Early Forest Rangers were custodians of the forest, riding horseback over mountain trails and camping out, protecting the forest from fires, poachers, and trespassers.
Most were outdoorsmen, former cowboys, trappers and woodsmen. They were hired for their loyalty, steadiness, courage, and common sense. According to the first Forest Service manual called "The Use Book," applicants had to be first of all, thoroughly sound and able-bodied, capable of enduring hardships and performing severe labor under trying conditions."
Rangers worked long hours for modest salaries. during the five year Emory Finch served as Ranger, his average pay was $17 per week.
Each Ranger was issued a water bucket, a rake, a single-bitted axe, a short-handled shovel and a badge. He had to provide and care for his own saddle and pack horses.