A beautiful, blue stone mansion with its slate roof and turrets, known as Grey Towers, in Milford, Pa. has been a sanctuary for visitors from around the world to learn about conservation and natural resources.
Fifty years ago on Sept. 24, 1963, President John F. Kennedy dedicated the Grey Towers National Historic Site and the Pinchot Institute for Conservation Studies as a “living memorial” to America’s first forester and two-term Pennsylvania governor, Gifford Pinchot.
On Sept. 19-22, the Forest Service, the Pinchot Institute and the Grey Towers Heritage Association will celebrate Grey Towers’ golden anniversary with public and private events, receptions, lectures, honored guest speakers, public visitation and family programs. This commemoration is an opportunity for the Forest Service, and its partners and collaborators to celebrate Pinchot’s legacy and highlight the many contributions he made to the Forest Service and beyond. What better way to honor the conservation legacy of the father of American conservation than by offering the Pinchot home as a public center for tours, meetings, study and research.
The historical Grey Towers was first completed in 1886. Eight decades later, the site was designated as a National Historic Landmark. In 1980, more than $16 million in federal, state, and private funds were raised to complete a comprehensive restoration of the historic features and the renovation of the building and estate for “adaptive re-use” as a world-class conference center. The Pinchot Institute for Conservation Studies, which was established on this site, has served as a center for today’s most challenging environmental issues.
The Forest Service, along with its partners, is carrying out Pinchot’s legacy of “practical idealism,” and his philosophy that in order to be effective, natural resource conservation must be not only ecologically sound, but economically viable and socially responsible. To this day, Pinchot’s philosophy of providing “the greatest good for the greatest number in the long run” is the driving principle behind the Forest Service’s approach to natural resources management.