- America's first
professional forester, and founder of the U.S. Forest Service.
- Gifford Pinchot
was the leader of the utiliatarian wing of the early conservation
movement, who served under President Theodore Roosevelt and later
as governor of Pennsylvania.
- John Muir
first met Gifford Pinchot in New York in 1893. Muir traveled with
Pinchot and others with the National Forestry Commission surveying
the problems of the western forest reserves. At that time, they
became good friends. The friendship was not to last, however. While
Muir crusaded for the preservation of wilderness, Pinchot campaigned
for utilitarian use of public lands. Pinchot and Muir became major
antagonists on the issue of Hetch Hetchy Valley. The deepening
schism between Muir and Pinchot eventually grew into a great
split between the preservation wing and the utilitarian wing of
the conservation movement.
- A story by Linnie Marsh Wolfe in her classic biography Son
of the Wilderness: The Life of John Muir suggests that Muir
and Pinchot had a dramatic heated confrontation and parting of the
ways at Seattle's Rainer Grand Hotel in 1897. Char Miller persuasively
argues that there is no evidence that this event ever occurred; see
his journal article: "What Happened in the Rainier Grand's Lobby?
A Question of Sources," The
Journal of American History 86.4 (2000). 24 Nov. 2006 <http://www.historycooperative.org/cgi-bin/justtop.cgi?act=justtop&url=http://www.historycooperative.org/journals/jah/86.4/miller.html>.
Professor Miller writes: "Although many historians have recounted
the incident in some detail and believe it signaled an irreparable
breach in the men's personal relationship, and consequently in the
two wings of the political movement with which they are so strongly
identified, there is no incontrovertible evidence that it ever happened....
That does not mean Muir and Pinchot did not have a confrontation
at that time, just that the surviving records do not support such
- The best modern biography is Gifford Pinchot and the Making
of Modern Environmentalism by Char Miller (Island Press, 2001).
Photograph of Gifford Pinchot courtesy of Grey
Towers National Historic Site
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