication of names is being corrected, leaving the best known creek to retain
its local name, and restoring to the other, so far as practicable, its original distinctive and euphonious Indian
name. Maps have been prepared of some localities, showing creeks, roads, trails, and the location of ranger
stations. The practice of calling at the latter is becoming the more general as attitude of the forest service
and its local representatives toward the traveling public is the better understood. The ranger, familiar with
the remote points of his district and its animal life, welcomes visitors, and lends such assistance as is
practicable, including the use of his telephone, which has, on the occasion of accident, been the means of
summoning medical assistance when delay would have resulted in prolonged suffering and possible death.
While well-marked trails and telephone service are of great convenience
to the camper. The sheet-iron stove
has probably contributed more to his comfort than any other one thing. A camp outfit, be it for one or a dozen,
is not complete if it does not include a camp stove. The convenience and comfort in preparing the meals, the
saving of both labor and wool in keeping the pot boiling, and reducing to the minimum the danger of forest fires,
make it almost indispensable. These stoves can be bought at sporting goods and outfitting stores at prices
ranging from 55 cents for a small camp broiler to $3 for a 4-hole collapsible stove weighing about eleven pounds.
Good stoves, not collapsible, can be had for from $1.50 to $2.25.
To the person going camping for the first time, or to the man with whom
camping has become a habit, a visit to
a store that specializes in camp equipment and sporting goods will be a long step toward making his summer
outing a success.
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Page created 10-14-09.