Gifford Pinchot (believed to have been taken in 1901), was the founder of the U.S. Forest Service. (USFS Photo)
The life in which US Forest Service founder Gifford Pinchot was born into wasn’t much different than what millions of Downton Abby fans have come to know through that popular PBS period drama: huge homes, servants and vast expanses of lands where the accoutrements of many in Pinchot’s class.
And, on Aug. 11, 1865, the infant named Gifford, born in Connecticut and raised at the Pinchot family’s ancestral home, Grey Towers, would seem to follow the “normal” trajectory of his highborn status. This he did. But not how many of his contemporaries did. Instead of taking over the family business, Gifford went after another passion and he changed the world. Read more »
The Pinchot legacy continues for future generations with programs offered at Grey Towers. Credit: US Forest Service, Grey Towers NHS
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. Read more »
More than 108 years have passed since Gifford Pinchot became chief of the U.S. Forest Service. Yet today, with Tom Tidwell filling that role in a very different era, some of the same issues persist, along with others Pinchot might not have imagined.
“We’re fortunate that we have an organization that can handle complex issues, like our Research and Development branch of the Forest Service (efforts) to sustain private and international Forest systems,” said Tidwell.
Pinchot headed the Division of Forestry under the Department of Interior for seven years before the agency became the Forest Service under the Department of Agriculture. At the time, the nation’s forests were seen as inexhaustible, but Pinchot did not see it that way. Read more »
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 »