Leila Pinchot with an American chestnut sapling.
You may start out wanting to talk to Leila Pinchot about a Forest Service icon, but the great granddaughter of Gifford Pinchot has much more to say about the future of another legend, the American chestnut.
One of the seminal figures in world conservation, Gifford Pinchot founded and served as the first chief of the U.S. Forest Service. The eastern forests we know today are distinctly different than the forests Gifford Pinchot would have known 100 years ago – they are missing the American chestnut, which dominated forests in the eastern United States. Read more »
Elers Koch was a U.S. Forest Service forest ranger. He often patrolled the Lolo National Forest in Montana while armed with a weapon. (U.S. Forest Service photo)
Imagine men mounted on horses, armed with rifles and sidearms, patrolling millions of acres of public land. These men were typical U.S. Forest Service rangers over a century ago. This is how the Forest Service first approached forest management.
Forest Service historian Dr. Lincoln Bramwell recently shared the history of the Forest Service to the agency’s Class of 2011 Presidential Management Fellows, a federal government leadership development program. Read more »
The legacy of the Weeks Act is shown by looking at photos of the White Mountain National Forest a century apart. Nearly a 100 years later after being decimated by logging, this photo depicts a healthy restored forest at the same location.
The Weeks Act, which went into effect on March 1, 1911, has been identified as one of the most important pieces of environmental legislation in American history.
In the early 1900s the public began to embrace a more proactive attitude toward conserving public lands. Just the year before, in 1910, Gifford Pinchot started the Forest Service. Before the Weeks Act, lands set aside for conservation were all located in the West and were created from large blocks of land in the public domain. Millions of acres of bare, eroded lands dotted the Eastern states from cut-over and farmed-out lands. In the West, the epic wildfires of 1910 fueled support for the Act. Read more »