In most nature places around the US you will find evidence of logging; in fact, I know of only a handful of virgin stands of forest left remaining across the entire country. Why were the trees clearcut in areas? Usually it’s due to mining, lumber, or agricultural activities. In this case, the stump is a result of nearby lead and zinc mining, which require lots of timber to brace the shafts that are dug into the mountain side.
Unlike the forests in the eastern US, where logs and stumps disintegrate and can get absorbed into the loam over the course of a couple of decades or so, stumps and logs in many of the western forests can last for many decades or even centuries, especially in arid locations like this one. The stump above was cut in 1863, which means that it’s already lasted 154 years. I imagine it will last at least another century or more.