measure had been defeated, but his efforts had made him many
enemies in the forest products industry.
In the 1930s, there was a name for people who thought as
Silcox did: communist. And indeed, after five years on the job,
in the month before the hurricane blew through New England,
Silcox was charged as such during a congressional hearing by
Representative Noah Mason, a Republican of Illinois.
Silcox’s reputation as anti-industry was well established at
the time that New England’s landowners faced the daunting
dilemma of salvaging value from their downed timber. So when
Silcox designated a deputy to manage the New England Forest
Emergency project, he turned to a man who was on better terms
with the forest industry. Ted Tinker had been supervisor of two
national forests, then worked on land acquisition in the Lake
States of Michigan, Wisconsin, and Minnesota. Later, when the
Lake States became a Forest Service Region unto itself, he was
named to lead it. Success in that role brought him in 1935 to
Washington, where he was named the first head of the State and
Private Forestry Division. By all accounts, Tinker was a pragmatist, someone who knew how to get things done.
Tinker worked well with the state foresters and with the
forest products industry. He had run interference for his more
idealistic boss before, assuring the industry that any regulation
would be local, not federal. And even though he could have
been deemed suspect because he’d spent much of his career in
land acquisition for the Forest Service, Tinker had plenty of
experience working with private landowners in the Lake States
district, where the private acreage greatly outweighed that of the
public, and he’d earned their trust. In a 1954 profile in American
Forests, Nard Jones wrote about Tinker’s assignment to lead the
New England emergency effort, “It was a big job, a tough job
that had to be done in a hurry. And it was fraught with political
dynamite. Ted Tinker got that job.”
At the same time he was overseeing the buildup of the New
England firefighting capacity, Tinker was making the rounds,
meeting with all the state foresters and with representatives of
the industry. He sought their advice and their help in analyz-
ing the extent of the salvage problem and what should be done
about it. That said, there was never any doubt that the Forest
Service would step in to buy much of what had blown down.
Behind the scenes, he and his boss were figuring out how to
accomplish all of this without an appropriation from Congress,
which was not expected to return to Washington any time soon.
Neither the Forest Service nor the Department of Agriculture
had borrowing power, so they had to come up with a different
source of funds.
Tinker proposed to make use of the Reconstruction Finance
Corporation (RFC), an entity wholly owned by the federal government that administered aid to state and local governments
and made loans to private entities. He suggested that the RFC
could make available a revolving loan fund of $10 million to a
Left: Earl W. “Ted” Tinker, with pipe, was the pragmatist who led the U.S. Forest
Service’s hurricane cleanup efforts. Below: The morning after the storm: a stand of
white pine topped and toppled.