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cayton ranger station foundation store
All items below can also be purchased over the counter directly from the Rifle, Colorado Ranger Station Headquarters.

All proceeds benefit the restoration and ongoing preservation of the Cayton Ranger Station, one of the oldest ranger stations in the United States.


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James G. Cayton: Pioneer Forest Ranger
by David W. Cayton & Caroline E. Metzler
Price: $35.00
Leather-Bound: 240 pages
Publisher: David W. Cayton
Language: English
ISBN-13: 978-1-882426-33-1

A True Story Out Of The Old West

This 240-page pictorial history of an early forest ranger’s life draws from  sixty years’ worth of memorabilia and one man’s Forest Service diaries kept up-to-date every four hours.

It portrays the roots of the conservation movement in the United States through the actions of an everyday hero. One of the original 71 rangers of the new Forest Service, Cayton guarded his 677-square-mile territory (then the Grand River District in western Colorado) on horseback – regularly riding twenty miles per day.

Jim’s wife Birdie, known as “Sweetheart of the Forest Service” worked alongside her husband at times in the field, and regularly staffed the ranger station that the couple built together by hand.

Reading their story and viewing the more than 400 photos and documents in this beautifully etched, leather-bound coffee table book will give you a memorable experience of real lives lived taming the West.

Please choose a volume:

Purchase the 3 volume set:
The Diaries of James G. Cayton: Pioneer Forest Ranger
Volumes I, II, III
by James G. Cayton (Transcribed by Kathy Hill)
Price: $25.00 per volume
FastBack-Bound (Printed Tape Binding)
Vol. I: 421 pages
Vol. II: 456 pages
Vol. III: 292 pages
Volumes I,II,III Full Set
Publisher: David W. Cayton
Language: English
SKU: #2000

This compilation is a rare resource in the history of the United States and its USDA Forest Service.

These volumes are the unedited diaries of James G. Cayton, one of the original seventy-one rangers of the service. They were written in the field—under conditions of extreme weather and over the broad expanse of two large districts covered mostly on horseback. They were kept updated every four hours according to the strict regulations of the agency at that time.

The first volume covers Jim’s early service on what is now the Rifle District of the White River National Forest where he traversed a 667-square-mile territory on horseback, regularly riding twenty miles a day. The second and third volumes cover the first and second half, respectively, of Jim’s service on what is now the Rico District of the San Juan National Forest. These diaries are filled with the names of local townspeople, ranchers, miners, and other pioneers in a district known for its wild characters and colorful stories.

The entire 4,404 typewritten Cayton diary entries were transcribed by Forest Service volunteer Kathy Hill from the original accounts written in Cayton’s hand and recovered from a twenty year period, ranging from 1909 to 1929. These transcriptions are literal—no attempts were made to fill in obscure areas, correct misspellings, etc. They are firsthand narratives of a pioneer forest ranger’s work and experiences in the early days of the Forest Service. Purchase individually or the full set.

The Diaries of James G. Cayton: Pioneer Forest Ranger
Volumes I, II, III on CD
by James G. Cayton (Transcribed by Kathy Hill)
Price: $20.00
Format: CD
Publisher: David W. Cayton
Language: English
SKU# 3000

This CD contains all three volumes of the Diaries of James G. Cayton which were transcribed by Forest Service volunteer Kathy Hill from the original accounts written in Cayton’s hand and recovered from a twenty year period, ranging from 1909 to 1929. They are firsthand narratives of a pioneer forest ranger’s work and experiences in the early days of the Forest Service.

Note Cards (Set of 4)
Price: $5.00
Artist: Richard F. “Dick” Ostergaard
Language: English
SKU# 4000

This is a set of four beautiful, cream colored note cards with matching envelopes.

Each are blank on the inside and feature the sketch of the historic Cayton Ranger Station, circa 1912, created by artist, Richard Ostergaard. The back features a description of the Ranger Station and a mini biography of the artist.