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The Fred Herrig Story

This photo of Ant Flat’s first Forest Ranger, Fred Herrig, was taken from npshistory.com

The book is online, and tells the early stories of the area.  The following article, from http://npshistory.com/ tells the story.

FRED HERRIG STORY

Fred Herrig was a rough and ready, early-day Forest Ranger. He administered the area of Ant Flats, Tally Lake, and part of the North Fork during his tenure. Herrig was from Alsace-Lorraine, was very dark, and wore a handlebar mustache.

A veteran of service in the Spanish-American War with Roosevelt’s Rough Riders, he was the largest man in the regiment. He punched cows for Roosevelt on his ranch on the Little Missouri in North Dakota. When Roosevelt organized the Rough Riders for his Cuban campaign, Fred was packing ore in British Columbia. Roosevelt wired him from San Antonio, Texas, to come down and join them. Herrig did. In Roosevelt’s book “The Rough Riders,” Herrig is mentioned several times. He was breveted second lieutenant (a commission higher than that for which he received pay) for special services for tracking a string of mules, loaded with machine guns, that got away during a skirmish. Several full-blooded Indians gave up the job. Then Fred tracked the mules into Spanish territory and recovered the mules and the guns.

After Roosevelt became president, he appointed Herrig as Forest Ranger with headquarters at Ant Flats. Herrig built the first Ranger Station there in 1904.

Herrig told the story that, in 1905, he sent in a monthly diary with a lot of daily records reading, “Rained hard, stayed in camp.” When his next check was quite a bit short, Herrig saw to it that it never rained so hard again. A story which persisted over the years was that the Supervisor became perturbed at Herrig one day and relieved him of his responsibilities as Forest Ranger. When President Roosevelt learned of this, he immediately sent out orders for Fred to be reinstated.

There is also a story that Teddy Roosevelt, on a western tour, saw Fred in the audience and motioned for him to come to the speaker’s platform. But before this big, dark, villainous-looking fellow got very far, he was collared by two plainclothesmen.

(Some of the details regarding Fred Herrig were provided by material written by Edward G. Stahl. Stahl left the Forest Service in 1911; he died in 1957.)

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