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The Gallitzin Forest District was established in January 1916 as a Forest Fire Warden Headquarters. The land now part of the Babcock forest area was logged between 1897 and 1914 by the E.V. Babcock Lumber Company of Pittsburgh. The company sold a large tract to the Commonwealth in 1949 and 1950. The first purchases of lands that make up the Rager Mountain forest area were made in the early and mid-1960's. These forests were harvested in the 1800's to manufacture charcoal for the iron and steel industry. Several of the old flattened charcoal beds are still visible scattered across the mountain.

Coal mining has been an important industry in this area since the early 1900's. Many abandoned deep-mine tunnels have been ripped open by subsequent strip mining operations. Mining done today under improved mining laws and modern methods is doing much to heal the scars of the past. In 1991, 3,009 acres of surface land were deeded to the Bureau of Forestry in exchange for coal under 92.9 acres in previously mined areas of Pot Ridge.