Man came to the area now known as the Angelina National Forest around 8,000 years ago. Archeological sites have been located as part of the U.S. Forest Service's cultural resource inventory in addition to those resources located and excavated prior to the construction of Lake Sam Rayburn Reservoir. These sites document the evidence of man's presence over the entire period since then.
One of Angelina County's original settlers, John H. Graham, lies buried in a small cemetery overlooking the creek which bears his name in the southwestern part of the forest. His name and birthdate may still be seen on his grave marker.
Of more recent setting is the old Aldridge Sawmill site near the terminus of a spur of the Sawmill Hiking Trail near the Neches River south of the Boykin Springs Recreation Area. Hand-poured concrete structures remain, rapidly deteriorating under the onslaught of vandalism and the advancing forest cover, and these stand as mute testimony to the aspirations and dreams of turn-of-the-century timber barons.
In 1934, the Texas Legislature approved a resolution to urge federal purchase of land to create National Forests in Texas. In 1935, acquisition began on the Davy Crockett, Sam Houston, Angelina and Sabine National Forests.
Early management efforts centered on timber inventory, planting trees and fire protection. Much of the land had begun to seed-in naturally, due mostly to the Texas Forest Service's fire protection efforts which had begun years earlier. The two agencies, the Texas Forest Service and the U.S. Forest Service, began a harmonious working relationship with the inception of the National Forests in Texas.