In October 1891, the White River Plateau Timberland Reserve, the precursor of the White River National Forest, was set aside by executive order of President Benjamin Harrison. It was the first such designation in Colorado and only the second in the nation. At the time, it covered more than 1.1 million acres of land and was overseen by just one supervisor and three rangers.
In 1901, the White River hosted Vice President Teddy Roosevelt on one of his big game hunting expeditions based out of the Hotel Colorado in Glenwood Springs. Roosevelt was successful in killing a trophy mountain lion that measured eight feet in length and weighed in excess of 220 pounds. Following an Act of Congress in 1905, “forest reserves” were renamed “national forests.” It was at this time it became known as the White River National Forest.
In 1932, with the opening of Hayden Peak, a ski area near Aspen, the White River National Forest took the first step toward becoming the home of some of the most renowned ski areas in the country and the world.