Even before Arizona was a state, government scientists walked and rode across its broad, open landscapes from nearly sea level to over 12,000 feet of elevation, observing its diverse vegetation and climate. In 1889, biologist C. Hart Merriam traversed northern Arizona and found six of the seven world life zones he would later describe by latitude and elevation. The existence of such varied life zones across such a short distance and a few hundred feet of elevation change fascinated scientists. One particular life zone interested foresters and loggers. Extensive stands of western yellow pine (Pinus ponderosa) grew at montane elevations from west of Flagstaff, Arizona, eastward into New Mexico. One of the foresters to visit the region in the 1890s was Gifford Pinchot who would later become the first Chief of the U.S. Forest Service.