Gifford Pinchot and Environmental Conservation

Gifford Pinchot and Environmental Conservation

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Gifford Pinchot
Gifford Pinchot was one of America's leading advocates of environmental conservation at the turn of the twentieth century. Born into wealth and endowed with imagination and a love of nature, he shared his money, possessions and intellect to further the causes of the common good. It was at Grey Grey Towers that James Pinchot first encouraged his son to explore the profession of forestry. But such training did not yet exist in the United States, so, after graduating from Yale University in 1889, Gifford went abroad to study at L’Ecole Nationale Forestiere in Nancy, France.
With equal fervor Pinchot set to work. In the next two decades he raised forestry and conservation of all our natural resources from an unknown experiment to a nationwide movement. He became head of the Division of Forestry in 1898 and under President Theodore Roosevelt was named Chief Forester of the redefined U.S. Forest Service. National forest management was guided by Pinchot’s principle, “the greatest good of the greatest number in the long run.” His magnetic personal leadership inspired and ignited the new organization.
During his government service, the number of national forests increased from 32 in 1898 to 149 in 1910 for a total of 193 million acres. Pinchot and Roosevelt together made conservation public issue and national policy. Roosevelt considered the enactment of a conservation program his greatest contribution to American domestic policy. Gifford Pinchot was born at Simsbury, Connecticut, on August 11, 1865, in a house recently purchased by his grandfather, Amos R. Eno. The home had earlier been owned by Gifford's great grandfather, Elisha Phelps, a distinguished politician who served as Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives during the 1820's.
Gifford grew up spending his early summers with relatives in Connecticut and the rest of his time in New York City. Because of his father's business interests abroad, the family traveled extensively while Gifford was a child. He prepared for college at Phillips Exeter Academy, and in the fall of 1885, entered Yale University. Deciding to pursue forestry, and finding no such beast at Yale, he left for Europe after graduation to pursue his dream. When Roosevelt failed to win the Republican presidential nomination from Taft in 1912, Pinchot took an active role in founding the new Progressive Party, commonly known as the Bull Moose Party.

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The forester represented the more radical wing of the party's politics and made strong statements on the need for stricter antitrust laws and innovative social reforms. In 1914, running on the Progressive platform, Pinchot became a candidate for an elective office for the first time with his bid to win a United States Senate seat in Pennsylvania, he lost. On October 4,1946, at the age of 81, Gifford Pinchot died in New York City of leukemia.
On October 4,1946, at the age of eighty-one, Gifford Pinchot died in New York City of leukemia.
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