Monday, July 22, 2019

GIFFORD PINCHOT, The Father of American Conservation By Polly Guerin

Gifford Pinchot "Father of American Conservation"
In September 1963, while giving a speech dedicating Grey Towers, Gifford Pinchot's ancestral home in Milford, PA to the National Forest Service, President John F. Kennedy declared Gifford Pinchot the "FATHER OF AMERICAN CONSERVATION."  
      Yet, in some regard, Gifford Pinchot's
name has been lost to history, He may not be as oft quoted as Thoreau or John Muir, but  PINCHOT has a well-earned spot in American wilderness conservation serving as its First Chief, and friend and advisor to
president Theodore Roosevelt.
      GIFFORD CHOOSES TO BE A FORESTER: While other career paths were available to this son of a wealthy clan, he chose forestry.  It was an odd choice at the time because in the 1870s there were no United States Foresters.  
      That did not deter the outdoor adventurer. He had honed his skills as a boy scouting the woods, hunting and  fishing around his boyhood home in Pennsylvania. Later his father, James, recognized the destruction of natural resources overtaking the nation in the 19th century, advised his eldest son, Gifford to consider a career in forestry. thus introducing the idea of conservation to America. Gifford took naturally to the suggestion attended college and with further knowledge of forestry, acquired in Europe, Gifford returned home determined to implant conservative techniques to save our forests.
1925 Black Butte fire lookout, CA USFC Photo
One must look back to the 1870s and 
1880s, to the sheer magnitude of the lush rich land and its forests Americans thought the the forests would last forever but that was not the case.  Loggers plundered the land and there seemed  no need to plant trees or replant for the future. Hillsides laid barren further caused the cry for conservativism.
      Pinchot worked hard to to change what was happening, and through a long and arduous struggle he as was so successful that he was appointed head of the U.S. Forest Service, and often called the Father of Forestry. Forest Rangers were trained and stationed throughout major forests with fire lookouts and patrols to protect forests for generations to come Pincholt once said the goal of conservation was the use of the Earth for, THE GREATEST GOOD, FOR THE GREATEST NUMBER, FOR THE LONGEST RUN,"
      The Theodore Roosvelt connection: When New York State governor Theodore Roosevelt needed advice about the state's forests in 1899, his choice of adviser was Gifford Pinchot. The two
men talked forestry and a bond of friendship formed with respect for the forests and the great need for conversation was formed so strong that in 1905, President Roosevelt created the U.S. Forest
Service and appointed Pinchot the first Chief Forester.  During Pinchot's five years in that position
millions of acres became national forests.  
      Sadly, conservation of the forests was threatened. In 1910, President
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 William Taft began unraveling some of the Roosevelt-Pinchot conservation policies and Pinchot became a vocal critic.  The result, Taft fired Pinchot, who then came home to Grey Towers and launched his political career. Pinchot later served as governor of Pennsyvania from 1923 to 1927 and 1931 to 1935 and accredited much of his success in the political arena to his wife Cornelia Bryce 
Pinchot, who was a "tour de force" herself. 
      Cornelia was a suffragette, she worked tirelessly for the public good, taking a stand against low pay and poor working conditions for women and she worked tirelessly to campaign for her husband's future as governor.  However, Cornelia Pinchot's viewpoint resonates even today that women---as a strong block of constituents--can bring about change in a society. Need I say more? Cornelia is yet another historical figure worthy of a follow-up feature, Stay tuned.
       GREY TOWERS NATIONAL HISTORIC SITE,
P.O.Box 188, 151Grey Towers Drive, Milford, PA. For tours information www.fs.usda.gov/greytowers. for schedules and fees.  Telephone: 570.296.9630. Grey Towers is open daily Memorial Day through October and on limited days other times of the year. 
       Natural resource agencies groups and organization doing conservation work can use the Grey Towers Conference Center for workshops, conferences, seminars and programs that address the management of natural and cultural resources.
     Ta Ta Darlings!!!  Grey Towers, originally a private home has magnificent period rooms that reflect the grand style and grand entertainments of the Pinchot family. These rooms and the surrounding acreage make a visit here both a historical and pleasurable experience. Fan mail
welcome at www.pollytalnyc@gmail.com.  Visit Polly's other Blogs at www.pollytalk.com.

       

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