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Lesson Plan The Conservation Movement at a Crossroads: The Hetch Hetchy Controversy

The debate over damming the Hetch Hetchy Valley in Yosemite National Park marked a crossroads in the American conservation movement. Until this debate, conservationists seemed fairly united in their aims. San Francisco's need for a reliable water supply, along with a new political dynamic at the federal level, created a division between those committed to preserving the wilderness and those more interested in efficient management of its use. While this confrontation happened nearly one hundred years ago, it contains many of the same arguments which are used today whenever preservationists and conservationists mobilize.

This unit includes two separate lessons which set the stage for and explore this particular controversy. While each relates to the other, the two are not dependent on each other and, therefore, may be taught separately. We have sought to provide a framework for instructors along with teaching materials they might print or let their students use online. With the exception of the extension activity suggestions, students will be working with a "limited archive" of our selection.


Students will be able to:

  • identify nineteenth-century leaders and thinkers who influenced the formation of the Conservation Movement;
  • gain an appreciation of the different ways "conservation" can be defined;
  • understand specific differences and similarities between and among those who advocated conservation;
  • understand arguments given to support the conservation of diverse resources;
  • know the major purposes of and provisions of legislation establishing Yosemite as a national park;
  • possess a clear understanding of the controversy that Hetch Hetchy sparked between "preservationists" and "conservationists".

Time Required

One to two weeks

Lesson Preparation

Resources: Lesson One

Conservation Writers

  • Mary Huston Gregory, "What is Conservation," chapter 1 of Checking the Waste; a Study in Conservation, 1911 (excerpt)

    "What is Conservation," chapter 1 of Checking the Waste; a Study in Conservation

    NOTE: This is an excerpt. For the full document, see Checking the Waste in The Evolution of the Conservation Movement, 1850-1920.

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    nation's riches lie both in its people and in its natural resources. Neither can exist in its highest estate without the other. Goldsmith predicted the certain downfall of lands "where wealth accumulates and men decay," but, in the truest, broadest definition, there can be no national wealth unless the men and women of the nation are healthy, intelligent, educated and right-minded. On the other hand it is equally true that if the people of a country are to make the most of themselves in mind and body; if they are to get the most comfort and happiness out of life and to become in the highest degree useful, they must develop its natural resources to the greatest possible degree.

    The United States is particularly fortunate in its abundant riches of soil, forest and mine, and in the fact that from the beginning of the nation these have been the inheritance not of a people slowly learning the use of tools and materials, and emerging{Begin page no. 2}

    from ignorance and savagery, but representing the most advanced and enlightened ideas and spiritual ideals of the time.

    The result of these conditions has been inventions and discoveries that have developed a great nation at home and have done much to better the condition of the world. But the very magnitude of our natural wealth has made us careless, even prodigal, in its use, and thoughtful men are beginning to realize that with the natural increase of population which is to be expected, we shall, if the present rates of use and waste continue, find ourselves no longer rich, but facing poverty and even actual want. But it is not too late to save ourselves from the results of our past extravagance. We are only beginning to see the danger into which we have almost plunged, but we see enough to make us realize that every one must do his part in checking the waste. Before this can be intelligently accomplished we must understand something of the great national movement for the conservation of our national resources.

    Let us go back for a moment to the beginning of our history as a nation, the days of Washington.

    Invention at that time was little advanced over what it had been three hundred years before. The same type of slow-sailing vessels carried all the commerce. Wind and water were the only powers

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    employed in running the few factories. Only a little iron was used in this country, and in fact almost its only use anywhere at that time was for tools. There was little machinery, and that of the simplest description. Anthracite coal was known in this country only as a hard black rock. Bituminous coal, gas, and oil were unknown.

    The forests stretched away in unbroken miles of wilderness. The wood was used for the settlers homes, their fuel, and their scanty furniture, but they needed so little that it grew much faster than it could be used. The man who cut down a tree was a public benefactor. The trees, though so necessary to life, were regarded as a serious hindrance to civilization, for they must be cleared away before crops could be planted.

    To the pioneers as to us the soil was the most valuable of all resources. The rivers were necessary to every community for carrying their commerce, and turning the wheels of their saw and grist mills; while the fish, game, and birds made a necessary part of their living.

    Under these conditions, with every resource to be found in such abundance that it seemed impossible it could ever be exhausted, and with a small scattered population to draw on all these riches, careless habits of using were sure to spring up. Our

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    forefathers took the best that the land offered, and that which was easiest to get, and gave no thought to caring for what remained. Their children, and the new immigrants who came in such numbers, all practised the same wasteful methods.

    In the century and a quarter that has passed since then, a great change has come over the world. By the magic of the railroad, the telegraph, and the telephone, all the nations of the earth are bound more closely to one another now than were the scattered communities of a single county in those days, or than the states of the Union before the Civil War.

    The forests have been cut away and in place of endless miles of wilderness there now stretch endless miles of fertile farms, yielding abundant harvests.

    Slow-going sailing vessels have given place to steamboats which now carry the river and lake commerce. But men are no longer dependent on the rivers, for swift railway trains penetrate every part of the country. The stage-coach is replaced by the trolley-car, and the horseback rider, plodding over corduroy roads with his saddle-bags, is succeeded by the automobile rider speeding over the most improved highways.

    Farm machinery of all descriptions has revolutionized the old methods of doing farm work. The fish, game, and birds are largely gone and in their

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    place are the animal foods raised by man. Modern houses, filled with countless devices for labor-saving and comfort, have replaced the simple homes of colonial days.

    What has brought about this change? The energy and industry of American men and women, aided for the most part by American inventions, and made possible by the wonderful natural resources of America.

    No one could wish to have had our country's development checked in any way. These great results could be obtained only by using the materials that could be had easiest and cheapest, even if it meant great waste in the beginning. Labor was scarce and high in this country, abundant and cheap in Europe. In order to make goods that could be sold at prices even above those of European countries, it was absolutely necessary to have cheap lumber, coal and iron.

    But the time has come when we can no longer continue this waste without interfering with future development. Some of the resources have been so exhausted that a few years will see the end of their use in large commercial quantities. Others, such as coal and iron, will last much longer, but when they are gone they can never be replaced; and so far as we can now foresee, the country will cease to prosper when they can no longer be had

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    for use in manufacturing. The length of time they will last at the present rate of use can be easily calculated. It is a long time for us to look forward, for it is longer than the lifetime of any man now living, or of his children, but it is within the life of his grandchildren, and that is a very short time in the history of a nation.

    It may be said that while other nations have passed into decay, none has ever exhausted its resources so early in its history, and surely this great rich nation can not so soon face actual need. But we must remember that no other nation has ever used its resources as we have used ours. We are using in years what other nations have used in centuries.

    It is not possible now, it probably never will be possible, to use every particle of a resource. This would be too expensive, would mean a labor cost far beyond the value of the thing saved.

    In the beginning, as we have shown, the vast wastes were not wanton, but absolutely necessary, and we have not yet reached the point where we can afford to use the low-grade ores, to use all lumber waste and to practise many other economies that may sometime become necessary. But in the case of the forests we should provide enough trees for use in coming years, and in the case of all minerals

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    the refuse should be left in such condition that it can easily be ready for possible future use.

    If conservation meant leaving our resources untouched, and checking development in order that there might be an abundance for future generations, it would be both an unwise and unacceptable policy; but it must be thoroughly understood that this is not what is desired.

    Conservation does not mean the locking up of our resources, nor a hindrance to real progress in any direction. It means only wise, careful use.

    It does not mean that we shall cease to cut out timber, but it does mean that we shall not waste two-thirds of all that is cut, as we are doing at present. It means, too, that we shall take better care of articles manufactured from it, and most of all, it means that, when a tree is cut down another shall, whenever possible, be planted in its stead to provide for the needs of the future.

    It means that we shall not allow the farms of our country to lose five hundred million dollars in value every year by letting the rich top-soil drain off into our rivers, because we have cut away the trees whose roots held the soil in place. It also means that we shall not steadily rob the land of the elements that would produce good crops, and put nothing back into the soil.

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    It means that we shall not kill the birds that destroy harmful insects and thus invite the insects to destroy the crops that we have cultivated with such care.

    It does not mean that we shall let our mines of coal and iron lie unused, as the miser does his gold, but that we shall, while taking what we need, leave as little waste in the mine as possible, and shall use what we take in the most economical way. This means a saving a money to the user, as well as a conservation of resources. It means, too, that we shall not allow out water-power to remain unused, while we burn millions of tons of coal in doing the work that water-power would do better.

    It means that we shall not allow enough natural gas to escape into the air every day to light all the large cities in the United States. It means that we shall take better care of the life and health of the people.

    This is the true conservation.

    In the following chapters we shall take up each of the great resources in turn, shall see what we have used, what we have wasted, what remains to us, how long it will continue at the present rate, how it may be used more wisely, and how it may be replaced, if that be possible, or what may be used instead of those which can not be renewed.

    We shall study how we may make the most of

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    all that nature has given us and develop our country to the highest possible point, how we may rise far above our present level in comfort, convenience, and abundance, and yet do all these things with much less waste than we now permit.

  • Franklin B. Hough, On the Duty of Governments in the Preservation of Forests , 1873
  • George P. Marsh, "An Address Delivered before the Agricultural Society of Rutland County, Sept. 30, 1847"
  • John Muir, My First Summer in the Sierra; with illustrations from drawings made by the author in 1869 and from photographs by Herbert W. Gleason
  • John Muir, "The Wild Parks and Forest Reservations of the West," chapter 1 of Our National Parks, 1901 (excerpt)

    "The Wild Parks and Forest Reservations of the West," chapter 1 of Our National Parks

    NOTE: This is an excerpt. For the full document, see Our National Parks in The Evolution of the Conservation Movement, 1850-1920.

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    "Keep not standing fix'd and rooted,
    Briskly venture, briskly roam;
    Head and hand, where'er thou foot it,
    And stout heart are still at home.
    In each land the sun does visit
    We are gay, whate'er betide:
    To give room for wandering is it
    That the world was made so wide."

    The tendency nowadays to wander in wildernesses is delightful to see. Thousands of tired, nerve-shaken, over-civilized people are beginning to find out that going to the mountains is going home; that wildness is a necessity; and that mountain parks and reservations are useful not only as fountains of timber and irrigating rivers, but as fountains of life. Awakening from the stupefying effects of the vice of over-industry and the deadly apathy of luxury, they are trying as best they can to mix and enrich their own little ongoings with those of Nature, and to get rid of rust and disease. Briskly venturing and

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    roaming, some are washing off sins and cobweb cares of the devil's spinning in all-day storms on mountains; sauntering in rosiny pinewoods or in gentian meadows, brushing through chaparral, bending down and parting sweet, flowery sprays; tracing rivers to their sources, getting in touch with the nerves of Mother Earth; jumping from rock to rock, feeling the life of them, learning the songs of them, panting in whole-souled exercise, and rejoicing in deep, long-drawn breaths of pure wildness. This is fine and natural and full of promise. So also is the growing interest in the care and preservation of forests and wild places in general, and in the half wild parks and gardens of towns. Even the scenery habit in its most artificial forms, mixed with spectacles, silliness, and kodaks; its devotees arrayed more gorgeously than scarlet tanagers, frightening the wild game with red umbrellas, -even this is encouraging, and may well be regarded as a hopeful sign of the times.

    All the Western mountains are still rich in wildness, and by means of good roads are being brought nearer civilization every year. To the sane and free it will hardly seem necessary to cross the continent in search of wild beauty, however easy the way, for they find it in abundance wherever they chance to be. Like Thoreau they see forests in orchards and patches of huckleberry brush, and oceans in ponds and

    Map showing
    OF THE
    To 3rd, August, 1901.
    {End caption}

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    drops of dew. Few in these hot, dim, strenuous times are quite sane or free; choked with care like clocks full of dust, laboriously doing so much good and making so much money,-or so little,-they are no longer good for themselves.

    When, like a merchant taking a list of his goods, we take stock of our wildness, we are glad to see how much of even the most destructible kind is still unspoiled. Looking at our continent as scenery when it was all wild, lying between beautiful seas, the starry sky above it, the starry rocks beneath it, to compare its sides, the East and the West, would be like comparing the sides of a rainbow. But it is no longer equally beautiful. The rainbows of to-day are, I suppose, as bright as those that first spanned the sky; and some of our landscapes are growing more beautiful from year to year, notwithstanding the clearing, trampling work of civilization. New plants and animals are enriching woods and gardens, and many landscapes wholly new, with divine sculpture and architecture, are just now coming to the light of day as the mantling folds of creative glaciers are being withdrawn, and life in a thousand cheerful, beautiful forms is pushing into them, and new-born rivers are beginning to sing and shine in them. The old rivers, too, are growing longer, like healthy trees, gaining new branches and lakes as the residual glaciers at their highest sources on the

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    mountains recede, while the rootlike branches in the flat deltas are at same time spreading farther and wider into the seas and making new lands.

    Under the control of the vast mysterious forces of the interior of the earth all the continents and islands are slowly rising or sinking. Most of the mountains are diminishing in size under the wearing action of the weather, though a few are increasing in height and girth, especially the volcanic ones, as fresh floods of molten rocks are piled on their summits and spread in successive layers, like the wood-rings of trees, on their sides. New mountains, also, are being created from time to time as islands in lakes and seas, or as subordinate cones on the slopes of old ones, thus in some measure balancing the waste of old beauty with new. Man, too, is making many far-reaching changes. This most influential half animal, half angel is rapidly multiplying and spreading, covering the seas and lakes with ships, the land with huts, hotels, cathedrals, and clustered city shops and homes, so that soon, it would seem, we may have to go farther than Nansen to find a good sound solitude. None of Nature's landscape are ugly so long as they are wild; and much, we can say comfortingly, must always be in great part wild, particularly the sea and the sky, the floods of light from the stars, and the warm, unspoilable heart of the earth,

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    infinitely beautiful, though only dimly visible to the eye of imagination. The geysers, too, spouting from the hot underworld; the steady, long-lasting glaciers on the mountains, obedient only to the sun; Yosemite domes and the tremendous grandeur of rocky caons and mountains in general,-these must always be wild, for man can change them and mar them hardly more than can the butterflies that hover above them. But the continent's outer beauty is fast passing away, especially the plant part of it, the most destructible and most universally charming of all.

    Only thirty years ago, the great Central Valley of California, five hundred miles long and fifty miles wide, was one bed of golden and purple flowers. Now it is ploughed and pastured out of existence, gone forever,-scarce a memory of it left in fence corners and along the bluffs of the streams. The gardens of the Sierra, also, and the noble forests in both the reserved and unreserved portions are sadly hacked and trampled, notwithstanding, the ruggedness of the topography,-all excepting those of the parks guarded by a few soldiers. In the noblest forests of the world, the ground, once divinely beautiful, is desolate and repulsive, like a face ravaged by disease. This is true also of many other Pacific Coast and Rocky Mountain valleys and forests. The same fate, sooner or later, is

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    awaiting them all, unless awakening public opinion comes forward to stop it. Even the great deserts in Arizona, Nevada, Utah, and New Mexico, which offer so little to attract settlers, and which a few years ago pioneers were afraid of, as places of desolation and death, are now taken as pastures at the rate of one or two square miles per cow, and of course their plant treasures are passing away,-the delicate abronias, phloxes, gilias, etc. Only a few of the bitter, thorny, unbitable shrubs are left, and the sturdy cactuses that defend themselves with bayonets and spears.

    Most of the wild plant wealth of the East also has vanished,-gone into dusty history. Only vestiges of its glorious prairie and woodland wealth remain to bless humanity in boggy, rocky, unploughable places. Fortunately, some of these are purely wild, and go far to keep Nature's love visible. White water-lilies, with rootstocks deep and safe in mud, still send up every summer a Milky Way of starry, fragrant flowers around a thousand lakes, and many a tuft of wild grass waves its panicles on mossy rocks, beyond reach of trampling feet, in company with saxifrages, bluebells, and ferns. Even in the midst of farmers fields, precious sphagnum bogs, too soft for the feet of cattle, are preserved with their charming plants unchanged,-chiogenes, Andromeda, Kalmia, Linna, Arethusa, etc. Calypso

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    borealis still hides in the arbor vit swamps of Canada, and away to the southward there are a few unspoiled swamps, big ones, where miasma, snakes, and alligators, like guardian angels, defend their treasures and keep them as pure as paradise. And beside a that and a that, the East is blessed with good winters and blossoming clouds that shed white flowers over all the land, covering every scar and making the saddest landscape divine at least once a year.

    The most extensive, least spoiled, and most unspoilable of the gardens of the continent are the vast tundras of Alaska. In summer they extend smooth, even, undulating, continuous beds of flowers and leaves from about lat. 62 to the shores of the Arctic Ocean; and in winter sheets of snowflowers make all the country shine, one mass of white radiance like a star. Nor are these Arctic plant people the pitiful frost-pinched unfortunates they are guessed to be by those who have never seen them. Though lowly in stature, keeping near the frozen ground as if loving it, they are bright and cheery, and speak Nature's love as plainly as their big relatives of the South. Tenderly happed and tucked in beneath downy snow to sleep through the long, white winter, they make haste to bloom in the spring without trying to grow tall, though some rise high enough to ripple and wave in the wind, and display masses of color,-yellow, purple, and blue, -so

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    rich that they look like beds of rainbows, and are visible miles and miles away.

    As early as June one may find the showy Geum glaciale in flower, and the dwarf willows putting forth myriads of fuzzy catkins, to be followed quickly, especially on the dryer ground, by mertensia, eritrichium, polemonium, oxytropis, astragalus, lathyrus, lupinus, myosotis, dodecatheon, arnica, chrysanthemum, nardosmia, saussurea, senecio, erigeron, matrecaria, caltha, valeriana, stellaria, Tofieldia, polygonum, papaver, phlox, lychnis, cheiranthus, Linna, and a host of drabas, saxifrages, and heathworts, with bright stars and bells in glorious profusion, particularly Cassiope, Andromeda, ledum, pyrola, and vaccinium, -Cassiope the most abundant and beautiful of them all. Many grasses also grow here, and wave fine purple spikes and panicles over the other flowers,-poa, aira, calamagrostis, alopecurus, trisetum, elymus, festuca, glyceria, etc. Even ferns are found thus far north, carefully and comfortably unrolling their precious fronds, -aspidium, cystopteris, and woodsia, all growing on a sumptuous bed of mosses and lichens; not the scaly lichens seen on rails and trees and fallen logs to the southward, but massive, roundheaded, finely colored plants like corals, wonderfully beautiful, worth going round the world to see. I should like to mention all the plant friends I found in a summer's wanderings in

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    this cool reserve, but I fear few would care to read their names, although everybody, I am sure, would love them could they see them blooming and rejoicing at home.

    On my last visit to the region about Kotzebue sound, near the middle of September, 1881, the weather was so fine and mellow that it suggested the Indian summer of the Eastern States. The winds were hushed, the tundra glowed in creamy golden sunshine, and the colors of the ripe foliage of the heathworts, willows, and birch-red, purple, and yellow, in pure bright tones-were enriched with those of berries which were scattered everywhere, as if they had been showered from the clouds like hail. When I was back a mile or two from the shore, reveling in this color-glory, and thinking how fine it would be could I cut a square of the tundra sod of conventional picture size, frame it, and hang it among the paintings on my study walls at home, saying to myself, "Such a Nature painting taken at random from any part of the thousand-mile bog would make the other pictures look dim and coarse," I heard merry shouting, and, looking round, saw a band of Eskimos-men, women, and children, loose and hairy like wild animals -running towards me. I could not guess at first what they were seeking, for they seldom leave the shore; but soon they told me, as they threw themselves down, sprawling and laughing,

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    on the mellow bog, and began to feast on the berries. A lively picture they made, and a pleasant one, as they frightened the whirring ptarmigans, and surprised their oily stomachs with the beautiful acid berries of many kinds, and filled sealskin bags with them to carry away for festive days in winter.

    Nowhere else on my travels have I seen so much warm-blooded, rejoicing life as in this grand Arctic reservation, by so many regarded as desolate. Not only are there whales in abundance along the shores, and innumerable seals, walruses, and white bears, but on the tundras great herds of fat reindeer and wild sheep, foxes, hares, mice, piping marmots, and birds. Perhaps more birds are born here than in any other region of equal extent on the continent. Not only do strong-winged hawks, eagles, and water-fowl, to whom the length of the continent is merely a pleasant excursion, come up here every summer in great numbers, but also many short-winged warblers, thrushes, and finches, repairing hither to rear their young in safety, reinforce the plant bloom with their plumage, and sweeten the wilderness with song; flying all the way, some of them, from Florida, Mexico, and Central America. In coming north they are coming home, for they were born here, and they go south only to spend the winter months, as New Englanders go to Florida. Sweet-voiced troubadours, they

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    sing in orange groves and vine-clad magnolia woods in winter, in thickets of dwarf birch and alder in summer, and sing and chatter more or less all the way back and forth, keeping the whole country glad. Oftentimes, in New England, just as the last snow-patches are melting and the sap in the maples begins to flow, the blessed wanderers may be heard about orchards and the edges of fields where they have stopped to glean a scanty meal, not tarrying long, knowing they have far to go. Tracing the footsteps of spring, they arrive in their tundra homes in June or July, and set out on their return journey in September, or as soon as their families are able to fly well.

    This is Nature's own reservation, and every lover of wildness will rejoice with me that by kindly frost it is so well defended. The discovery lately made that it is sprinkled with gold may cause some alarm; for the strangely exciting stuff makes the timid bold enough for anything, and the lazy destructively industrious. Thousands at least half insane are now pushing their way into it, some by the southern passes over the mountains, perchance the first mountains they have ever seen,-sprawling, struggling, gasping for breath, as, laden with awkward, merciless burdens of provisions and tools, they climb over rough-angled boulders and cross thin miry bogs. Some are going by the mountains

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    and rivers to the eastward through Canada, tracing the old romantic ways of the Hudson Bay traders; others by Bering Sea and the Yukon, sailing all the way, getting glimpses perhaps of the famous fur-seals, the ice-floes, and the innumerable islands and bars of the great Alaska river. In spite of frowning hardships and the frozen ground, the Klondike gold will increase the crusading crowds for years to come, but comparatively little harm will be done. Holes will be burned and dug into the hard ground here and there, and into the quartz-ribbed mountains and hills; ragged towns like beaver and muskrat villages will be built, and mills and locomotives will make rumbling, screeching, disenchanting noises; but the miner's pick will not be followed far by the plough, at least not until Nature is ready to unlock the frozen soil-beds with her slow-turning climate key. On the other hand, the roads of the pioneer miners will lead many a lover of wildness into the heart of the reserve, who without them would never see it.

    In the meantime, the wildest health and pleasure grounds accessible and available to tourists seeking escape from care and dust and early death are the parks and reservations of the West. There are four national parks, 1 -the Yellowstone, Yosemite, General Grant, and Sequoia,-all within easy reach, and thirty forest reservations, 1 There are now five parks and thirty-eight reservations.

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    a magnificent realm of woods, most of which, by railroads and trails and open ridges, is also fairly accessible, not only to the determined traveler rejoicing in difficulties, but to those (may their tribe increase) who, not tired, not sick, just naturally take wing every summer in search of wildness. The forty million acres of these reserves are in the main unspoiled as yet, though sadly wasted and threatened on their more open margins by the axe and fire of the lumberman and prospector, and by hoofed locusts, which, like the winged ones, devour every leaf within reach, while the shepherds and owners set fires with the intention of making a blade of grass grow in the place of every tree, but with the result of killing both the grass and the trees.

    In the million acre Black Hills Reserve of South Dakota, the easternmost of the great forest reserves, made for the sake of the farmers and miners, there are delightful, reviving sauntering-grounds in open parks of yellow pine, planted well apart, allowing plenty of sunshine to warm the ground. This tree is one of the most variable and most widely distributed of American pines. It grows sturdily on all kinds of soil and rocks, and, protected by a mail of thick bark, defies frost and fire and disease alike, daring every danger in firm, calm beauty and strength. It occurs here mostly on the outer hills and slopes where no other tree can grow. The ground beneath it

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    is yellow most of the summer with showy Wythia, arnica, applopappus, solidago, and other sun-loving plants, which, though they form no heavy entangling growth, yet give abundance of color and make all the woods a garden. Beyond the yellow pine woods there lies a world of rocks of wildest architecture, broken, splintery, and spiky, not very high, but the strangest in form and style of grouping imaginable. Countless towers and spires, pinnacles and slender domed columns, are crowded together, and feathered with sharp-pointed Engelmann spruces, making curiously mixed forests,-half trees, half rocks. Level gardens here and there in the midst of them offer charming surprises, and so do the many small lakes with lilies on their meadowy borders, and bluebells, anemones, daises, castilleias, comandras, etc., together forming landscapes delightfully novel, and made still wilder by many interesting animals,-elk, deer, beavers, wolves squirrels, and birds. Not very long ago this was the richest of all the red man's hunting-grounds hereabout. After the season's buffalo hunts were over,-as described by Parkman, who, with a picturesque cavalcade of Sioux savages, passed through these famous hills in 1846, -every winter deficiency was here made good, and hunger was unknown until, in spite of most determined, fighting, killing opposition, the white gold-hunters entered the fat game reserve

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    and spoiled it. The Indians are dead now, and so are most of the hardly less striking free trappers of the early romantic Rocky Mountain times. Arrows, bullets, scalping-knives, need no longer be feared; and all the wilderness is peacefully open.

    The Rocky Mountain reserves are the Teton, Yellowstone, Lewis and Clark, Bitter Root, Priest River and Flathead, comprehending more than twelve million acres of mostly unclaimed, rough, forest-covered mountains in which the great rivers of the country take their rise. The commonest tree in most of them is the brave, indomitable, and altogether admirable Pinus contorta, widely distributed in all kinds of climate and soil, growing cheerily in frosty Alaska, breathing the damp salt air of the sea as well as the dry biting blasts of the Arctic interior, and making itself at home on the most dangerous flame-swept slopes and bridges of the Rocky Mountains in immeasurable abundance and variety of forms. Thousands of acres of this species are destroyed by running fires nearly every summer, but a new growth springs quickly from the ashes. It is generally small, and yields few sawlogs of commercial value, but is of incalculable importance to the farmer and miner; supplying fencing, mine timbers, and firewood, holding the porous soil on steep slopes, preventing landslips and avalanches, and giving kindly, nourishing shelter to

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    animals and the widely outspread sources of the life-giving rivers. The other trees are mostly spruce, mountain pine, cedar, juniper, larch, and balsam fir; some of them, especially on the western slopes of the mountains, attaining grand size and furnishing abundance of fine timber.

    Perhaps the least known of all this grand group of reserves is the Bitter Root, of more than four million acres. It is the wildest, shaggiest block of forest wildness in the Rocky Mountains, full of happy, healthy, storm-loving trees, full of streams that dance and sing in glorious array, and full of Nature's animals,- elk, deer, wild sheep, bears, cats, and innumerable smaller people.

    In calm Indian summer, when the heavy winds are hushed, the vast forests covering hill and dale, rising and falling over the rough topography and vanishing in the distance, seem lifeless. No moving thing is seen as we climb the peaks, and only the low, mellow murmur of falling water is heard, which seems to thicken the silence. Nevertheless, how many hearts with warm red blood in them are beating under cover of the woods, and how many teeth and eyes are shining! A multitude of animal people, intimately related to us, but of whose lives we know almost nothing, are as busy about their own affairs as we are about ours: beavers are building and mending dams and huts for winter, and

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    storing them with food; bears are studying winter quarters as they stand thoughtful in open spaces, while the gentle breeze ruffles the long hair on their backs; elk and deer, assembling on the heights, are considering cold pastures where they will be farthest away from the wolves; squirrels and marmots are busily laying up provisions and lining their nests against coming frost and snow foreseen; and countless thousands of birds are forming parties and gathering their young about them for flight to the southlands; while butterflies and bees, apparently with no thought of hard times to come, are hovering above the late-blooming goldenrods, and, with countless other insect folk, are dancing and humming right merrily in the sunbeams and shaking all the air into music.

    Wander here a whole summer, if you can. Thousands of God's wild blessings will search you and soak you as if you were sponge, and the big days will go by uncounted. If you are business-tangled, and so burdened with duty that only weeks can be get out of the heavy-laden year, then go to the Flathead Reserve; for it is easily and quickly reached by the Great Northern Railroad. Get off the track at Belton Station, and in a few minutes you will find yourself in the midst of what you are sure to say is the best care-killing scenery on the continent,-beautiful lakes derived straight from glaciers,

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    lofty mountains steeped in lovely nemophila-blue skies and clad with forests and glaciers, mossy, ferny waterfalls in their hollows, nameless and numberless, and meadowy gardens abounding in the best of everything. When you are calm enough for discriminating observation, you will find the king of the larches, one of the best of the Western giants, beautiful, picturesque, and regal in port, easily the grandest of all the larches in the world. It grows to a height of one hundred and fifty to two hundred feet, with a diameter at the ground of five to eight feet, throwing out its branches into the light as no other tree does. To those who before have seen only the European larch or the Lyall species of the eastern Rocky Mountains, or the little tamarack or hackmatack of the Eastern States and Canada, this Western king must be a revelation.

    Associated with this grand tree in the making of the Flathead forests is the large and beautiful mountain pine, or Western white pine (Pinus monticola), the invincible contorta or lodge-pole pine, and spruce and cedar. The forest floor is covered with the richest beds of Linna borealis I ever saw, thick fragrant carpets, enriched with shining mosses here and there, and with Clintonia, pyrola, moneses, and vaccinium, weaving hundred-mile beds of bloom that would have made blessed old Linna weep for joy.

    Lake McDonald, full of brisk trout, is in the

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    heart of this forest, and Avalanche Lake is ten miles above McDonald, at the feet of a group of glacier-laden mountains. Give a month at least to this precious reserve. The time will not be taken from the sum of your life. Instead of shortening, it will indefinitely lengthen it and make you truly immortal. Nevermore will time seem short or long, and cares will never again fall heavily on you, but gently and kindly as gifts from heaven.

    The vast Pacific Coast reserves in Washington and Oregon-the Cascade, Washington, Mount Rainier, Olympic, Bull Run, and Ashland, named in order of size-include more than 12,500,000 acres of magnificent forests of beautiful and gigantic trees. They extend over the wild, unexplored Olympic Mountains and both flanks of the Cascade Range, the wet and the dry. On the east side of the Cascades the woods are sunny and open, and contain principally yellow pine, of moderate size, but of great value as a cover for the irrigating streams that flow into the dry interior, where agriculture on a grand scale is being carried on. Along the moist, balmy, foggy, west flank of the mountains, facing the sea, the woods reach their highest development, and, excepting the California redwoods, are the heaviest on the continent. They are made up mostly of the Douglas spruce (Pseudotsuga taxifolia), with the giant arbor vit, or cedar, and several species

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    of fir and hemlock in varying abundance, forming a forest kingdom unlike any other, in which limb meets limb, touching and overlapping in bright, lively, triumphant exuberance, two hundred and fifty, three hundred, and even four hundred feet above the shady, mossy ground. Over all the other species the Douglas spruce reigns supreme. It is not only a large tree, the tallest in America next to the redwood, but a very beautiful one, with bright green drooping foliage, handsome pendent cones, and a shaft exquisitely straight and round and regular. Forming extensive forests by itself in many places, it lifts its spiry tops into the sky close together with as even a growth as a well-tilled field of grain. No ground has been better tilled for wheat than these Cascade Mountains for trees: They were ploughed by mighty glaciers, and harrowed and mellowed and outspread by the broad streams that flowed from the ice-ploughs as they were withdrawn at the close of the glacial period.

    In proportion to its weight when dry, Douglas spruce timber is perhaps stronger than that of any other large conifer in the country, and being tough, durable, and elastic, it is admirably suited for ship-building, piles, and heavy timbers in general; but its hardness and liability to warp when it is cut into boards render it unfit for fine work. In the lumber markets of California it is

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    called "Oregon pine." When lumbering is going on in the best Douglas woods, especially about Puget Sound, many of the long, slender boles are saved for spars; and so superior is their quality that they are called for in almost every shipyard in the world, and it is interesting to follow their fortunes. Felled and peeled and dragged to tide-water, they are raised again as yards and masts for ships, given iron roots and canvas foliage, decorated with flags, and sent to sea, where in glad motion they go cheerily over the ocean prairie in every latitude and longitude, singing and bowing responsive to the same winds that waved them when they were in the woods. After standing in one place for centuries they thus go round the world like tourists, meeting many a friend from the old home forest; some traveling like themselves, some standing head downward in muddy harbors, holding up the platforms of wharves, and others doing all kinds of hard timber work, showy or hidden.

    This wonderful tree also grows far northward in British Columbia, and southward along the coast and middle regions of Oregon and California; flourishing with the redwood wherever it can find an opening, and with the sugar pine, yellow pine, and libocedrus in the Sierra. It extends into the San Gabriel, San Bernardino, and San Jacinto Mountains of southern California. It also grows well on the Wasatch Mountains,

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    where it is called "red pine," and on many parts of the Rocky Mountains and short interior ranges of the Great Basin. But though thus widely distributed, only in Oregon, Washington, and some parts of British Columbia does it reach perfect development.

    To one who looks from some high standpoint over its vast breadth, the forest on the west side of the Cascades seems all one dim, dark, monotonous field, broken only by the white volcanic cones along the summit of the range. Back in the untrodden wilderness a deep furred carpet of brown and yellow mosses covers the ground like a garment, pressing about the feet of the trees, and rising in rich bosses softly and kindly over every rock and mouldering trunk, leaving no spot uncared for; and dotting small prairies, and fringing the meadows and the banks of streams not seem in general views, we find, besides the great conifers, a considerable number of hard-wood trees,-oak, ash, maple, alder, wild apple, cherry, arbutus, Nuttall's flowering dogwood, and in some places chestnuts. In a few favored spots the broad-leaved maple grows to a height of a hundred feet in forests by itself, sending out large limbs in magnificent interlacing arches covered with mosses and ferns, thus forming lofty sky-gardens, and rendering the underwoods delightfully cool. No finer forest ceiling is to be found than these maple arches, while the floor,

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    ornamented with tall ferns and rubus vines, and cast into hillocks by the bulging, moss-covered roots of the trees, matches it well.

    Passing from beneath the heavy shadows of the woods, almost anywhere one steps into lovely gardens of lilies, orchids, heathworts, and wild roses. Along the lower slopes, especially in Oregon, where the woods are less dense, there are miles of rhododendron, making glorious masses of purple in the spring, while all about the streams and the lakes and the beaver meadows there is a rich tangle of hazel, plum, cherry, crab-apple, cornel, gaultheria, and rubus, with myriads of flowers and abundance of other more delicate bloomers, such as erythronium,brodia, fritillaria, calochortus, Clintonia, and the lovely hider of the north, Calypso. Beside all these bloomers there are wonderful ferneries about the many misty waterfalls, some of the fronds ten feet high, others the most delicate of their tribe, the maidenhair fringing the rocks within reach of the lightest dust of the spray, while the shading trees on the cliffs above them, leaning over, look like eager listeners anxious to catch every tone of the restless waters. In the autumn berries of every color and flavor abound, enough for birds, bears, and everybody, particularly about the stream-sides and meadows where sunshine reaches the ground: huckleberries, red, blue, and black, some growing close to the ground others on

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    bushes ten feet high; gaultheria berries, called "sal-al" by the Indians; salmon berries, an inch in diameter, growing in dense prickly tangles, the flowers, like wild roses, still more beautiful than the fruit; raspberries, gooseberries, currants, blackberries, and strawberries. The underbrush and meadow fringes are in great part made up of these berry bushes and vines; but in the depths of the woods there is not much underbrush of any kind,-only a thin growth of rubus, huckleberry, and vine-maple.

    Notwithstanding the outcry against the reservations last winter in Washington, that uncounted farms, towns, and villages were included in them, and that all business was threatened or blocked, nearly all the mountains in which the reserves lie are still covered with virgin forests. Though lumbering has long been carried on with tremendous energy along their boundaries, and home-seekers have explored the woods for openings available for farms, however small, one may wander in the heart of the reserves for weeks without meeting a human being, Indian or white man, or any conspicuous trace of one. Indians used to ascend the main streams on their way to the mountains for wild goats, whose wool furnished them clothing. But with food in abundance on the coast there was little to draw them into the woods, and the monuments they have left there are scarcely more conspicuous than

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    those of birds and squirrels; far less so than those of the beavers, which have dammed streams and made clearings that will endure for centuries. Nor is there much in these woods to attract cattle-keepers. Some of the first settlers made farms on the small bits of prairie and in the comparatively open Cowlitz and Chehalis valleys of Washington; but before the gold period most of the immigrants from the Eastern States settled in the fertile and open Willamette Valley of Oregon. Even now, when the search for tillable land is so keen, excepting the bottom-lands of the rivers around Puget Sound, there are few cleared spots in all western Washington. On every meadow or opening of any sort some one will be found keeping cattle, raising hops, or cultivating patches of grain, but these spots are few and far between. All the larger spaces were taken long ago; therefore most of the newcomers build their cabins where the beavers built theirs. They keep a few cows, laboriously widen their little meadow openings by hacking, girdling, and burning the rim of the close-pressing forest, and scratch and plant among the huge blackened logs and stamps, girdling and killing themselves in killing the trees.

    Most of the farm lands of Washington and Oregon, excepting the valleys of the Willamette and Rogue rivers, lie on the east side of the mountains. The forests on the eastern slopes

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    of the Cascades fail altogether ere the foot of the range is reached, stayed by drought as suddenly as on the west side they are stopped by the sea; showing strikingly how dependent are these forest giants on the generous rains and fogs so often complained of in the coast climate. The lower portions of the reserves are solemnly soaked and poulticed in rain and fog during the winter months, and there is a sad dearth of sunshine, but with a little knowledge of woodcraft any one may enjoy an excursion into these woods even in the rainy season. The big, gray days are exhilarating, and the colors of leaf and branch and mossy bole are then at their best. The mighty trees getting their food are seen to be wide-awake, every needle thrilling in the welcome nourishing storms, chanting and bowing low in glorious harmony, while every raindrop and snowflake is seen as a beneficent messenger from the sky. The snow that falls on the lower woods is mostly soft, coming through the trees in downy tufts, loading their branches, and bending them down against the trunks until they look like arrows, while a strange muffled silence prevails, making everything impressively solemn. But these lowland snowstorms and their effects quickly vanish. The snow melts in a day or two, sometimes in a few hours, the bent branches spring up again, and all the forest work is left to the fog and the rain. At the same time, dry

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    snow is falling on the upper forests and mountain tops. Day after day, often for weeks, the big clouds give their flowers without ceasing, as if knowing how important is the work they have to do. The glinting, swirling swarms thicken the blast, and the trees and rocks are covered to a depth of ten to twenty feet. Then the mountaineer, snug in a grove with bread and fire, has nothing to do but gaze and listen and enjoy. Ever and anon the deep, low roar of the storm is broken by the booming of avalanches, as the snow slips from the overladen heights and crushes down the long white slopes to fill the fountain hollows. All the smaller streams are crushed and buried, and the young groves of spruce and fir near the edge of the timber-line are gently bowed to the ground and put to sleep, not again to see the light of day or stir branch or leaf until the spring.

    These grand reservations should draw thousands of admiring visitors at least in summer, yet they are neglected as if of no account, and spoilers are allowed to ruin them as fast as they like. 1 A few peeled spars cut here were set up in London, Philadelphia, and Chicago, where they 1 The outlook over forest affairs is now encouraging. Popular interest, more practical than sentimental in whatever touches the welfare of the country's forests, is growing rapidly, and a hopeful beginning has been made by the Government in real protection for the reservations as well as for the parks. From July 1, 1900, there have been 9 superintendents, 39 supervisors, and from 330 to 445 rangers of reservations.

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    excited wondering attention; but the countless hosts of living trees rejoicing at home on the mountains are scarce considered at all. Most travelers here are content with what they can see from car windows or the verandas of hotels, and in going from place to place cling to their precious trains and stages like wrecked sailors to rafts. When an excursion into the woods is proposed, all sorts of dangers are imagined,-snakes, bears, Indians. Yet it is far safer to wander in God's woods than to travel on black highways or to stay at home. The snake danger is so slight it is hardly worth mentioning. Bears are a peaceable people, and mind their own business, instead of going about like the devil seeking whom they may devour. Poor fellows, they have been poisoned, trapped, and shot at until they have lost confidence in brother man, and it is not now easy to make their acquaintance. As to Indians, most of them are dead or civilized into useless innocence. No American wilderness that I know of is so dangerous as a city home "with all the modern improvements." One should go to the woods for safety, if for nothing else. Lewis and Clark, in their famous trip across the continent in 1804-1805, did not lose a single man by Indians or animals, though all the West was then wild. Captain Clark was bitten on the hand as he lay asleep. That was one bite among more than a hundred men while traveling nine thousand

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    sand miles. Loggers are far more likely to be met than Indians or bears in the reserves or about their boundaries, brown weather-tanned men with faces furrowed like bark, tired-looking, moving slowly, swaying like the trees they chop. A little of everything in the woods is fastened to their clothing, rosiny and smeared with balsam, and rubbed into it, so that their scanty outer garments grow thicker with use and never wear out. Many a forest giant have these old woodmen felled, but, round-shouldered and stooping, they too are leaning over and tottering to their fall. Others, however, stand ready to take their places, stout young fellows, erect as saplings; and always the foes of trees outnumber their friends. Far up the white peaks one can hardly fail to meet the wild goat, or American chamois,-an admirable mountaineer, familiar with woods and glaciers as well as rocks,-and in leafy thickets deer will be found; while gliding about unseen there are many sleek furred animals enjoying their beautiful lives, and birds also, notwithstanding few are noticed in hasty walks. The ousel sweetens the glens and gorges where the streams flow fastest, and every grove has its singers, however silent it seems,-thrushes, linnets, warblers; humming-birds glint about the fringing bloom of the meadows and peaks, and the lakes are stirred into lively pictures by water-fowl.

    The Mount Rainier Forest Reserve should be

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    made a national park and guarded while yet its bloom is on; 1 for if in the making of the West Nature had what we call parks in mind,-places for rest, inspiration, and prayers,-this Rainier region must surely be one of them. In the centre of it there is a lonely mountain capped with ice; from the ice-cap glaciers radiate in every direction, and young rivers from the glaciers; while its flanks, sweeping down in beautiful curves, are clad with forests and gardens, and filled with birds and animals. Specimens of the best of Nature's treasures have been lovingly gathered here and arranged in simple symmetrical beauty within regular bounds.

    1 This was done shortly after the above was written. "One of the most important measures taken during the past year in connection with forest reservations was the action of Congress in withdrawing from the Mount Rainier Forest Reserve a portion of the region immediately surrounding Mount Rainier and setting it apart as a national park." ( Report of Commissioner of General Land Office, for the year ended June, 1899.) But the park as it now stands is far too small.

    Of all the fire-mountains which, like beacons, once blazed along the Pacific Coast, Mount Rainier is the noblest in form, has the most interesting forest cover, and, with perhaps the exception of Shasta, is the highest and most flowery. Its massive white dome rises out of its forests, like a world by itself, to a height of fourteen thousand to fifteen thousand feet. The forests reach to a height of a little over six thousand feet, and above the forests there is a zone of the loveliest flowers, fifty miles in circuit and nearly

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    two miles wide, so closely planted and luxuriant that it seems as if Nature, glad to make an open space between woods so dense and ice so deep, were economizing the precious ground, and trying to see how many of her darlings she can get together in one mountain wreath,-daisies, anemones, geraniums, columbines, erythroniums, larkspurs, etc., among which we wade knee-deep and waist-deep, the bright corollas in myriads touching petal to petal. Picturesque detached groups of the spiry Abies lasiocarpa stand like islands along the lower margin of the garden zone, while on the upper margin there are extensive beds of bryanthus, Cassiope, Kalmia, and other heathworts, and higher still saxifrages and drabas, more and more lowly, reach up to the edge of the ice. Altogether this is the richest subalpine garden I ever found, a perfect floral elysium. The icy dome needs none of man's care, but unless the reserve is guarded the flower bloom will soon be killed, and nothing of the forests will be left but black stump monuments.

    The Sierra of California is the most openly beautiful and useful of all the forest reserves, and the largest excepting the Cascade Reserve of Oregon and the Bitter Root of Montana and Idaho. It embraces over four million acres of the grandest scenery and grandest trees on the continent, and its forests are planted just where they do the most good, not only for beauty, but

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    for farming in the great San Joaquin Valley beneath them. It extends southward from the Yosemite National Park to the end of the range, a distance of nearly two hundred miles. No other coniferous forest in the world contains so many species or so many large and beautiful trees,-Sequoia gigantea, king of conifers, "the noblest of a noble race," as Sir Joseph Hooker well says; the sugar pine, king of all the world's pines, living or extinct; the yellow pine, next in rank, which here reaches most perfect development, forming noble towers of verdure two hundred feet high; the mountain pine, which braves the coldest blasts far up the mountains on grim, rocky slopes; and five others, flourishing each in its place, making eight species of pine in one forest, which is still further enriched by the great Douglas spruce, libocedrus, two species of silver fir, large trees and exquisitely beautiful, the Paton hemlock, the most graceful of evergreens, the curious tumion, oaks of many species, maples, alders, poplars, and flowering dogwood, all fringed with flowery underbrush, manzanita, ceanothus, wild rose, cherry, chestnut, and rhododendron. Wandering at random through these friendly, approachable woods, one comes here and there to the loveliest lily gardens, some of the lilies ten feet high, and the smoothest gentian meadows, and Yosemite valleys known only to mountaineers. Once I spent a night by

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    a camp-fire on Mount Shasta with Asa Gray and Sir Joseph Hooker, and, knowing that they were acquainted with all the great forests of the world, I asked whether they knew any coniferous forest that rivaled that of the Sierra. They unhesitatingly said: "No. In the beauty and grandeur of individual trees, and in number and variety of species, the Sierra forests surpass all others."

    This Sierra Reserve, proclaimed by the President of the United States in September, 1893, is worth the most thoughtful care of the government for its own sake, without considering its value as the fountain of the rivers on which the fertility of the great San Joaquin Valley depends. Yet it gets no care at all. In the fog of tariff, silver, and annexation politics it is left wholly unguarded, though the management of the adjacent national parks by a few soldiers shows how well and how easily it can be preserved. In the meantime, lumbermen are allowed to spoil it at their will, and sheep in uncountable ravenous hordes to trample it and devour every green leaf within reach; while the shepherds, like destroying angels, set innumerable fires, which burn not only the undergrowth of seedlings on which the permanence of the forest depends, but countless thousands of the venerable giants. If every citizen could take one walk through this reserve, there would be

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    no more trouble about its care; for only in darkness does vandalism flourish. 1

    1 See note, p. 27.

    The reserves of southern California,-the San Gabriel, San Bernardino, San Jacinto, and Trabuco,-though not large, only about two million acres together, are perhaps the best appreciated. Their slopes are covered with a close, almost impenetrable growth of flowery bushes, beginning on the sides of the fertile coast valleys and the dry interior plains. Their higher ridges, however, and mountains are open, and fairly well forested with sugar pine, yellow pine, Douglas spruce, libocedrus, and white fir. As timber fountains they amount to little, but as bird and bee pastures, cover for the precious streams that irrigate the lowlands, and quickly available retreats from dust and heat and care, their value is incalculable. Good roads have been graded into them, by which in a few hours lowlanders can get well up into the sky and find refuge in hospitable camps and club-houses, where, while breathing reviving ozone, they may absorb the beauty about them, and look comfortably down on the busy towns and the most beautiful orange groves ever planted since gardening began.

    The Grand Caon Reserve of Arizona, of nearly two million acres, or the most interesting part of it, as well as the Rainier region, should

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    be made into a national park, on account of their supreme grandeur and beauty. Setting out from Flagstaff, a station on the Atchison, Topeka, and Santa F Railroad, on the way to the caon you pass through beautiful forests of yellow pine,-like those of the Black Hills, but more extensive,-and curious dwarf forests of nut pine and juniper, the spaces between the miniature trees planted with many interesting species of eriogonum, yucca, and cactus. After riding or walking seventy-five miles through these pleasure-grounds, the San Francisco and other mountains, abounding in flowery parklike openings and smooth shallow valleys with long vistas which in fineness of finish and arrangement suggest the work of a consummate landscape artist, watching you all the way, you come to the most tremendous caon in the world. It is abruptly countersunk in the forest plateau, so that you see nothing of it until you are suddenly stopped on its brink, with its immeasurable wealth of divinely colored and sculptured buildings before you and beneath you. No matter how far you have wandered hitherto, or how many famous gorges and valleys you have seen, this one, the Grand Caon of the Colorado, will seem as novel to you, as unearthly in the color and grandeur and quantity of its architecture, as if you had found it after death, on some other star; so incomparably lovely and grand and

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    supreme is it above all the other caons in our fire-moulded, earthquake-shaken, rain-washed, wave-washed, river and glacier sculptured world. It is about six thousand feet deep where you first see it, and from rim to rim ten to fifteen miles wide. Instead of being dependent for interest upon waterfalls, depth, wall sculpture, and beauty of parklike floor, like most other great caons, it has not waterfalls in sight, and no appreciable floor spaces. The big river has just room enough to flow and roar obscurely, here and there groping its way as best it can, like a weary, murmuring, overladen traveler trying to escape from the tremendous, bewildering labyrinthic abyss, while its roar serves only to deepen the silence. Instead of being filled with air, the vast space between the walls is crowded with Nature's grandest buildings,-a sublime city of them, painted in every color, and adorned with richly fretted cornice and battlement spire and tower in endless variety of style and architecture. Every architectural invention of man has been anticipated, and far more, in this grandest of God's terrestrial cities.

  • Gifford Pinchot, "The Present Battle," chapter 12 of The Fight for Conservation, 1910 (excerpt)

    "The Present Battle," chapter 12 of The Fight for Conservation

    NOTE: This is an excerpt. For the full document, see The Fight for Conservation in The Evolution of the Conservation Movement, 1850-1920.

    Begin page no. 132


    CONSERVATION has captured the Nation. Its progress during the last twelve months is amazing. Official opposition to the conservation movement, whatever damage it has done or still threatens to the public interest, has vastly strengthened the grasp of conservation upon the minds and consciences of our people. Efforts to obscure or belittle the issue have only served to make it larger and clearer in the public estimation. The conservation movement cannot be checked by the baseless charge that it will prevent development, or that every man who tells the plain truth is either a muck-raker or a demagogue. It has taken firm hold on our

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    national moral sense, and when an issue does that it has won.

    The conservation issue is a moral issue, and the heart of it is this: For whose benefit shall our natural resources be conserved-for the benefit of us all, or for the use and profit of the few? This truth is so obvious and the question itself so simple that the attitude toward conservation of any man in public or private life indicates his stand in the fight for public rights.

    All monopoly rests on the unregulated control of natural resources and natural advantages, and such control by the special interests is impossible without the help of politics. The alliance between business and politics is the most dangerous thing in our political life. It is the snake that we must kill. The special interests must get out of politics, or the American people will put them out of business. There is no third course.

    Because the special interests are in politics,

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    we as a Nation have lost confidence in Congress. This is a serious statement to make, but it is true. It does not apply, of course, to the men who really represent their constituents and who are making so fine a fight for the conservation of self-government. As soon as these men have won their battle and consolidated their victory, confidence in Congress will return.

    But in the meantime the people of the United States believe that, as a whole, the Senate and the House no longer represent the voters by whom they were elected, but the special interests by whom they are controlled. They believe so because they have so often seen Congress reject what the people desire, and do instead what the interests demand. And of this there could be no better illustration than the tariff.

    The tariff, under the policy of protection, was originally a means to raise the rate of wages. It has been made a tool to increase the cost of living. The wool schedule, professing

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    to protect the wool-grower, is found to result in sacrificing grower and consumer alike to one of the most rapacious of trusts.

    The cotton cloth schedule was increased in the face of the uncontradicted public testimony of the manufacturers themselves that it ought to remain unchanged.

    The Steel interests by a trick secured an indefensible increase in the tariff on structural steel.

    The sugar Trust stole from the Government like a petty thief, yet Congress, by means of a dishonest schedule, continues to protect it in bleeding the public.

    At the very time the duties on manufactured rubber were being raised, the leader of the Senate, in company with the Guggenheim Syndicate, was organizing an international rubber trust, whose charter made it also a holding company for the coal and copper deposits of the whole world.

    For a dozen years the demand of the

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    Nation for the Pure Food and Drug bill was outweighed in Congress by the interests which asserted their right to poison the people for a profit.

    Congress refused to authorize the preparation of a great plan of waterway development in the general interests, and for ten year has declined to pass the Appalachian and White Mountain National Forest bill, although the people are practically unanimous for both.

    The whole Nation is in favor of protecting the coal and other natural resources in Alaska, yet they are still in grave danger of being absorbed by the special interests. And as for the general conservation movement, Congress not only refused to help it on, but tried to forbid any progress without its help. Fortunately for us all, in this attempt it has utterly failed.

    This loss of confidence in Congress is a matter for deep concern to every thinking American. It has not come quickly or

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    without good reason. Every man who knows Congress well knows the names of Senators and members who betray the people they were elected to represent, and knows also the names of the masters whom they obey. A representative of the people who wears the collar of the special interests has touched bottom. He can sink no farther.

    Who is to blame because representatives of the people are so commonly led to betray their trust? We all are-we who have not taken the trouble to resent and put an and to the knavery we knew was going on. The brand of politics served out to us by the professional politician has long been composed largely of hot meals for the interests and hot air for the people, and we have all known it.

    Political platforms are not sincere statements of what the leaders of a party really believe, but rather forms of words which those leaders think they can get others to believe they believe. The realities of the

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    regular political game lie at present far beneath the surface; many of the issues advanced are mere empty sound; while the issues really at stake must be sought deep down in the politics of business-in politics for revenue only. All this the people realize as they never did before, and, what is more, they are ready to act on their knowledge.

    Some of the men who are responsible for the union of business and politics may be profoundly dishonest, but more of them are not. They were trained in a wrong school, and they cannot forget their training. Clay hardens by immobility-men's minds by standing pat. Both lose the power to take new impressions. Many of the old-style leaders regard the political truths which alone insure the progress of the Nation, and will hereafter completely dominate it, as the mere meaningless babble of political infants. They have grown old in the belief that money has the right to rule, and they can never

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    understand the point of view of the men who recognize in the corrupt political activity of a railroad or a trust a most dangerous kind of treason to government by the people.

    When party leaders go wrong, it requires a high sense of public duty, true courage, and a strong belief in the people for a man in politics to take his future in his hands and stand against them.

    The black shadow of party regularity as the supreme test in public affairs has passed away from the public mind. It is a great deliverance. The man in the street longer asks about a measure or a policy merely whether it is good Republican or good Democratic doctrine. Now he asks whether it is honest, and means what it says, whether it will promote the public interest weaken special privilege, and help to give every man a fair chance. If it will, it is good, no matter who proposed it. If it will not, it is bad, no matter who defends it.

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    It is a greater thing to be a good citizen than to be a good Republican or a good Democrat.

    The protest against politics for revenue only is as strong in one party as in the other, for the servants of the interests are plentiful in both. In that respect there is little to chose between them.

    Differences of purpose and belief between political parties to-day are vastly less than the differences within the parties. The great gulf of division which strikes across our whole people pays little heed to fading party lines, or to any distinction in name only. The vital separation is between the partisans of government by money for profit and the believers in government by men for human welfare.

    When political parties come to be badly led, when their leaders lose touch with the people, when their object ceases to be everybody's welfare and becomes somebody's profit, it is time to change the leaders. One

    {Begin page no. 141}

    of the most significant facts of the time is that the professional politicians appear to be wholly unaware of the great moral change which has come over political thinking in the last decade. They fail to see that the political dogmas, the political slogans, and the political methods of the past generation have lost their power, and that our people have come at last to judge of politics by the eternal rules of right and wrong.

    A new life is stirring among the dry bones of formal platforms and artificial issues. Morality has broken into politics. Political leaders, Trust-bred and Trust-fed, find it harder and harder to conceal their actual character. The brass-bound collar of privilege has become plain upon their necks for all men to see. They are known for what they are, and their time is short. But when they come to be retired it will be of little use to replace an unfaithful public servant who wears the collar by another public servant with the same collar around his neck. Above

    {Begin page no. 142}

    all, what we need in every office is free men representing a free people.

    The motto in every primary-in every election-should be this: No watch-dogs of the Interest need apply.

    The old order, standing pat in dull failure to sense the great forward sweep of a nation determined on honesty and publicity in public affairs, is already wearing thin under the ceaseless hammering of the progressive onset. The demand of the people for political progress will not be denied. Does any man, not blinded by personal interest or by the dust of political dry rot, suppose that the bulk of our people are anything else but progressive? If such there be, let him ask the young men, in whose minds the policies of to-morrow first see the light.

    The people of the United States demand a new deal and a square deal. They have grasped the fact that the special interests are now in control of public affairs. They

    {Begin page no. 143}

    have decided once more to take control of their own business. For the last ten years the determination to do so has been swelling like a river. They insist that the special interests shall go out of politics or out of business-one or the other. And the choice will lie with the interests themselves. If they resist, both the interests and the people will suffer. If wisely they accept the inevitable, the adjustment will not be hard. It will do their business no manner of harm to make it conform to the general welfare. But one way or the other, conform it must.

    The overshadowing question before thee American people to-day is this: Shall the Nation govern itself or shall the interests run this country? The one great political demand, underlying all others, giving meaning to all others, is this: The special interests must get out of politics. The old-style leaders, seeking to switch public attention away from this one absorbing and overwhelming issue are pitifully ridiculous and

    {Begin page no. 144}

    out of date. To try to divert the march of an aroused public conscience from this righteous inevitable conflict by means of obsolete political catchwords is like trying to dam the Mississippi with dead leaves.

    To drive the special interests out of politics is a vast undertaking, for in politics lies their strength. If they resist, as doubtless they will, it will call for nerve, endurance, and sacrifice on the part of the people. It will be no child's play, for the power of privilege is great. But the power of our people is greater still, and their steadfastness is equal to the need. The task is a tremendous one, both in the demands it will make and the rewards it will bring. It must be undertaken soberly, carried out firmly and justly, and relentlessly followed to the very end. Two things alone can bring success. The first is honesty in public men, without which no popular government can long succeed. The second is complete publicity of all the affairs in which the public has an interest,

    {Begin page no. 145}

    such as the business of corporations and political expenses during campaigns and between them. To these ends, many unfaithful public servants must be retired, much wise legislation must be framed and passed, and the struggle will be bitter and long. But it will be well worth all it will cost, for self-government is at stake.

    There can be no legislative cure-all for great political evils, but legislation can make easier the effective expression and execution of the popular will. One step in this direction, which I personally believe should be taken without delay, is a law forbidding any Senator or Member of Congress or other public servant to perform any services for any corporation engaged in interstate commerce, or to accept any valuable consideration, directly or indirectly, from any such corporation, while he is a representative of the people, and for a reasonable time thereafter. If such a law would be good for the Nation in its affairs, a similar law should

    {Begin page no. 146}

    be good for the States and the cities in their affairs. And I see no reason why Members and Senators and State Legislators should not keep the people informed of their pecuniary interest in interstate or public service corporations, if they have any. It is certain such publicity would do the public no harm. This Nation has decided to do away with government by money for profit and return to the government our forefathers died for and gave to us-government by men for human welfare and human progress.

    Opposition to progress has produced its natural results. There is profound dissatisfaction and unrest, and profound cause for both. Yet the result is good, for at last the country is awake. For a generation at least there has not been a situation so promising for the ultimate public welfare as that of to-day. Our people are like a hive of bees, full of agitation before taking flight to a better place. Also they are ready to sting. Out of the whole situation

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    shines the confident hope of better things. If any man is discouraged, let him consider the rise of cleaner standards in this country within the last ten years.

    The task of translating these new standards into action lies before us. From sea to sea the people are taking a fresh grip on their own affairs. The conservation of political liberty will take its proper place alongside the conservation of the means of living, and in both we shall look to the permanent welfare by the plain people as the supreme end. The way out lies in direct interest by the people in their own affairs and direct action in the few great things that really count.

    What is the conclusion of the whole matter? The special interests must be put out of politics. I believe the young men will do it.

  • Henry David Thoreau, "Walking," from Excursions, 1863 (excerpt)

    "Walking," from Excursions

    NOTE: This is an excerpt. For the full document, see Excursions in The Evolution of the Conservation Movement, 1850-1920.

    Begin page


    I wish to speak a word for Nature, for absolute freedom and wildness, as contrasted with a freedom and culture merely civil,-to regard man as an inhabitant, or a part and parcel of Nature, rather than a member of society. I wish to make an extreme statement, if so I may make an emphatic one, for there are enough champions of civilization: the minister and the school-committee, and every one of you will take care of that.

    I have met with but one or two persons in the course of my life who understood the art of Walking, that is, of taking walks,-who had a genius, so to speak, for sauntering : which word is beautifully derived "from idle people who moved about the country, in the Middle Ages, and asked charity, under pretence of going la Sainte Terre," to the Holy Land, till the children exclaimed, "There goes a Sainte-Terrer," a Saunterer,-a Holy-Lander. They who never go to the Holy Land in their walks, as

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    they pretend, are indeed mere idlers and vagabonds; but they who do go there are saunterers in the good sense, such as I mean. Some, however, would derive the word from sans terre, without land or a home, which, therefore, in the good sense, will mean, having no particular home, but equally at home everywhere. For this is the secret of successful sauntering. He who sits still in a house all the time may be the greatest vagrant of all; but the saunterer, in the good sense, is no more vagrant than the meandering river, which is all the while sedulously seeking the shortest course to the sea. But I prefer the first, which, indeed, is the most probable derivation. For every walk is a sort of crusade, preached by some Peter the Hermit in us, to go forth and reconquer this Holy Land from the hands of the Infidels.

    It is true, we are but faint-hearted crusaders, even the walkers, nowadays, who undertake no persevering, never-ending enterprises. Our expeditions are but tours, and come round again at evening to the old hearth-side from which we set out. Half the walk is but retracing our steps. We should go forth on the shortest walk, perchance, in the spirit of undying adventure, never to return,-prepared to send back our embalmed hearts only as relics to our desolate kingdoms. If you are ready to leave father

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    and mother, and brother and sister; and wife and child and friends, and never see them again,-if you have paid your debts, and made your will, and settled all your affairs, and are a free man, then you are ready for a walk. To come down to my own experience, my companion and I, for I sometimes have a companion, take pleasure in fancying ourselves knights of a new, or rather an old, order,-not Equestrians or Chevaliers, not Ritters or riders, but Walkers, a still more ancient and honorable class, I trust. The chivalric and heroic spirit which once belonged to the Rider seems now to reside in, or perchance to have subsided into, the Walker,-not the Knight, but Walker Errant. He is a sort of fourth estate, outside of church and State and People.

    We have felt that we almost alone hereabouts practiced this noble art; though, to tell the truth, at least, if their own assertions are to be received, most of my townsmen would fain walk sometimes, as I do, but they cannot. No wealth can buy the requisite leisure, freedom, and independence, which are the capital in this profession. It comes only by the grace of God. It requires a direct dispensation from Heaven to become a walker. You must be born into the family of the Walkers. Ambulator nascitur, non fit. Some of my townsmen, it is true, can remember and

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    have described to me some walks which they took ten years ago, in which they were so blessed as to lose themselves for half an hour in the woods; but I know very well that they have confined themselves to the highways ever since, whatever pretensions they may make to belong to this select class. No doubt they were elevated for a moment as by the reminiscence of a previous state of existence, when even they were foresters and outlaws.

    "When he came to grene wode,
    In a mery morayuge,
    There he herde the notes small
    Of byrdes mery syngynge.

    "It is ferre gone, sayd Robyn,
    That I was last here;
    Me lyste a lytell for to ahote
    At the donne dere."

    I think that I cannot preserve my health and spirits, unless I spend four hours a day at least,-and it is commonly more than that,-sauntering through the woods and over the hills and fields, absolutely free from all worldly engagements. You may safely say, A penny for your thoughts, or a thousand pounds. When sometimes I am reminded that the mechanics and shopkeepers stay in their shops not only all the forenoon, but all the afternoon too, sitting with crossed legs, so many of them,-as if the legs were made to

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    sit upon, and not to stand or walk upon,-I think that they deserve some credit for not having all committed suicide long ago.

    I, who cannot stay in my chamber for a single day without acquiring some rust, and when sometimes I have stolen forth for a walk at the eleventh hour of four o'clock in the afternoon, too late to redeem the day, when the shades of night were already beginning to be mingled with the daylight, have felt as if I had committed some sin to be atoned for,-I confess that I am astonished at the power of endurance, to say nothing of the moral insensibility, of my neighbors who confine themselves to shops and offices the whole day for weeks and months, ay, and years almost together. I know not what manner of stuff they are of,-sitting there now at three o'clock in the afternoon, as if it were three o'clock in the morning. Bonaparte may talk of the three-o'clock-in-the-morning courage, but it is nothing to the courage which can sit down cheerfully at this hour in the afternoon over against one's self whom you have know all the morning, to starve out a garrison to whom you are bound by such strong ties of sympathy. I wonder that about this time, or say between four and five o'clock in the afternoon, too late for the morning papers and too early for the evening ones, there is not a general explosion

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    heard up and down the street, scattering a legion of antiquated and house-bred notions and whims to the four winds for an airing-and so the evil cure itself.

    How womankind, who are confined to the house still more than men, stand it I do not know; but I have ground to suspect that most of them do not stand it at all. When, early in a summer afternoon, we have been shaking the dust of the village from the skirts of our garments, making haste past those houses with purely Doric or Gothic fronts, which have such an air of repose about them, my companion whispers that probably about these times their occupants are all gone to bed. Then it is that I appreciate the beauty and the glory of architecture, which itself never turns in, but forever stands out and erect, keeping watch over the slumberers.

    No doubt temperament, and, above all, age, have a good deal to do with it. As a man grows older, his ability to sit still and follow indoor occupations increases. He grows vespertinal in his habits as the evening of life approaches, till at last he comes forth only just before sundown, and gets all the walk that he requires in half an hour.

    But the waking of which I speak has nothing in it akin to taking exercise, as it is called, as

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    the sick take medicine at stated hours,-as the swinging of dumb-bells or chairs; but is itself the enterprise and adventure of the day. If you would get exercise, go in search of the springs of life. Think of a man's swinging dumb-bells for his health, when those springs are bubbling up in far-off pastures unsought by him!

    Moreover, you must walk like a camel, which is said to be the only beast which ruminates when walking. When a traveller asked Wordsworth's servant to show him her master's study, she answered, "Here is his library, but his study is out of doors."

    Living much out of doors, in the sun and wind, will no doubt produce a certain roughness of character,-will cause a thicker cuticle to grow over some of the finer qualities of our nature, as on the face and hands, or as severe manual labor robs the hands of some of their delicacy of touch. So staying in the house, on the other hand, may produce a softness and smoothness, not to say thinness of skin, accompanied by an increased sensibility to certain impressions. Perhaps we should be more susceptible to some influences important to our intellectual and moral growth, if the sun had shone and the wind blown on us a little less; and no doubt it is a nice matter to proportion rightly the thick and the skin. But methinks that is a scurf that

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    will fall off fast enough,-that the natural remedy is to be found in the proportion which the night bears to the day, the winter to the summer, thought to experience. There will be so much the more air and sunshine in our thoughts. The callous palms of the laborer are conversant with finer tissues of self-respect and heroism, whose touch thrills the heart, than the languid finger of idleness. That is mere sentimentality that lies abed by day and thinks itself white, far from the tan and callus of experience.

    When we walk, we naturally go to the fields and woods: what would become of us, if we walked only in a garden or a mall? Even some sects of philosophers have felt the necessity of importing the woods to themselves, since they did not go to the woods. "They planted groves and walks of Platanes," where they took subdiales ambulationes in porticos open to the air. Of course it is of no use to direct our steps to the woods, if they do not carry as thither. I am alarmed when it happens that I have walked a mile into the woods bodily, without getting there in spirit. In my afternoon walk I would fain forget all my morning occupations and my obligations to society. But it sometimes happens that I cannot easily shake off the village. The thought of some work will run in my head, and I am not where my body is,-I am out of

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    my senses. In my walks I would fain return to my senses. What business have I in the woods, if I am thinking of something out of the wood? I suspect myself, and cannot help a shudder, when I find myself so implicated even in what are called good works,-for this may sometimes happen.

    My vicinity affords many good walks; and though for so many years I have walked almost every day, and sometimes for several days together, I have not yet exhausted them. An absolutely new prospect is a great happiness, and I can still get this any afternoon. Two or three hours walking will carry me to as strange a country as I expect ever to see. A single farmhouse which I had not seen before is sometimes as good as the dominions of the King of Dahomey. There is in fact a sort of harmony discoverable between the capabilities of the landscape within a circle of ten miles radius, or the limits of an afternoon walk, and the threescore years and ten of human life. It will never become quite familiar to you.

    Nowadays almost all man's improvements, so called, as the building of houses, and the cutting down of the forest and of all large trees, simply deform the landscape, and make it more and more tame and cheap. A people who would begin by burning the fences and let the

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    forest stand! I saw the fences half consumed, their ends lost in the middle of the prairie, and some worldly miser with a surveyor looking after his bounds, while heaven had taken place around him, and he did not see the angels going to and fro, but was looking for an old post-hole in the midst of paradise. I looked again, and saw him standing in the middle of a boggy, stygian fen, surrounded by devils, and he had found his bounds without a doubt, three little stones, where a stake had been driven, and looking nearer, I saw that the Prince of Darkness was his surveyor.

    I can easily walk ten, fifteen, twenty, any number of miles, commencing at my own door, without going by any house, without crossing a road except where the fox and the mink do: first along by the river, and then the brook, and then the meadow and the wood-side. There are square miles in my vicinity which have no inhabitant. From many a hill I can see civilization and the abodes of man afar. The farmers and their works are scarcely more obvious than woodchucks and their burrows. Man and his affairs, church and state and school, trade and commerce, and manufacturers and agriculture, even politics, the most alarming of them all,-I am pleased to see how little space they occupy in the landscape. Politics is but a narrow

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    field, and that still narrower highway yonder leads to it. I sometimes direct the traveller thither. If you would go to the political world, follow the great road,-follow that market-man, keep his dust in your eyes, and it will lead you straight to it; for it, too, has its place merely, and does not occupy all space. I pass from it as from a bean-field into the forest, and it is forgotten. In one half-hour I can walk off to some portion of the earth's surface where a man does not stand from one year's end to another, and there, consequently, politics are not, for they are but as the cigar-smoke of a man.

    The village is the place to which the roads tend, a sort of expansion of the highway, as a lake of a river. It is the body of which roads are the arms and legs,-a trivial or quadrivial place, the thoroughfare and ordinary of travellers. The word is from the Latin villa, which, together with via, a way, or more anciently ved and vella, Varro derives from veho, to carry, because the villa is the place to and from which things are carried. They who got their living by teaming were said vellaturam facere. Hence, too, apparently, the Latin word vilis and our vile; also villain. This suggests what kind of degeneracy villagers are liable to. They are wayworn by the travel that goes by and over them, without travelling themselves.

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    Some do not walk at all; others walk in the highways; a few walk across lots. Roads are made for horses and men of business. I do not travel in them much, comparatively, because I am not in a hurry to get to any tavern or grocery or livery-stable or depot to which they lead. I am a good horse to travel, but not from choice a roadster. The landscape-painter uses the figures of men to mark a road. He would not make that use of my figure. I walk out into a Nature such as the old prophets and poets, Menn, Moses, Homer, Chaucer, walked in. You may name it America, but it is not America: neither Americus Vespucius, nor Columbus, nor the rest were the discoverers of it. There is a truer account of it in mythology than in any history of America, so called, that I have seen.

    However, there are a few old roads that may be trodden with profit, as if they led somewhere now that they are nearly discontinued. There is the Old Marlborough Road, which does not go to Marlborough now, methinks, unless that is Marlborough where it carries me. I am the bolder to speak of it here, because I presume that there are one or two such roads in every town.

    Where they once dug for money,
    But never found any;
    Where sometimes Martial Miles

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    Singly files,
    And Elijah Wood,
    I fear for no good:
    No other man,
    Save Elisha Dugan,-
    O man of wild habits,
    Partridges and rabbits,
    Who hast no cares
    Only to set snares,
    Who liv'st all alone,
    Close to the bone,
    And where life is sweetest
    Constantly eatest.

    When the spring stirs my blood
    With the instinct to travel,
    I can get enough gravel
    On the Old Marlborough Road.
    Nobody repairs it,
    For nobody wears it;
    It is a living way,
    As the Christians say.

    Not many there be
    Who enter therein,
    Only the guests of the
    Irishman Quin.

    What is it, what is it,
    But a direction out there,
    And the bare possibility
    Of going somewhere?
    Great guide-boards of stone,
    But travellers none;
    Cenotaphs of the towns
    Named on their crowns.
    It is worth going to see
    Where you might be.

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    What king
    Did the thing,
    I am still wondering;
    Set up how or when,
    By what selectmen,
    Gourgas or Lee,
    Clark or Darby?
    They're a great endeavor
    To be something forever;
    Blank tablets of stone,
    Where a traveller might groan,
    And in one sentence
    Grave all that is known;
    Which another might read,
    In his extreme need.

    I know one or two
    Lines that would do,
    Literature that might stand
    All over the land,
    Which a man could remember
    Till next December,
    And read again in the spring,
    After the thawing.

    If with fancy unfurled
    You leave your abode,
    You may go round the world
    By the Old Marlborough Road.

    At present, in this vicinity, the best part of the land is not private property; the landscape is not owned, and the walker enjoys comparative freedom. But possibly the day will come when it will be partitioned off into so-called pleasure-grounds, in which a few will take a

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    narrow and exclusive pleasure only,-when fences shall be multiplied, and man-traps and other engines invented to confine men to the public road, and walking over the surface of God's earth shall be construed to mean trespassing on some gentleman's grounds. To enjoy a thing exclusively is commonly to exclude yourself from the true enjoyment of it. Let us improve our opportunities, then, before the evil days come.

    What is it that makes it so hard sometimes to determine whither we will walk? I believe that there is a subtile magnetism in Nature, which, if we unconsciously yield to it, will direct us aright. It is not indifferent to us which way we walk. There is a right way; but we are very liable from heedlessness and stupidity to take the wrong one. We would fain take that walk, never yet taken by us through this actual world, which is perfectly symbolical of the path which we love to travel in the interior and ideal world; and sometimes, no doubt, we find it difficult to choose our direction, because it does not yet exist distinctly in our idea.

    When I go out of the house for a walk, uncertain as yet whither I will bend my steps, and submit myself to my instinct to decide for me, I find, strange and whimsical as it may seem, that I finally and inevitably settle southwest,

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    toward some particular wood or meadow or deserted pasture or hill in that direction. My needle is slow to settle,-varies a few degrees, and does not always point due southwest, it is true, and it has good authority for this variation, but it always settles between west and south-south-west. The future lies that way to me, and the earth seems more unexhausted and richer on that side. The outline which would bound my walks would be, not a circle, but a parabola, or rather like one of those cometary orbits which have been thought to be non-returning curves, in this case opening westward, in which my house occupies the place of the sun. I turn round and round irresolute sometimes for a quarter of an hour, until I decide, for a thousandth time, that I will walk into the southwest or west. Eastward I go only by force; but westward I go free. Thither no business leads me. It is hard for me to believe that I shall find fair landscapes or sufficient wildness and freedom behind the eastern horizon. I am not excited by the prospect of a walk thither; but I believe that the forest which I see in the western horizon stretches uninterruptedly toward the setting sun, and there are no towns nor cities in it of enough consequence to disturb me. Let me live where I will, on this side is the city, on that the wilderness, and ever I am leaving the city more and

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    more, and withdrawing into the wildness. I should not lay so much stress on this fact, if I did not believe that something like this is the prevailing tendency of my countrymen. I must walk toward Oregon, and not toward Europe. And that way the nation is moving, and I may say that mankind progress from east to west. Within a few a years we have witnessed the phenomenon of a southeastward migration, in the settlement of Australia; but this affects us as a retrograde movement, and, judging from the moral and physical character of the first generation of Australians, has not yet proved a successful experiment. The eastern Tartars think that there is nothing west beyond Thibet. "The world ends there," say they, "beyond there is nothing but a shoreless sea." It is unmitigated East where they live.

    We go eastward to realize history and study the work of art and literature, retracing the steps of the race; we go westward as into the future, with a spirit of enterprise and adventure. The Atlantic is a Lethean stream, in our passage over which we have had an opportunity to forget the Old World and its institutions. If we do not succeed this time, there is perhaps one 1 more chance for the race left before it arrives on the banks of the Styx; and that is in the Lethe of the Pacific, which is three times as wide.

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    I know not how significant it is, or how far it is an evidence of singularity, that an individual should thus consent in his pettiest walk with the general movement of the race; but I know that something skin to the migratory instinct in birds and quadrupeds,-which, in some instances, is known to have affected the squirrel tribe, impelling them to a general and mysterious movement, in which they were seen, say some, crossing the broadest rivers, each on its particular chip, with its tail raised for a sail, and bridging narrower streams with their dead,-that something like the furor which affects the domestic cattle in the spring, and which is referred to a worm in their tails,-affects both nations and individuals, either perennially or from time to time. Not a flock of wild geese cackles over our town, but it to some extent unsettles the value of real estate here, and, if I were a broker, I should probably take that disturbance into account.

    "Than longen folk to gon on pilgrimages,
    And palmeres for to seken strange strondes.

    Every sunset which I witness inspires me with the desire to go to a West as distant and as fair as that into which the sun goes down. He appears to migrate westward daily, and tempt us to follow him. He is the Great Western Pioneer whom the nations follow.

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    We dream all night of those mountain-ridges in the horizon, though they may be of vapor only, which were last gilded by his rays. The island of Atlantis, and the islands and gardens of the Hesperides, a sort of terrestrial paradise, appear to have been the Great West of the ancients, enveloped in mystery and poetry. Who has not seen in imagination, when looking into the sunset sky, the gardens of the Hesperides, and the foundation of all those fables?

    Columbus felt the westward tendency more strongly than any before. He obeyed it, and found a New World for Castile and Leon. The herd of men in those days scented fresh pastures from afar.

    "And now the sun has stretched out all the hills,
    And now was dropped into the western bay;
    At last he rose, and twitched his mantle blue;
    To-morrow to fresh woods and pastures now."

    Where on the globe can there be found an area of equal extent with that occupied by the bulk of our States, so fertile and so rich and varied in its productions, and at the same time so habitable by the European, as this is? Michaux, who knew but part of them, says that "that species of large trees are much more numerous in North America than in Europe; in the United States there are more than

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    one hundred and forty species that exceed thirty feet in height; in France there are but thirty that attain this size." Later botanists more than confirm his observations. Humboldt came to America to realize his youthful dreams of a tropical vegetation, and he beheld it in its greatest perfection in the primitive forests of the Amazon, the most gigantic wilderness on the earth, which he has so eloquently described. The geographer Guyot, himself a European, goes farther,-farther than I am ready to follow him; yet not when he says,- "As the plant is made for the animal, as the vegetable world is made for the animal world, America is made for the man of the Old World.....

    The man of the Old World set out upon his way. Leaving the highlands of Asia, he descends form station to station towards Europe. Each of his steps is marked by a new civilization superior to the preceding, by a greater power of development. Arrived at the Atlantic, he pauses on the shore of this unknown ocean, the bounds of which he knows not, and turns upon his footprints for an instant." When he has exhausted the rich soil of Europe, and reinvigorated himself, "then recommences his adventurous career westward as in the earliest ages." So far Guyot.

    From this western impulse coming in contact

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    with the barrier of the Atlantic sprang the commerce and enterprise of modern times. The younger Michaux, in his "Travels West of the Alleghanies in 1802," says that the common inquiry in the newly settled West was, "From what part of the world have you come? As if these vast and fertile regions would naturally be the place of meeting and common country of all the inhabitants of the globe."

    To use an obsolete Latin word, I might say, Ex Oriente lux ; ex Occidente Frux. From the East light; from the West fruit.

    Sir Francis Head, an English traveller and a Governor-General of Canada, tells us that "in both the northern and southern hemispheres of the New World, Nature has not only outlined her works on a larger scale, but has painted the whole picture with brighter and more costly colors than she used in delineating and in beautifying the Old World. .... The heavens of America appear infinitely higher, the sky is bluer, the air is fresher, the cold is intenser, the moon looks larger, the stars are brighter, the thunder is louder, the lightning is vivider, the wind is stronger, the rain is heavier, the mountains are higher, the rivers longer, the forests bigger, the plains broader." This statement will do at least to set against Buffon's account of this part of the world and its productions.

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    Linnus said long ago, "Nescio qu facies lta, glabra plantis Americanis: I know not what there is of joyous and smooth in the aspect of American plants;" and I think that in this country there are no, or at most very few, African besti, beasts, as the Romans called them, and that in this respect also it is peculiarly fitted for the habitation of man. We are told that within three miles of the centre of the East-Indian city of Singapore, some of the inhabitants are annually carried off by tigers; but the traveller can lie down in the woods at night almost anywhere in North America without fear of wild beasts.

    These are encouraging testimonies. If the moon looks larger here than in Europe, probably the sun looks larger also. If the heavens of America appear infinitely higher, and the stars brighter, I trust that these facts are symbolical of the height to which the philosophy and poetry and religion of her inhabitants may one day soar. At length, perchance, the immaterial heaven will appear as much higher to the American mind, and the intimations that star it as much brighter. For I believe that climate does thus react on man,-as there is something in the mountain-air that feeds the spirit and inspires. Will not man grow to greater perfection intellectually as well as physically under

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    these influences? Or is it unimportant how many foggy days there are in his life? I trust that we shall be more imaginative, that our thoughts will be clearer, fresher, and more ethereal, as our sky,-our understanding more comprehensive and broader, like our plains,-our intellect generally on a grander scale, like our thunder and lightning, our rivers and mountains and forests,-and our hearts shall even correspond in breadth and depth and grandeur to our inland seas. Perchance there will appear to the traveller something, he knows not what, of lta and glabra, of joyous and serene, in our very faces. Else to what end does the world go on, and why was America discovered?

    To Americans I hardly need to say,-

    "Westward the star of empire takes it way."

    As a true patriot, I should be ashamed to think that Adam in paradise was more favorably situated on the whole than the backwoodsman in this country.

    Our sympathies in Massachusetts are not confined to New England; though we may be estranged from the South, we sympathize with the West. There is the home of the younger sons, as among the Scandinavians they took to the sea for their inheritance. It is too late to

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    be studying Hebrew; it is more important to understand even the slang of to-day.

    Some months ago I went to see a panorama of the Rhine. It was like a dream of the Middle Ages. I floated down its historic stream in something more than imagination, under bridges built by the Romans, and repaired by later heroes, past cities and castles whose very names were music to my ears, and each of which was the subject of a legend. There were Ehrenbreitstein and Rolandseck and Coblentz, which I knew only in history. They were ruins that interested me chiefly. There seemed to come up from its waters, and its vine-clad hills and valleys a hushed music as of Crusaders departing for the Holy Land. I floated along under the spell of enchantment, as if I had been transported to an heroic age, and breathed an atmosphere of chivalry.

    Soon after, I went to see a panorama of the Mississippi, and as I worked my way up the river in the light of to-day, and saw the steamboats wooding up, counted the rising cities, gazed on the fresh ruins of Nauvoo, beheld the Indians moving west across the stream, and, as before I had looked up the Moselle now looked up the Ohio and the Missouri, and heard the legends of Dubuque and of

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    Wenona's Cliff,-still thinking more of the future than of the past or present,-I saw that this was a Rhine stream of a different kind; that the foundations of castles were yet to be laid, and the famous bridges were yet to be thrown over the river; and I felt that this was the heroic age itself, though we know it not, for the hero is commonly the simplest and obscurest of men.

    The West of which I speak is but another name for the Wild; and what I have been preparing to say is, that in Wildness is the preservation of the World. Every tree sends its fibres forth in search of the Wild. The cities import it at any price. Men plough and sail for it, From the forest and wilderness come the tonics and barks which brace mankind. Our ancestors were savages. The story of Romulus and Remus being suckled by a wolf is not a meaningless fable. The founders of every State which has risen to eminence have drawn their nourishment and vigor from a similar wild source. It was because the children of the Empire were not suckled by the wolf that they were conquered and displaced by the children of the Northern forests who were.

    I believe in the forest, and in the meadow, and in the night in which the corn grows. We

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    require an infusion of hemlock-spruce or arborvit in our tea. There is a difference between eating and drinking for strength and from mere gluttony. The Hottentots eagerly devour the marrow of the koodoo and other antelopes raw, as a matter of course. Some of our Northern Indians eat raw the marrow of the Arctic reindeer, as well as various other parts, including the summits of the antlers, as long as they are soft. And herein, perchance, they have stolen a march on the cooks of Paris. They get what usually goes to feed the fire. This is probably better than stall-fed beef and slaughter-house pork to make a man of. Give me a wildness whose glance no civilization can endure,-as if we lived on the marrow of koodoos devoured raw.

    There are some intervals which border the strain of the wood-thrush, to which I would migrate-wild lands where no settler has squatted; to which, methinks, I am already acclimated.

    The African hunter Cummings tells us that the skin of the eland, as well as that of most other antelopes just killed, emits the most delicious perfume of trees and grass. I would have every man so much like a wild antelope, so much a part and parcel of Nature, that his very person should thus sweetly advertise our

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    senses of his presence, and remind us of those parts of Nature which he most haunts. I feel no disposition to be satirical, when the trapper's coat emits the odor of musquash even; it is a sweeter scent to me than that which commonly exhales from the merchant's or the scholar's garments. When I go into their wardrobes and handle their vestments, I am reminded of no grassy plains and flowery meads which they have frequented, but of dusty merchants exchanges and libraries rather.

    A tanned skin is something more than respectable, and perhaps olive is a fitter color than white for a man,-a denizen of the woods. "The pale white man!" I do not wonder that the African pitied him. Darwin the naturalist says, "A white man bathing by the side of a Tahitian was like a plant bleached by the gardener's art, compared with a fine, dark green one, growing vigorously in the open fields."

    Ben Jonson exclaims,-

    "How near to good is what is fair!"
    So I would say,-
    How near to good is what is wild!

    Life consists with wildness. The most alive is the wildest. Not yet subdued to man, its presence refreshes him. One who pressed forward incessantly and never rested from his labors,

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    who grew fast and made infinite demands on life, would always find himself in a new country or wilderness, and surrounded by the raw material of life. He would be climbing over the prostrate stems of primitive forest-trees.

    Hope and the future for me are not in lawns and cultivated fields, not in towns and cities, but in the impervious and quaking swamps. When, formerly, I have analyzed my partiality for some farm which I had contemplated purchasing, I have frequently found that I was attracted solely by a few square rods of impermeable and unfathomable bog,-a natural sink in one corner of it. That was the jewel which dazzled me. I derive more of my subsistence from the swamps which surround my native town than from the cultivated gardens in the village. There are no richer parterres to my eyes than the dense beds of dwarf andromeda ( Cassandra calyculata ) which cover these tender places on the earth's surface. Botany cannot go farther than tell me the names of the shrubs which grow there.-the high-blueberry, panicled andromeda, lamb-kill, azalea, and rhodora,-all standing in the quaking sphagnum. I often think that I should like to have my house front on this mass of dull red bushes, omitting other flower plots and border, transplanted spruce and trim box, even gravelled

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    walks,-to have this fertile spot under my windows, not a few imported barrow-fulls of soil only to cover the sand which was thrown out in digging the cellar. Why not put my house, my parlor, behind this plot, instead of behind that meagre assemblage of curiosities, that poor apology for a Nature and Art, which I call my front-yard? It is an effort to clear up and make a decent appearance when the carpenter and mason have departed, though done as much for the passer-by as the dweller within. The most tasteful front-yard fence was never an agreeable object of study to me; the most elaborate ornaments; acorn-tops, or what not, soon wearied and disgusted me. Bring your sills up to the very edge of the swamp, then, (though it may not be the best place for a dry cellar,) so that there be no access on that side to citizens. Front-yards are not made to walk in, but, at most, through, and you could go in the back way.

    Yes, though you may think me perverse, if it were proposed to me to dwell in the neighborhood of the most beautiful garde that ever human art contrived, or else of a Dismal swamp, I should certainly decide for the swamp. How vain, then, have been all your labors, citizens, for me!

    My spirits infallibly rise in proportion to the outward dreariness. Give me the ocean, the

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    desert or the wilderness! In the desert, pure air and solitude compensate for want of moisture and fertility. The traveller Burton says of it,-"You morale improves; you become frank and cordial, hospitable and single-minded. .... In the desert, spirituous liquors excite only disgust. There is a keen enjoyment in a mere animal existence." They who have been travelling long on the steppes of Tartary say,-"On rentering cultivated lands, the agitation, perplexity, and turmoil of civilization oppressed and suffocated us; the air seemed to fail us, and we felt every moment as if about to die of asphyxia." When I would recreate myself, I seek the darkest wood, the thickest and most interminable, and, to the citizen, most dismal swamp. I enter a swamp as a sacred place,-a sanctum sanclorum. There is the strength, the marrow of Nature. The wild-wood covers the virgin mould,-and the same soil is good for men and for trees. A man's health requires as many acres of meadow to his prospect as his farm does loads of muck. There are the strong meats on which he feeds. A town is saved, not more by the righteous men in it than by the woods and swamps that surround it. A township where one primitive forest waves above, while another primitive forest rots below,-such a town is fitted to raise not only corn

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    and potatoes, but poets and philosophers for the coming ages. In such a soil grew Homer and Confucius and the rest, and out of such a wilderness comes the Reformer eating locusts and wild honey.

    To preserve wild animals implies generally the creation of a forest for them to dwell in or resort to. So it is with man. A hundred years ago they sold bark in our streets peeled from our own woods. In the very aspect of those primitive and rugged trees, there was, methinks, a tanning principle which hardened and consolidated the fibres of men's thoughts. Ah! already I shudder for these comparatively degenerate days of my native village, when you cannot collect a load of bark of good thickness,-and we no longer produce tar and turpentine.

    The civilized nations-Greece, Rome, England-have been sustained by the primitive forests which anciently rotted where they stand. They survive as long as the soil is not exhausted. Alas for human culture! little is to be expected of a nation, when the vegetable mould is exhausted, and it is compelled to make manure of the bones of its fathers. There the poet sustains himself merely by his own superfluous fat, and the philosopher comes down on his marrow-bones.

    It is said to be the task of the American "to work the virgin soil," and that "agriculture here

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    already assumes proportions unknown everywhere else." I think that the farmer displaces the Indian even because he redeems the meadow, and so makes himself stronger and in some respects more natural. I was surveying for a man the other day a single straight line one hundred and thirty-two rods long, through a swamp, at whose entrance might have been written the words which Dante read over the entrance to the infernal regions,-"Leave all hope, ye that enter,"-that is, of ever getting out again; where at one time I saw my employer actually up to his neck and swimming for his life in his property, though it was still winter. He had another similar swamp which I could not survey at all, because it was completely under water, and nevertheless, with regard to a third swamp, which I did survey from a distance, he remarked to me, true to his instincts, that he would not part with it for any consideration, on account of the mud which it contained. And that man intends to put a girdling ditch round the whole in the course of forty months, and so redeem it by the magic of his spade. I refer to him only as the type of a class.

    The weapons with which we have gained our most important victories, which should be handed down as heirlooms from father to son, are not the sword and the lance, but the bushwhack,

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    the turf-cutter, the spade, and the bog-hoe, rusted with the blood of many a meadow, and begrimed with the dust of many a hard-fought field. The very winds blew the Indian's cornfield into the meadow, and pointed out the way which he had not the skill to follow. He had no better implement with which to intrench himself in the land than a clam-shell. But the farmer is armed with plough and spade.

    In Literature it is only the wild that attracts us. Dulness is but another name for tameness. It is the uncivilized free and wild thinking in "Hamlet" and the "Iliad," in all the Scriptures and Mythologies, not learned in the schools, that delights us. As the wild duck is more swift and beautiful than the tame, so is the wild-the mallard-thought, which mid fulling dews wings its way above the fens. A truly good book is something as natural, and as unexpectedly and unaccountably fair and perfect, as a wild flower discovered on the prairies of the West or in the jungles of the East. Genius is a light which makes the darkness visible, like the lightning's flash, which perchance shatters the temple of knowledge itself,-and not a taper lighted at the hearth-stone of the race, which pales before the light of common day.

    English literature, from the days of the minstrels to the Lake Poets,-Chaucer and Spenser

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    and Milton, and even Shakspeare, included,-breathes no quite fresh and in this sense wild strain. It is an essentially tame and civilized literature, reflecting Greece and Rome. Her wilderness is a green wood,-her wild man a Robin Hood. There is plenty of genial love of Nature, but not so much of Nature herself. Her chronicles inform us when her wild animals, but not when the wild man in her, became extinct.

    The science of Humboldt is one thing, poetry is another thing. The poet to-day, notwithstanding all the discoveries of science, and the accumulated learning of mankind, enjoys no advantage over Homer.

    Where is the literature which gives expression to Nature? He would be a poet who could impress the winds and streams into his service, to speak for him; who nailed words to their primitive senses, as farmers drive down stakes in the spring, which the frost has heaved; who derived his words as often as he used them,-transplanted them to his page with earth adhering to their roots; whose words were so true and fresh and natural that they would appear to expand like the buds at the approach of spring, though they lay half-smothered between two musty leaves in a library,-ay, to bloom and bear fruit there, after their kind, annually, for the faithful reader, in sympathy with surrounding Nature.

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    I do not know of any poetry to quote which adequately expresses this yearning for the Wild. Approached from this side, the best poetry is tame. I do not know where to find in any literature, ancient or modern, any account which contents me of that Nature with which even I am acquainted. You will perceive that I demand something which no Augustan nor Elizabethan age, which no culture, in short, can give. Mythology comes nearer to it than anything. How much more fertile a Nature, at least, has Grecian mythology its root in than English literature! Mythology is the crop which the Old World bore before its soil was exhausted, before the fancy and imagination were affected with blight; and which it still bears, wherever its pristine vigor is unabated. All other literatures endure only as the elms which overshadow our houses; but this is like the great dragon-tree of the Western Isles, as old as mankind, and, whether that does or not, will endure as long; for the decay of other literatures makes the soil in which it thrives.

    The West is preparing to add its fables to those of the East. The valleys of the Ganges, the Nile, and the Rhine, having yielded their crop, it remains to be seen what the valleys of the Amazon, the Plate, the Orinoco, the St. Lawrence, and the Mississippi will produce. Perchance,

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    when, in the course of ages, American liberty has become a fiction of the past,-as it is to some extent a fiction of the present,-the poets of the world will be inspired by American mythology.

    The wildest dreams of wild men, even, are not the less true, though they may not recommend themselves to the sense which is most common among Englishmen and Americans today. It is not every truth that recommends itself to the common sense. Nature has a place for the wild clematis as well as for the cabbage. Some expressions of truth are reminiscent,-others merely sensible, as the phrase is,-others prophetic. Some forms of disease, even, may prophesy forms of health. The geologist has discovered that the figures of serpents, griffins, flying dragons, and other fanciful embellishments of heraldry, have their prototypes in the forms of fossil species which were extinct before man was created, and hence "indicate a faint and shadowy knowledge of a previous state of organic existence." The Hindoos dreamed that the earth rested on an elephant, and the elephant on a tortoise, and the tortoise on a serpent; and though it may be an unimportant coincidence, it will not be out of place here to state, that a fossil tortoise has lately been discovered in Asia large enough to support an elephant.

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    I confess that I am partial to these wild fancies, which transcend the order of time and development. They are the sublimest recreation of the intellect. The partridge loves peas, but not those that go with her into the pot.

    In short, all good things are wild and free. There is something in a strain of music, whether produced by an instrument or by the human voice,-take the sound of a bugle in a summer night, for instance,-which by its wildness, to speak without satire, reminds me of the cries emitted by wild beasts in their native forests. It is so much of their wilderness as I can understand. Give me for my friends and neighbors wild men, not tame ones. The wilderness of the savage is but a faint symbol of the awful ferity with which good men and lovers meet.

    I love even to see the domestic animals reassert their native rights,-any evidence that they have not wholly lost their original wild habits and vigor; as when my neighbor's cow breaks out of her pasture early in the spring and boldly swims the river, a cold, gray tide, twenty-five or thirty rods wide, swollen by the melted snow. It is the buffalo crossing the Mississippi. The exploit confers some dignity on the herd in my eyes,-already dignified. The seeds of instinct are preserved under the thick hides of cattle and horses, like seeds in the bowels of the earth, an indefinite period.

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    Any sportiveness in cattle is unexpected. I saw one day a herd of a dozen bullocks and cows running about and frisking in unwieldly sport, like huge rats, even like kittens. They shook their heads, raised their tails, and rushed up and down a hill, and I perceived by their horns, as well as by their activity, their relation to the deer tribe. But, alas! a sudden loud Whoa! would have damped their ardor at once, reduced them from venison to beef, and stiffened their sides and sinews like the locomotive. Who but the Evil One has cried," Whoa!" to man kind? Indeed, the life of cattle, like that of many men, is but a sort of locomotiveness; they move a side at a time, and man, by machinery, is meeting the horse and the ox half-away. Whatever part the whip has touched is thenceforth palsied. Who would ever think of a side of any of the supple cat tribe, as we speak of a side of beef?

    I rejoice that horse and steers have to be broken before they can be made the slaves of men, and that men themselves have some wild oats still left to sow before they become submissive members of society. Undoubtedly, all men are not equally fit subjects for civilization; and because the majority, like dogs and sheep, are tame by inherited disposition, this is no reason why the others should have their natures broken

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    that they may be reduced to the same level. Men are in the main alike, but they were made several in order that they might be various. If a low use is to be served, one man will do nearly or quite as well as another; if a high one, individual exccllence is to be regarded. Any man can stop a hole to keep the wind away, but no other man could serve so rare a use as the author of this illustration did. Confucius says,-"The skins of the tiger and the leopard, when they are tanned, are as the skins of the dog and the sheep tanned." But it is not the part of a true culture to tame tigers, any more than it is to make sheep ferocious; and tanning their skins for shoes is not the best use to which they can be put.

    When looking over a list of men's names in a foreign language, as of military officers, or of authors who have written on a particular subject, I am reminded once more that there is nothing in a name. The same Menschikoff, for instance, has nothing in it to my ears more human than a whisker, and it may belong to a rat. As the names of the Poles and Russians are to us, so are ours to them. It is as if they had been named by the child's rigmarole,- Icry wiery ickery van, tittle-to-tan. I see in my mind a herd of wild creatures swarming over the earth, and to each

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    the herdsman has affixed some barbarous sound in his own dialect. The names of men are of course as cheap and meaningless as Bose and Tray, the names of dogs.

    Methinks it would be some advantage to philosophy, if men were named merely in the gross, as they are known. It would be necessary only to know the genus and perhaps the race or variety, to know the individual. We are not prepared to believe that every private soldier in a Roman army had a name of his own,-because we have not supposed that he had a character of his own. At present our only true names are nicknames. I knew a boy who, from his peculiar energy, was called "Buster" by his playmates, and this rightly supplanted his Christian name. Some travellers tell us that an Indian had no name given him at first, but earned it, and his name was his fame; and among some tribes he acquired a new name with every new exploit. It is pitiful when a man bears a name for convenience merely, who has earned neither name nor fame.

    I will not allow mere names to make distinctions for me, but still see men in herds for all them. A familiar name cannot make a man less strange to me. It may be given to a savage who retains in secret his own wild title earned in the woods. We have a wild savage in us,

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    and a savage name is perchance somewhere recorded as ours. I see that my neighbor, who bears the familiar epithet William, or Edwin, takes it off with his jacket. It does not adhere to him when asleep or in anger, or aroused by any passion or inspiration. I seem to hear pronounced by some of his kin at such a time his original wild name in some jaw-breaking or else melodious tongue.

    Here is this vast, savage, howling mother of ours, Nature, lying all around, with such beauty, and such affection for her children, as the leopard; and yet we are so early weaned from her breast to society, to that culture which is exclusively an interaction of man on man,-a sort of breeding in and in, which produces at most a merely English nobility, a civilization destined to have a speedy limit.

    In society, in the best institutions of men, it is easy to detect a certain precocity. When we should still be growing children, we are already little men. Give me a culture which imports much muck from the meadows, and deepens the soil,-not that which trusts to heating manures, and improved implements and modes of culture only!

    Many a poor sore-eyed student that I have heard of would grow faster, both intellectually

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    and physically, if, instead of sitting up so very late, he honestly slumbered a fool's allowance.

    There may be an excess even of informing light. Nipce, a Frenchman, discovered "actinism," that power in the sun's rays which produces a chemical effect,-that granite rocks, and stone structures, and statues of metal, "are all alike destructively acted upon during the hours of sunshine, and, but for provisions of Nature no less wonderful, would soon perish under the delicate touch of the most subtile of the agencies of the universe." But he observed that "those bodies which underwent this change during the daylight possessed the power of restoring themselves to their original conditions during the hours of night, when this excitement was nolonger influencing them." Hence it has been inferred that "the hours of darkness are as necessary to the inorganic creation as we know night and sleep are to the organic kingdom." Not even does the moon shine every night, but gives place to darkness.

    I would not have every man nor every part of a man cultivated, any more than I would have every acre of earth cultivated: part will be tillage, but the greater part will be meadow and forest, not only serving an immediate use, but preparing a mould against a distant future, by the annual decay of the vegetation which it supports.

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    There are other letters for the child to learn than those which Cadmus invented. The Spaniards have a good term to express this wild and dusky knowledge,- Gramtica parda, tawny grammar,-a kind of mother-wit derived from that same leopard to which I have referred.

    We have heard of a Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge. It is said that knowledge is power; and the like. Methinks there is equal need of a Society for the Diffusion of Useful Ignorance, what we will call Beautiful Knowledge, a knowledge useful in a higher sense: for what is most of our boasted so-called knowledge but a conceit that we know something, which robs us of the advantage of our actual ignorance? What we call knowledge is often our positive ignorance; ignorance our negative knowledge. By long years of patient industry and reading of the newspapers,-for what are the libraries of science but files of newspapers-?a man accumulates a myriad facts, lays them up in his memory, and then when in some spring of his life he saunters abroad into the Great Fields of thought, he, as it were, goes to grass like a horse, and leaves all his harness behind in the stable. I would say to the Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge, sometimes,-Go to grass. You have eaten hay long enough. The spring has come with its green crop. The very cows

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    are driven to their country pastures before the end of May; though I have heard of one unnatural farmer who kept his cow in the barn and fed her on hay all the year round. So, frequently, the Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge treats its cattle.

    A man's ignorance sometimes is not only useful, but beautiful,-while his knowledge, so called, is oftentimes worse than useless, besides being ugly. Which is the best man to deal with,-he who knows nothing about a subject, and, what is extremely rare, knows that he knows nothing, or he who really knows something about it, but thinks that he knows all?

    My desire for knowledge is intermittent; but my desire to bathe my head in atmospheres unknown to my feet is perennial and constant. The highest that we can attain to is not Knowledge, but Sympathy with Intelligence. I do not know that this higher knowledge amounts to anything more definite than a novel and grand surprise on a sudden revelation of the insufficiency of all that we called Knowledge before,-a discovery that there are more things in heaven and earth than are dreamed of in our philosophy. It is the lighting up of the mist of the sun. Man cannot know in any higher sense than this, any more than he can look serenely and with impunity in the face of sun:

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    -"You will not perceive that, as perceiving a particular thing," say the Chaldean Oracles.

    There is something servile in the habit of seeking after a law which wer may obey. We may study the laws of matter at and for our convenience, but a successful life knows no law. It is an unfortunate discovery certainly, that of a law which binds us where we did not know before that we were bound. Live free, child of the mist,-and with respect to knowledge we are all children of the mist. The man who takes the liberty to live is superior to all the laws, by virtue of his relation to the law-maker. "That is active duty," says the Vishnu Purana, "which is not for our bondage; that is knowledge which is for our liberation; all other duty is good only unto weariness; all other knowledge is only the cleverness of an artist."

    It is remarkable how few events or crises there are in our histories; how little exercised we have been in our minds; how few experiences we have had. I would fain be assured that I am going apace and rankly, though my very growth disturb this dull equanimity,-though it be with struggle through long, dark, muggy nights or seasons of gloom. It would be well, if all our lives were a divine tragedy

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    even, instead of this trivial comedy or force. Dante, Bunyan, and others, appear to have been exercised in their minds more than we: they were subjected to a kind of culture such as our district schools and colleges do not contemplate. Even Mahomet, though many may scream at his name, had a good deal more to live for, ay, and to die for, than they have commonly.

    When, at rare intervals, some thought visits one, as perchance he is walking on a railroad, then indeed the cars go by without his hearing them. But soon, by some inexorable law, our life goes by and the cars return.

    "Gentle breeze, that wanderest unseen,
    And bendest the thistles round Loira of storms,
    Traveller of the windy glens,
    Why hast thou left my ear so soon?"

    While almost all men feel an attraction drawing them to society, few are attracted strongly to Nature. In their relation to Nature men appear to me for the most part, notwithstanding their arts, lower than the animals. It is not often a beautiful relation, as in the case of the animals. How little appreciation of the beauty of the landscape there is among us! We have to be told that the Greeks called the world , Beauty, or Order, but we do not see clearly why they did so, and we esteem it at best only a curious philological fact.

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    For my part, I feel that with regard to Nature I live a sort of border life, on the confines of a world into which I make occasional and transional and transient forays only, and my patriotism and allegiance to the State into whose territories I seem to retreat are those of a mosstrooper. Unto a life which I call natural I would gladly follow even a will-of-the-wisp through bogs and sloughs unimaginable, but no moon nor fire-fly has shown me the causeway to it. Nature is a personality so vast and universal that we have never seen one of her features. The walker in the familiar fields which stretch around my native town sometimes finds himself in another land than is described in their owners deeds, as it were in some far-away field on the confines of the actual Concord, where her jurisdiction ceases, and the idea which the word Concord suggests ceases to be suggested. These farms which I have myself surveyed, these bounds which I have set up, appear dimly still as through a mist; but they have no chemistry to fix them; they fade from the surface of the glass; and the picture which the painter painted stands out dimly from beneath. The world with which we are commonly acquainted leaves no trace, and it will have no anniversary.

    I took a walk on Spaulding's Farm the other afternoon. I saw the setting sun lighting up

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    the opposite side of a stately pine wood. Its golden rays straggled into the aisles of the wood as into some noble hall. I was impressed as if some ancient and altogether admirable and shining family had settled there in that part of the land called Concord, unknown, to me-to whom the sun was servant,-who had not gone into society in the village,-who had not been called on. I saw their park, their pleasure ground, beyond through the wood, in Spaulding's cranberry-meadow. The pines furnished them with gables as they grew. Their house was not obvious to vision; the trees grew through it. I do not know whether I heard the sounds of a suppressed hilarity or not. They seemed to recline on the sunbeams. They have sons and daughters. They are quite well. The farmer's cart-path, which leads directly through their hall, does not in the least put them out,-as the muddy bottom of a pool is sometimes seen through the reflected skies. They never heard of Spaulding, and do not know that he is their neighbor,-notwithstanding I heard him whistle as he drove his team through the house. Nothing can equal the serenity of their lives. Their coat of arms is simply a lichen. I saw it painted on the pines and oaks. Their attics were in the tops of the trees. They are of no politics. There was no noise of labor. I did

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    not perceive that they were weaving or spinning. Yet I did detect, when the wind lulled and hearing was done away, the finest imaginable sweet musical hum,-as of a distant hive in May, which perchance was the sound of their thinking. They had no idle thoughts, and no one without could see their work, for their industry was not as in knots and excrescences embayed.

    But I find it difficult to remember them. They fade irrevocably out of my mind even now while I speak and endeavor to recall them, and recollect myself. It is only after a long and serious effort to recollect my best thoughts that I become again aware of their cohabitancy. If it were not for such families as this, I think I should move out of Concord.

    We are accustomed to say in New England that few and fewer pigeons visit us every year. Our forests furnish no mast for them. So, it would seem, few and fewer thoughts visit each growing man from year to year, for the grove in our minds is laid waste,-sold to feed unnecessary fires of ambition, or sent to mill, and there is scarcely a twig left for them to perch on. They no longer build nor breed with us. In some more genial season, perchance, a faint shadow flits across the landscape of the mind,

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    cast by the wings of some thought in its vernal or autumnal migration, but, looking up, we are unable to detect the substance of the thought itself. Our winged thoughts are turned to poultry. They no longer soar, and they attain only to a Shanghai and Cochin-China grandeur. Those gra-a-ate thoughts, those gra-a-ate men you hear of!

    We hug the earth,-how rarely we mount! Methinks we might elevate ourselves a little more. We might climb a tree, at least. I found my account in climbing a tree once. It was a tall white pine, on the top of a hill; and though I got well pitched, I was well paid for it, for I discovered new mountains in the horizon which I had never seen before,-so much more of the earth and the heavens. I might have walked about the foot of the tree for three-score years and ten, and yet I certainly should never have seen them. But, above all, I discovered around me,-it was near the end of June,-on the ends of the topmost branches only, a few minute and delicate red cone-like blossoms, the fertile flower of the white pine looking heavenward. I carried straightway to the village the topmost spire, and showed it to stranger jurymen who walked the streets,-for it was court-week,-and to farmers and lumber-dealers

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    and wood-choppers and hunters, and not one had ever seen the like before, but they wondered as at a star dropped down. Tell of ancient architects finishing their works on the tops of columns as perfectly as on the lower and more visible parts! Nature has from the first expanded the minute blossoms of the forest only toward the heavens, above men's heads and unobserved by them. We see only the flowers that are under our feet in the meadows. The pines have developed their delicate blossoms on the highest twigs of the wood every summer for ages, as well over the heads of Nature's red children as of her white ones; yet scarcely a farmer or hunter in the land has ever seen them.

    Above all, we cannot afford not to live in the present. He is blessed over all mortals who loses no moment of the passing life in remembering the past. Unless our philosophy hears the cock crow in every barn-yard within our horizon, it is belated. That sound commonly reminds us that we are growing rusty and antique in our employments and habits of thought. His philosophy comes down to a more recent time than ours. There is something suggested by it that is a newer testament,-the gospel according to this moment. He has not fallen astern; he has got up early, and kept up early,

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    and to be where he is to be in season, in the foremost rank of time. It is an expression of the health and soundness of Nature, a brag for all the world,-healthiness as of a spring bust forth, a new fountain of the Muses, to celebrate this last instant of time. Where he lives no fugitive slave laws are passed. Who has not betrayed his master many times since last he heard that note?

    The merit of this bird's strain is in its freedom from all plaintiveness. The singer can easily move us to tears or to laughter, but where is he who can excite in us a pure morning joy? When, in doleful dumps, breaking the awful stillness of our wooden sidewalk on a Sunday, or, perchance, a watcher in the house of mourning, I hear a cockerel crow far or near, I think to myself, "There is one of us well, at any rate,"-and with a sudden gush return to my senses.

    We had a remarkable sunset one day last November. I was walking in a meadow, the source of a small brook, when the sun at last, just before setting, after a cold gray day, reached a clear stratum in the horizon, and the softest, brightest mourning sunlight fell on the dry grass and on the stems of the trees in th opposite horizon, and on the leaves of the shrub-oaks on

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    the hill-side, while our shadows stretched long over the meadow eastward, as if we were the only motes in its beams. It was such a light as we could not have imagined a moment before, and the air also was so warm and serene that nothing was wanting to make a paradise of that meadows. When we reflected that this was not a solitary phenomenon, never to happen again, but that it would happen forever and ever an infinite number of evenings, and cheer and reassure the latest child that walked there, it was more glorious still.

    The sun sets on some retired meadow, where no house is visible, with all the glory and splendor that it lavishes on cities, and perchance, as it has never set before,-where there is but a solitary marsh-hawk to have his wings gilded by it, or only a musquash looks out from his cabin, and there is some little bluck-veined brook in the midst of the marsh, just beginning to meander, winding slowly round a decaying stump. We walked in so pure and bright a light, gilding the withered grass and leaves, so softly and serenely bright, I thought I had never bathed in such a golden flood, without a ripple or a murmur to it. The west side of every wood and rising ground gleamed like the boundary of Elysium, and the sun on our backs seemed like a gentle herdsman driving us home at evening.

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    So we saunter toward the Holy Land, till one day the sun shall shine more brightly than ever he has done, shall perchance shine into our minds and hearts, and light up our whole lives with a great awakening light, as warn and serene and golden as on a bank-side in autumn

  • Charles Richard Van Hise, "History of the Conservation Movement," chapter 1 of The Conservation of Natural Resources in the United States, 1910 (excerpt)

    "History of the Conservation Movement," chapter 1 of The Conservation of Natural Resources in the United States

    NOTE: This is an excerpt. For the full document, see The Conservation of Natural Resources in the United States in The Evolution of the Conservation Movement, 1850-1920.

    Begin page no. 132


    Until late in the nineteenth century the resources of this country were commonly regarded as inexhaustible. Some of them were considered an obstruction to the country's development. Over very large areas of the country the forests were regarded as an enemy to be destroyed and burned. Indeed at the present time this is locally true. Our were supposed to be illimitable. Any man might have a farm for the asking. It was held, and indeed is held by many at this time, that our mineral resources will last through the indefinite future, and therefore that they may be drawn upon advantageously as rapidly as possible.

    It is under the prevalence of these ideas that our laws and customs have grown up. The laws customs have been adapted to the ideas of the people. If the ideas are incorrect, it may be that our laws in reference to the natural resources are defective.

    Resources not limitable.

    That these ideas in reference to the illimitable supply of our natural resources are incorrect has been appreciated by the scientist for many years. The foresters, the physiographers, the geologists, have shown the severe limitations of many of them. These views have been emphasized by the situation in other countries. The mountains of France, of Spain, of China, have been denuded of their forests in large

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    measure, so that the supply of wood is inadequate to meet the needs of the people. In consequence of removal of the forests from the mountains, the soil and disintegrated rock have been carried away by the running water and the bare rocks left protruding where once was thick vegetation resting upon abundant soil. The dbris carried down from the mountains to the lowlands has destroyed extensive areas of once rich land.

    It has long been known that in Spain and Italy, warm countries, because of insufficient fuel, the people suffer more from the cold than here in America. In the absence of forests and coal, fuel is so expensive as practically to be unavailable to the average citizens of those countries; and hence they shiver through the winter.

    People go to bed hungry.

    Many intelligent men have appreciated that in India and China a large proportion of the people are insufficiently nourished. It is probably true that more than half of the people of the world to-night will go to bed hungry; at least they will have received sufficient nourishment during the day to be the most efficient to-morrow. You, who have read history, know during the years of abundant rains, the people of India and China multiply, and how in dry years famine and scourge come and reduce them again to the number that can be supplied by the fruits of the land. In scripture we read that the seven fat years were eaten up by the seven lean years; and this has been the history of eastern countries for thousands of years.

    Conservation movement due to scientific men.

    The modern conservation movement is the direct result the work of scientific men. The question of conservation has been more forwarded by the rapid reduction of our forests than by any other cause. The forests are the one natural resource which has been so rapidly destroyed that in the early seventies it began to be appreciated that, if existing practice were continued, the end was not in the far distant future.

    As the result of a memorial presented by the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 1873, reforced by another memorial of the association in 1890, the

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    movement was inaugurated which resulted in a forestry bureau in the department of agriculture, and in laws which led to the first national reserve in 1891. The national forest movement was further advanced later as the result of an elaborate consideration of the question by the National Academy of Sciences in 1897. The principle of the national forest once established, these forests were enlarged from time to time, but the great withdrawals of the forests from private entry have been during the past ten years.

    Another line of forces which resulted in the modern conservation movement came directly from the work of Major J.W. Powell, and especially the publication of his "Lands of the Arid Region." Mainly as a result of this volume and the influence of Major Powell, in 1888 an irrigation division of the United States Geological Survey was established; and authority was given to the Secretary of the Interior to withdraw from private entry reservoir sites and other areas which in the future would be necessary for irrigation purpose.

    For the past quarter of a century many of the scientific men of the country have been raising a warning voice in reference to the other natural resources of the country. The limitations of our supplies of gas, oil and coal have been pointed out. Many described the denudation of the land and the widespread destruction of the soil; but notwithstanding the above facts, it cannot be said that there was any national movement for conservation. Indeed, it is probable that such a movement could not have been inaugurated until the situation has become grave, until the menace to the future had become serious.

    Among the men who have promoted the modern conservation movement, Mr. Gifford Pinchot has first place. While his work was primarily directed to the conservation of the forest, his vision, with enlarging horizon, saw the connection of the forests to the other resources of the country; and he therefore extended his campaign of education to include with the conservation of the forest the conservation of all natural resources which are limited in amount.

    It was seen by Mr. Pinchot and other scientists, notably

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    McGee, that there is a close connection between the forests and waters. There was as strong public demand that our rivers maintain a uniform flow for water powers and for navigation. Therefore those primarily interested in forests and those interested in waters became associated in the conservation movement. In consequence of the public sentiment in reference to waterways and forests, President Roosevelt, on March 14, 1907, appointed the Inland Waterways Commission. This commission included a number of representative congressmen, an engineer, a statistician, a forester, an irrigation chief, and a geologist. 1 This Inland Waterways Commission in its first report to the President emphasized the interlocking character of the problem of natural resources, and pointed out how the control and use of water would conserve coal and iron and the soil, and at the same time also make necessary the preservation of the forests.

    1 The Inland Waterways Commission consisted of the following: Theodore E. Burton, Chairman; Francis G. Newlands, Vice Chairman; W J McGee, Secretary; William Warner, John H. Bankhead, Alexander MacKenzie, F.H. Newell, Gifford Pinchot, Herbert Knox Smith. The White House Conference.

    The White House Conference grew out of the Inland Waterways Commission. On a trip of that commission in May, 1907, it was suggested that there be a conference at Washington the ensuring year to consider the conservation of the natural resources.

    Chairman Theodore E. Burton and Commissioner Gifford Pinchot were authorized to convey to the President the ideas of the commission in reference to this matter. Later it was suggested that since the question of conservation concerned not only the nation, but every state, such conference should include the governors. On October 3, 1907 the Inland Waterways Commission, through its chairman and secretary, Mr. Burton, and Mr. W J McGee, sent to President Roosevelt a letter, requesting that he call a conference which should primarily be a congress of governors.

    Conference called by President Roosevelt.

    The President approved the plan and in November of that year called conference of the governors, each governor being invited to be accompanied by three assistants or advisers.

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    But as the time approached for the meeting, the idea grew and there were finally included in the invitation of the President, the Vice President, members of the Cabinet, both branches of Congress, heads of the scientific bureaus of Washington, representatives of the great national societies, both scientific and industrial, representatives of journals, and notable citizens.

    Thus there assembled May 13, 1908, at the East Room of the White House, the President, Vice President, seven members of the Cabinet, nine justices of the Supreme Court, many members of Congress, the governors of thirty-four states, and representatives of the other twelve, the governors of all the territories, including Alaska, Hawaii, and Porto Rico, the President of the Board of Commissioners of the District of Columbia, representatives of sixty-eight national societies, four special guests, forty-eight general guests, and the members of the Inland Waterways Commission.

    Character of White House Conference.

    Never before in the history of the nation had so representative an audience gathered together. For the first time in the history of the country the governors were assembled to consider a great national question. Even during the extreme stress of the Civil War the governors had not been asked to consult with the President and with one another upon the state of the nation. Apparently President Roosevelt must have thought that the question of conservation was one of fundamental importance before he tool so far-reaching a step. Never before in the history of the nation had the scientific men of the country met upon equal footing with those engaged in politics. This in itself was sufficient to mark the White House Conference as a meeting of the first importance in reference to the future of the nation.

    The audience of the 13th of May was indeed an impressive one. Upon the right of the President sat the Vice President and the members of his Cabinet. Upon his left were the justices of the Supreme Court. Before his were assembled the governors, the members of Congress, many of the leading scientific men of the country, and numerous other delegates.

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    Address of President Roosevelt.

    The conference was opened by a notable address by President Roosevelt. And he, I think, above any other public man of the country has shown a wonderful capacity to quickly and broadly comprehend the salient points of a great new movement.

    Resolutions of governors.

    Hence he was able, although not a man of science, to present most effectively and in wonderful proportion the views which the scientific men had been developing through the past twenty-five years with reference to conservation.

    Resolutions of governors.

    Following President Roosevelt's address there were a series of addresses by scientific men, by governors, by eminent citizens. The scope of these papers extended to the minerals, the forests, the soils, and the waters of the country. 1 The facts presented in reference to our important resources were so startling that the governors drew up strong series of resolutions 2 covering the entire subject of conservation, pointing out the extravagance and reckless waste of the past, and making it clear that upon the conservation of our natural resources depends the foundation of our prosperity. The governors unanimously requested the President from time to time as occasion demanded to again call them together to consider with him and with Congress the great question of conservation. Also they recommended the states to establish conservation commissions to coperate with one another and with a similar national commission. Several of the governors announced that their very first acts upon reaching their respective states would be to appoint such Commissions.

    1 Proceedings of a Conference of Governors in the White House, Washington, D.C., May 13-15, 1908. Washington, Government Printing Office, 1909. 2 This declaration of principles is so comprehensive and so important that it is republished as Appendix I of this volume. See pp. 381-384.

    Appointment of National Conservation Commission.

    Shortly after the White House Conference the President appointed the National Conservation Commission, consisting of forty-nine well-known men, about one-third of whom are engaged in politics, one-third in the industries, and one-third in scientific work. This commission was divided into four sections, assigned respectively to the minerals, the waters,

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    the forests, and the soils. Gifford Pinchot, generally recognized as the most potent force underlying the conservation movement, was appropriately named chairman of the Conservation Commission. 1 Since the White House Conference to December, 1909, forty-one state conservation commissions and fifty-one conservation commissions, representing national organizations, have been created.

    1 The full personnel and organization of the National Conservation Commission are found in the Report of the National Conservation Commission, Vol. I, pp. 115-117. Inventory of natural resources.

    At the first meeting of the executive committee of the National Conservation Commission, held in Chicago, June 19, 1908, it was agreed that the initial step was to have made an inventory of our natural resources. It was there pointed out that to the present time, we, as a nation, are in the position of a man, who, bequeathed a fortune, has gone on spending it recklessly, never taking the trouble to ask the amount of his inheritance, or how long it is likely to last.

    This executive committee therefore determined so far as practicable to have made an estimate of the existing available resources, what proportion of these resources have already been utilized or exhausted, the rate of increase in their consumption, and if this rate continues how long these resources will last. The commission had no funds at its disposal, and therefore was obliged to depend upon existing organizations for this work. Fortunately the President gave an order directing that the heads of the scientific bureaus at Washington utilize their forces in making investigations requested by the commission, so far as such investigations lay in their respective fields. As a result of requests by the National Conservation Commission, the heads of several bureaus placed a considerable number of experts upon conservation work during the summer and autumn of 1908.

    Report of National Conservation Commission.

    The full national commission assembled December 1 of that year to hear the reports of the experts and the secretaries of the four sections. Based upon these reports the commission drew up a report which they presented to the governors again assembled December 8, 1908, and by the governors this report was, with their indorsement, transmitted

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    to the President January, 11, 1909. The report of this commission, the statements of the secretaries, and the reports of the experts have since been published in three volumes. 1 These volumes give the first available inventory of the natural resources of the nation. This inventory is of course but an approximation of the truth, but it is an immense advance over guesses as to the natural wealth of the nation. It does furnish a basis for quantitative and therefore scientific discussion of the future of our resources. In advance of the appearance of the report it would not have been possible to give this set of lectures. Indeed, they are based upon the material contained in these volumes to a greater extent than upon all other sources of information.

    1 Report of the National Conservation Commission, Senate Document No. 676, 60th Congress, 2d Session. Washington, Government Printing Office, 1909. North American Conservation Conference.

    The next step of President Roosevelt, after appointing the national commission, was to invite the governors of Canada and Newfoundland, and the President of Mexico, to appoint commissioners to consider with the commissioners of the United States the question of conservation. In consequence of these invitations the first North American Conservation Conference was held in Washington, February 18, 1909. As the White House Conference, a broad statement was adopted embodying the principles of conservation applicable to the North American continent, which the commissioners were expected to urge upon their respective countries. 2

    2 Sec Appendix II.

    To crown the brilliant series of administrative acts to bring the question of conservation to the foreground of human consciousness, President Roosevelt on February 16, 1909, requested the powers of the world to meet at The Hague for the purpose of considering the conservation of the natural resources of the entire globe.

    Withdrawal of lands.

    During President Roosevelt's administration, the Secretary of the Interior, James R. Garfield, withdrew from private entry a large area of the public domain, either permanently

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    or for a time, until the lands withdrawn could be studied with reference to their wisest utilization. The larger portion of the great forests which still remained the property of the nation when Roosevelt became President-more than 148,000,000 acres-was made a part of the national forests during his administration. Also the coal lands of the West, both in the United States and Alaska, were withdrawn from private entry until they could be studied by the geological survey and a report made upon them as to their value and as to methods of disposal. More than 80,000,000 acres altogether were withdrawn by him for this purpose. About 1,500,000 acres in several states along 29 streams were withdrawn with reference to withholding from private entry the water power sites. Finally, 4,700,000 acres of phosphate lands in Idaho, Wyoming, and Montana were withdrawn from private entry until they could be studied by the geological survey and appropriate laws made in reference to their exploitation.

    Thus, during President Roosevelt's administration, more than 234,000,000 acres of land were withdrawn from private entry, the greater portion of which is to be permanently retained as the property of the nation.

    President Roosevelt also recommended that the fee of all of the coal, oil, and gas lands still remaining in the possession of the government be retained permanently, and that the same be leased under proper regulations.

    Service Conservation of President Roosevelt.

    Concerning President Roosevelt, there has been much difference of opinion in political matters. He has been severely criticized by many, warmly commended by others, but his aggressive action for the conservation of our resources has been commended by all parties alike. In the future I believe that what he did to forward this movement and to bring it into the foreground of the consciousness of the people will place him not only as one of the greatest statesmen of this nation but one of the greatest statesmen of any nation of any time.

    Attitude Congress.

    In marked contrast to the position of President Roosevelt in reference to conservation was the attitude of the Sixtieth

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    Congress. President Roosevelt asked an appropriation for the National Conservation Commission; and Senator Knute Nelson, of Minnesota, introduced an amendment to the sundry civil bill asking for an appropriation of $25,000 for the necessary rent, assistance, and traveling expenses of the commission. This amendment went to the Senate committee on appropriations, of which Senator Eugene Hale was and is chairman, but the amendment was lost, having failed of favorable action in the committee. Thus an appropriation for the Conservation Commission asked by President Roosevelt failed in the Senate, and the commission was left without any funds. This was unfortunate enough, but it would not have been fatal had the commission still retained the authority to ask the heads of the scientific bureaus to have their forces do work desired by the commission, which was appropriate and proper for their respective bureaus to undertake; but in the House of Representatives there was attached a clause to the sundry civil bill, which after the passage of that act prevented all bureaus from doing any work for any commission, council, board, or similar body, appointed by the President, without reference to whether or not such work was appropriate for such bureaus to undertake. Thus, so far as lay in its power, Congress made without avail the appointment by the President of the National Conservation Commission.

    This clause of the sundry civil bill was introduced by James A. Tawney, of Minnesota, and its adoption was advocated by him. This congressman should be held responsible to the people of the nation for so far as lay in his power rendering without avail the appointment of the National Conservation Commission.

    Report contains inventory of resources.

    As has already been pointed out, the first report of the National Conservation Commission contains the only authentic statement as to the amounts of our natural resources, the amounts which have been exhausted, and their probable future life. The report was published as a Senate document in a small edition. The popular edition of this volume, recommended by the commission, was refused approval by the

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    then committee on printing of the house, consisting of Charles P. Landis, of Indiana, James Breck Perkins, of New York, and D. E. Finley, of South Carolina. For thus preventing the people from gaining the advantage of the results of the great work of the Conservation Commission they should be held primarily responsible.

    As yet the attitude of the Sixty-first Congress is undetermined. To the present time (June 1, 1910) none of the Conservation measures recommended by President Taft have been passed.

    After the adoption of the Tawney clause and before the organization of the Association next to be mentioned, the organization of the Conservation movement was carried forward by the Joint Committee on Conservation, an unofficial body established at the second conference of the governors.

    Organization of National Conservation Association.

    In the autumn of 1909 there was organized the National Conservation Association. 1 This association is to be the center of a great propaganda for conservation. It is hoped that all organizations interested in special phases of the Conservation movement will become affiliated with it. The association is to have a board of managers, consisting of one representative of each state and territory; and each state is to have a committee. It is the duty of any state committee and its member of the board to develop the Conservation 1 The National Conservation Association, organized in 1909, has the following officers:-

    Honorary President, Charles W. Eliot, Cambridge, Mass.
    President, Gifford Pinchot, Washington, D. C.
    Vice President, Walter L. Fisher, Chicago, Ill.
    Treasurer, Overton Price, Washington, D. C.
    Secretary, Thomas R. Shipp.
    Executive Committee
    Gifford Pinchot, Chairman.
    James R. Garfield, Cleveland, Ohio.
    John F. Bass, Chicago, Ill.
    Henry L. Stimson, New York.
    Walter L. Fisher, Chicago, Ill.
    Bernard N. Baker, Baltimore, Md.
    Charles L. Pack, Lakewood, N. J.
    John N. Teal, Portland, Oregon.

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    movement in the state which they represent, and to be the channel of communication between the local and national organizations.

    The foregoing sketch of the rise of the Conservation movement shows that it grew out of the work of scientific men. Until recently the movement was not organized, and it was partial, that is, mainly confined to the forests and arid and; it only became national when President Roosevelt called the White House Conference in 1908.

    Conservation fairly launched. Coperation required for Conservation.

    With the foundation of the National Conservation Association, the great movement for the conservation of the natural resources of the United States may be said to have been fairly launched. Already a large number of the more intelligent people of the country are beginning to grasp its importance, beginning to understand that upon conservation rests the possibility of a numerous and well-nourished population in this country. But as yet the great majority of the people have almost no knowledge of the movement. It is comparatively easy to get a subject into the consciousness of the cultivated group. It is enormously difficult to accomplish this work with the millions. And the conservation of our resources can only be accomplished by the coperation of the nation, the states, and the individuals. Therefore there is before us a profound and wide campaign of education which must begin at the universities, in national and state organizations, and must extend from them through the secondary and primary schools to the whole people. There is no other question before the nation of such fundamental importance to the distant future of the country. Since it seems to me that the universities should take part in the leadership in this movement for the advancement of the nation as they have in others, this course of lectures is given at Wisconsin.

    Bringing an appreciation of the importance of conservation to the foreground of human consciousness is a work which cannot be done by one man or one organization in one year, or by many men and many organizations in many years. It is a campaign of education which will extend

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    through generations. But losses have already been so great that the movement should be carried forward as rapidly as possible, especially in preventing further wanton waste. This must be done if our descendants are to have transmitted to them their heritage not too greatly depleted.

    The natural resources may be divided into four divisions, Minerals, Waters, Forests, and Soils. Each of these will be considered in order.

Note: the links below will take you to a Library of Congress American Memory record for the documents. The actual documents appear on page images, which are linked from the record page.

  • Congressional Debate of "An Act to Protect the Birds and Animals in Yellowstone Park. . ., 1894
  • Surveying the Public Lands, 1898
    Specifies that the purpose of forest reservations is "to improve and protect the forest within the reservation, or for . . . securing favorable conditions of water flows, and to furnish a continuous supply of timber for the use and necessities of citizens of the United States," and stipulates that the regulated harvesting of timber, mining of mineral resources, and use of water on forest reservations may be permitted by the Secretary of the Interior.
  • "An Act For the preservation of American antiquities." [S. 4698, Public Act No. 209], 190)
    Authorizes the President "to declare by public proclamation historic landmarks . . . and other objects of historic or scientific interest" on government land "to be national monuments;" forbids unauthorized injury of objects of antiquity on Government lands; and authorizes the granting of Federal permits for the study of objects of antiquity on such lands.

Resources: Lesson Two

These links are to documents selected from "The Evolution of the Conservation Movement, 1850-1920" regarding the establishment of Yosemite National Park and the debate over damming the Hetch Hetchy Valley.  The Editors Comments and Conservation Timeline all contain valuable background information for teachers as does the collection's Preface.

Conservation Writers

Congressional Debate

The resources below consist of transcripts of the committee hearings and debate over two bills during the year 1913. By this time, battle lines had been clearly drawn between "preservationists" and "conservationists" and may be easily detected in the testimony.

Note: the links below will take you to a Library of Congress American Memory record for the documents. The actual documents appear on page images, which are linked from the record page.

Lesson Procedure

Lesson One: What is "Conservation" and Why Does it Matter?

Americans have a long history of advocating for the preservation of natural resources. Between 1850 and 1920 naturalists, politicians, authors and artists identified numerous features of the natural and human landscape of America which they believed worthy of preservation. They explained and justified their positions in lectures, articles, essays, books, and at congressional hearings. Out of this process, they formulated views on the nature of conservation itself and why governmental agencies and private individuals should conserve. Their ideas are as varied as the resources which they believe should be conserved.

This lesson introduces students to some historically significant leaders, thinkers, and artists of the early conservation movement through selections from their writings and art. By exploring these selections students can formulate their own summaries of what each leader believed conservation was, why they thought it important, and what resources they thought were worthy of preservation. Interestingly, the range of resources and the arguments used have not changed a great deal over time and are commonly found in today's news.

Yet a shift in argumentation may be detected as one works from mid-nineteenth-century naturalists such as Henry David Thoreau to turn-of-the-century conservationists such as Gifford Pinchot and John Muir. By 1900, the federal government had begun setting land aside for national parks and forests, and it became necessary for the federal government to formulate and defend policies governing its use as ranchers, miners, and foresters sought clarification and permission to access these lands and resources.

Federal grants of private access to such lands soon sparked opposition from men like John Muir and newly formed organizations such as the Sierra Club. In the debates which ensued, we find evolving positions which more clearly articulate both the similarities and differences between environmental advocates' views. We also begin to see the "Conservation Movement," which had seemed to be unified in its goals, divide into conflicting factions. The core arguments and environmental philosophies formulated then have remained and are evident in present day debates over issues such as logging and mining on federal property.

  1. Identify which readings to duplicate and share with students.
  2. Before distributing readings, have students identify the types of natural resources people currently are trying to preserve and why these people feel as they do. (What is a "natural resource? What arguments do they use to support their positions? Can people want to preserve the same things but for different reasons? Are some arguments "better" than others?)
  3. Have students read selections, identifying both the resources and reasons given. (Which are the most compelling? Which do they personally agree with? What problems might the government have if it enacted laws supporting these positions? Who might oppose these positions / individuals and why?)
  4. Compare the current with the historical. (What has changed or stayed the same? Do Americans value the same things today for the same reasons?)


These readings (and the viewpoints they illustrate) mirror closely literary movements of the time periods during which they were written. By reading the works of Romantic writers (Cooper, Bryant, Emerson) or studying nature-based art (Hudson River School) and photography, students can gain an understanding of how thoughts about nature affected those who visually captured it.

Lesson Two: Case Study - Should the Hetch Hetchy be Dammed?

In this lesson students will examine the controversy surrounding the city of San Francisco's request to turn the Hetch Hetchy Valley into a water reservoir to meet its increasing needs. (The Hetch Hetchy was a part of Yosemite National Park.) Students will explore the divisions this controversy exposed within the conservation movement by using teacher selected documents and text representative of both sides of the debate along with actual records of the congressional hearings held to decide the valley's fate.

  1. Review what students know concerning the various reasons people supported conservation efforts.
  2. Introduce this lesson by informing students that they will be re-creating a Congressional debate over the Hetch Hetchy Valley in California's Yosemite National Park, which served to clarify the issues and divide the conservation movement clearly into "preservationist" and "conservationist" camps.
  3. In full class discussion or interactive lecture, review the reasons for setting aside Yosemite as a national park. Students should notice during this review the mixture of reasons, some "preservationist" and some "conservationist", adduced by various advocates. Use selections from works and public acts concerning Yosemite from list of sources below.
  4. Form groups focused on the major interests of various parties involved in the Hetch Hetchy controversy: the city of San Francisco, the Sierra Club, Progressive conservationists such as Pinchot, Congressional representatives from other states, and business interests. Each group should choose at least one spokesperson to play the role of a leading figure (e.g. John Muir for the Sierra Club or the chair of the House Committee on Public Lands). Others in the group may adopt roles as appropriate as witnesses, research assistants, publicists, lobbyists, or members of Congress. Each group will develop a strategy for researching the resources listed below to gain an understanding of the arguments advanced by their particular interest group and to glean what they consider to be the best arguments for their position in the public hearing.
  5. In the 3-4 day interval between the initial lesson and the mock hearing, students will research their positions using online and print resources. The teacher will provide assistance as needed. Advocates for the various positions may also engage in various forms of public advocacy for their point of view, such as radio spots, print advertising, posters, flyers, and short speeches.
  6. On the day of the mock hearing, all members of the class except those in roles as spokespersons or witnesses will become members of the House Committee on Public Lands, the committee which began holding hearings on the damming of the Hetch Hetchy in 1908. Each spokesperson will be given an allotted time to make a statement, and then will stand for a minimum number of questions from the committee. The time limit and number of questions will depend on the number of persons testifying. At the close of the hearing, the committee will vote on whether to send the Raker Bill to the full House.
  7. The teacher will follow up the vote with a review of the principal arguments advanced by each side, exploring the main differences that emerged between preservationists and conservationists through the controversy over Hetch Hetchy.


This lesson will involve students in extensive research in collections specifically focusing on Yosemite and the Hetch Hetchy Valley. Student extension activities include:

  • developing research further into a formal essay on some aspect of the controversy;
  • developing a comparison between the establishment of Yosemite and another national park such as Yellowstone;
  • exploring period photographs and paintings for insights on the role of visual imagination in the controversy;
  • identifying and developing a comparison with a more contemporary controversy such as the Michigan debate during the summer of 1997 over whether to permit angle drilling for oil along the shores of Lake Michigan;

Lesson Evaluation

Evaluate students through formative assessments of their participations in the mock hearing about the Hetch Hetchy controversy.


Michael Federspiel and Timothy Hall