• A Sudden Light Interior

USFS/National Parks

Pinchot Roosevelt

Gifford Pinchot and Theodore Roosevelt were influential in the early history of the Forest Service

The beginnings of the National Parks Service and the story behind the US Forest Service are fascinating.  There’s a great PBS documentary about the parks that I recommend, and I found Timothy Egan’s book, The Big Burn, to be a great source of information as well as a wonderful portrayal of the era during the beginning of the national park movement.

From A Sudden Light

page 96
“Teddy Rooselvelt was the president who started the whole national parks concept taking millions of acres and setting them aside for the common man, land that would normally fall into the hands of the rich timber baron, like Elijah Riddell, my great-great grandfather. Gifford Pinchot, whose timber-baron family made their fortune clear-cutting almost the entire Adirondack Mountains, was the first chief of the United States Forest Service. Together, Roosevelt and Pinchot worked as crusaders to preserve the beauty of a world which had existed long before them and yet which was being rapidly destroyed in the name of progress.”

More about the US Forest Service and National Park Service

  • Gifford Pinchot: Early American ConservationistGifford Pinchot: Early American Conservationist

    Born at his family’s summer home in Simsbury, Connecticut. Pinchot traveled abroad regularly with his parents and was educated at Phillips Exeter Academy and at Yale. He declined an opportunity to enter the family business and instead journeyed to France to pursue his passion — forestry. While studying in Europe, he became a convert to the practice of selective harvesting of forest resources. Pinchot returned to the United States in 1891, anxious to put his knowledge to practical use.

  • Theodore Roosevelt and the EnvironmentTheodore Roosevelt and the Environment

    The Roosevelt Museum of Natural History opened its doors in 1867. Among its first specimens was the skull of a seal that had washed up in New York Harbor, begged from its owner by the museum’s founder, eight year old Theodore Roosevelt, Jr.

  • Theodore Roosevelt the ConservationistTheodore Roosevelt the Conservationist

    As a boy, Theodore Roosevelt wanted to be a naturalist, a scientist who revels in and examines nature. As an adult, the president never forgot his childhood dream, and preserved vast regions of the U.S. for future generations of Americans.

  • The Pinchot Institute for ConservationThe Pinchot Institute for Conservation

    The mission of the Pinchot Institute is to advance conservation and sustainable natural resource management by developing innovative, practical, and broadly-supported solutions to conservation challenges and opportunities.

  • The National Parks - America's Best IdeaThe National Parks – America’s Best Idea

    The National Parks: America’s Best Idea is a six-episode PBS documentary produced by Ken Burns and Dayton Duncan. It was filmed over the course of more than six years at some of nature’s most spectacular locales – from Acadia to Yosemite, Yellowstone to the Grand Canyon, the Everglades of Florida to the Gates of the Arctic in Alaska.

  • History of the U.S. Forest ServiceHistory of the U.S. Forest Service

    Starting in 1876, Gifford Pinchot, along with President Theodore Roosevelt and conservation organizations, led the effort to manage forest for the public good.

  • The Forest History SocietyThe Forest History Society

    The Forest History Society is a nonprofit library and archive dedicated to collecting, preserving, and disseminating forest and conservation history for all to use. The Society links the past to the future while reminding us about our important forest heritage.

  • The National Museum of Forest Service HistoryThe National Museum of Forest Service History

    Over the course of the Forest Service’s first century, there has never been one central repository where artifacts could be stored, preserved and displayed. There has not been one central exhibition hall where the stories and lessons could be shared with the public. And there has not been one central monument where the leaders, partners, and people whose stories are our history could be recognized and honored. Until now.

  • The National Forest FoundationThe National Forest Foundation

    Do you know about The National Forest Foundation? Created in 1993, The National Forest Foundation is the nonprofit partner of the U.S. Forest Service. And they do great things.

  • Belief in Spiritualism Helped Gifford Pinchot After Wife's Early DeathBelief in Spiritualism Helped Gifford Pinchot After Wife’s Early Death

    Gifford Pinchot carried on a close personal relationship with his wife, Laura, well after her untimely death.

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