National Public Lands Day: Orchards and Fruit Trees

September 23, 2014

The leaves on the trees are changing colors, pumpkins seem to be popping up everywhere, and it is getting darker earlier. Fall is in the air and coinciding with the beginning of fall is National Public Lands Day, a celebration that began in 1994 and takes place on the last Saturday of September where volunteers across the country work together to beautify public lands. Also coinciding with the season is the annual trip to the orchard to pick apples and drink cider. In the spirit of fall, apple picking, and National Public Lands Day, we are looking at two companion publications from the National Park Service about orchards and fruit trees.

024-005-01266-4Fruitful Legacy: A Historic Context of Orchards in the United States, with Technical Information for Registering Orchards in the National Register of Historical Places

This 2009 publication follows the history of fruit trees, their presence in national parks, and how to properly register the trees. The first half and more interesting half of the publication informs readers on how fruit trees came to the United States:

  • From 1600-1800, European settlers planted seeds in irregular patterns to grow fruit trees for the purpose of producing cider and animal feed, not to produce edible fruit.
  • During the 1800s, commercial orchards were established where trees were planted in a specific pattern with the purpose of eating raw fruit. This practice started on the east coast and migrated west along with the expansion of the country.
  • From the late-1880s to mid-1900s, the U.S. Department of Agriculture was established and a new generation of growers started using pesticides, mechanical irrigation systems, cold storage, and mechanized equipment.
  • From the mid-1900s to present, the practice transitioned from amateur, small-scale farm orchards to professional commercial orchards. It was determined that small, dwarf trees produced greater yield and were more profitable.

024-005-01304-1014Historic Orchard and Fruit Tree Stabilization Handbook

Published in 2012, this publication follows Fruitful Legacy and specifically focuses on preserving orchards and fruit trees in California. Orchards and fruit trees are growing across 15 percent of California State Parks. Established overtime by Native Americans, Spanish missionaries, and the settlers from the Gold Rush, orchards and fruit trees can live from 50-200 years depending on the type of tree. The publication goes in depth on how to grow, maintain, and protect orchards and fruit trees and is intended for professionals who work for the California State Park Systems. However, the information can be adapted by anyone who wants to know best practices for growing fruit trees whether it is an entire orchard or a single tree.

Embrace fall and celebrate National Public Lands Day with a trip to your local orchard!


About the Author: Our guest blogger is Emma Wojtowicz, Public Relations Specialist in GPO’s Office of Public Affairs.

50 Years of the Wilderness Act

September 3, 2014

keeping in wildFifty years ago on September 3, 1964, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Wilderness Act into law. This established the National Wilderness Preservation System (NWPS) and designated 9.1 million acres of wildlands for preservation. In the last 50 years, Congress has added an additional 100 million acres to the System.

Lyndon Johnson signing the Wilderness Act of 1964 (

Lyndon Johnson signing the Wilderness Act of 1964 (

The 757 wilderness areas within the NWPS are managed by all four Federal land managing agencies: the Bureau of Land Management, Fish and Wildlife Service, Forest Service, and National Park Service. To learn more about the Wilderness Act and the NWPS, visit the University of Montana’s

The Wilderness Institute, sponsored by numerous Federal agencies, organizations, and individuals, has planned a wide array of events and projects to commemorate this historic legislation. Check it out here.

The U.S. Government Printing Office offers access to an extensive variety of publications and resources related to the Wilderness Act.

We’ll start with the U.S. Government Bookstore. Interesting publications can be found grouped by agency here:

001-001-00686-6Of particular interest to this topic is a publication from the U.S. Forest Service: Wildland Fire in Ecosystems: Fire and Nonnative Invasive Plants. This 16-chapter publication was designed to help increase understanding of plant invasions and fire. The nonnative invasive species that pose the greatest threat for fires are described in detail. Also detailed are the emerging fire-invasive issues in each bioregion through the United States. This publication is the perfect resource for fire management and ecosystem-based management planning.

001-000-04738-8Another publication from the Forest Service, How a Tree Grows, describes the science of how leaves, roots, trunks, soil, and more work together to grow a tree.

024-001-03629-1Also an interesting publication related to this topic is Malheur’s Legacy: Celebrating a Century of Conservation, 1908-2008, Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, Southeast Oregon. This book tells the story of this Refuge’s first hundred years, as well as the story of the Native Americans who first inhabited the land, the early European settlers, how Theodore Roosevelt established it as a bird refuge, and the work of the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1930s. This amazing wildlife refuge is home to 320 species of birds and 58 mammal species. You’ll also want to check out the National Wildlife Refuge System: A Visitor’s Guide. It contains a map showing national wildlife refuges that provide recreational and educational opportunities and provides tips for visiting national wildlife refuges. The publication also lists refuges in all 50 States, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands and describes the best wildlife viewing season and features of each refuge.024-010-00724-9

For access to more Wilderness Act resources, you can visit GPO’s Catalog of U.S. Government Publications (CGP).

Through the CGP, you can access the U.S. Forest Service’s report, Keeping it Wild: an Interagency Strategy to Monitor Trends in Wilderness Character across the National Wilderness Preservation System. The Interagency Wilderness Character Monitoring Team—representing the

Department of the Interior (DOI) Bureau of Land Management, DOI Fish and Wildlife Service, DOI National Park Service, DOI U.S. Geological Survey, and the U.S. Forest Service—offers in this document an interagency strategy to monitor trends in wilderness character across the National Wilderness Preservation System.

Also accessible through the CGP is The National Atlas of the United States of America. National Wilderness Preservation System, from the U.S. Geological Survey. This map of the National Wilderness Preservation System for the United States shows all designated Wilderness areas, and the color of each area depicts which of the Federal agencies administers the Wilderness. In addition to the map, insets on the front side show wilderness photos, a summary of the wilderness legacy, and quotes from citizens about what wilderness means to them. The back side of the map provides general information about the wilderness system in text, images, and sketches. In addition, a table lists acreage, year of establishment, and administrative information for each Wilderness.

GPO’s Federal Digital System (FDsys) also offers resources related to the Wilderness Act:

You can also visit a Federal depository library near you to discover what other publications the Federal Government has to offer on the Wilderness Act, the NWPS, wildlife, and much more. Locations are nationwide. Find the Federal depository nearest you by visiting the Federal Depository Library Directory.

Cheers to the great American treasure that is the National Wilderness Preservation System! Happy 50th, and here’s to many more.


In addition to clicking on the links in the article above to find the publications, you may find these publications from the following:

Shop Online Anytime: You can buy these print publications (with FREE Standard Shipping worldwide) from the U.S. Government Online Bookstore website at

Order by Phone: You may also order print editions by calling GPO’s  Customer Contact Center Monday through Friday, 8 am to 5:30 pm Eastern (except US Federal holidays). From US and Canada, call toll-free 1.866.512.1800. DC or International customers call +1.202.512.1800.

Shop our Retail Store: Buy a copy of any print editions at GPO’s retail bookstore at 710 North Capitol Street NW, Washington, DC 20401, open Monday–Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., except Federal holidays, Call (202) 512-0132 for information or to arrange in-store pick-up.

About the author: Our guest blogger is Kelly Seifert, Lead Planning Specialist for GPO’s Library Services & Content Management Division that supports the Federal Depository Library Program.


Summer Travels

July 7, 2010

Government publications are more than just books. Guest blogger Kelly Seifert reminds us that maps and guides can be just as engrossing, especially at this time of year.

If you’re planning on doing some travel around the country this summer, you can start your planning with the National Parks System Map and Guide. It features a map of the United States, including Guam, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands, showing the locations of parks, historic sites, and other properties operated by the National Park Service. On the reverse side, an alphabetical list of each National Park System property describes its activities, services, and facilities. If you’re planning on exploring any of the 391 destinations of the National Parks Service this summer, this is an essential take along. You can also easily access this publication by visiting your local Federal depository library. Locate a library in your area here.

To make your trip complete, check out these other great publications as well: 1) the National Trails System: Map and Guide, which includes descriptions of national historic and scenic trails, and 2) the National Wildlife Refuge System: A Visitor’s Guide, which contains a map showing national wildlife refuges that provide recreational and educational opportunities. The Visitor’s Guide also provides tips for visiting national wildlife refuges and lists refuges in all 50 States, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands, along with the best wildlife viewing season and the features of each refuge.

Why leave the country for a little R&R when there are so many national treasures right on your doorstep? Happy Travels!

Clara Barton: Clara Barton National Historic Site, Maryland

April 21, 2010

It’s National Parks Week, which made me think about the National Park Service’s long-running Handbook series. Although I enjoy any and all national parks, I tend to seek out those with archaeological or historical connections. Research reveals that the Park Service began publishing its Historical Handbook series in 1949. Although the original handbooks in the series are out of print (you can find a list and cover images here), the series continues today.

A favorite of mine is the Clara Barton Historical Site and its accompanying Handbook. For one thing, the site is in Glen Echo, Maryland, which for residents of the Washington, DC area means Glen Echo Park, another favorite Park Service place. For years it was an amusement park, and remnants of those days remain, as does a carousel and a ballroom for dancing.  It’s worth a visit all by itself.

The Barton house presents quite a contrast. Originally built from timber scavenged from the Johnstown flood for use as a storage depot for Red Cross supplies, in 1897 it became both the headquarters of the American Red Cross and the home of its founder, Clara Barton. (Visiting the site on a hot summer day always makes me wonder what life was like in this rather humid area before air conditioning). The size of this 38-room house, the rooms themselves, and the dark pine paneling all conjure up life in a unique turn-of-the century home/office/volunteer center dedicated to helping victims of disaster at home and abroad.

The Clara Barton Handbook presents the story of the house, the person, and the organization concisely and lucidly. Like all of the Park Service handbooks, it’s also a quality product in design. If you’re planning a visit, or just want to learn more about this remarkable place, I’d recommend it.

You can find a list of Handbooks, including quite a few that cover historical parks, here.

Charley Harper Posters

April 7, 2010

It’s easy to become blasé about the things you deal with on the job. For years, I’ve been seeing a variety of National Park Service posters whose design was along similar lines. They depicted stylized birds and animals, evoking, at least for me, a sort of Native American sensibility. I admit, though, that this is more thought than I actually put into them. If asked, I would have surmised vaguely that the stylistic resemblance was due to some kind of “look” the Park Service was trying to achieve, rather than because they were the work of a particular artist.

Recently, we reprinted a number of these posters and our content acquisition staff kept referring to them as “Charley Harper” posters. Then we got an inquiry from the depository library side of the house about “Charley Harper” posters. My first response: Who’s he? Well, Charley Harper (1922-2007) was a noted American artist, particularly esteemed for his wildlife posters, prints, and illustrations in a style he described as “minimal realism.” He’s also an eminently collectible artist, so once again Government publications suddenly appear in a new guise,  far removed from the tired old stereotype.

These posters are sold by stores in the various national parks and also are available from GPO. It’s easy to pick them out! To see all of the posters and handbooks produced by our Park Service colleagues in Harpers Ferry, West Virginia, go here, where you’ll also find a link to the various parks associations that sell Park Service products.

March Madness

March 30, 2010

College basketball playoffs are wildly popular and followed by millions of fans, including some in our office. Last year, we came up with the idea of doing a “Sweet 16” playoff of Government publications on GPO’s online bookstore. After working with our web support team, which is both creative and very patient, we launched our first playoff last year. We sent out a message to all of our customers who have requested information about our products and sat back to see if anything would happen. It did! By the time our “tournament” was over, we received more than 139,000 votes and a mention in the New York Times business blog.

I think this proves that Government publications have fans, and highly motivated fans at that. The winner? You can find it here.

Now it’s March again, and this year it’s a National Parks Playoff, featuring eight National Park Service handbooks and eight posters by the noted artist Charley Harper (who will be the subject of a future posting here). If you get a chance, stop by and vote!

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