Gifford Pinchot’s Birthday

Gifford Pinchot (the final “t” is silent) was born on August 11, 1865.  He was responsible for founding the Yale School of Forestry, which remains a major center for environmental research and teaching today.  Like Chief Justice John Marshall, he is also considered the founding father of an institution even though he wasn’t the institution’s first leader — in Pinchot’s case, the institution was the Forest Service.

He remains a controversial figure for environmentalists because of his conflict with preservationists like John Muir. However, just about any one would agree that Pinchot’s approach was a big improvement over the frantic forest destruction that preceded him.

A bit of trivia: Pinchot was a member of Skull and Bones while he was a student at Yale. It would probably be unfair to attribute his shortcomings to that experience.

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Reader Comments

One Reply to “Gifford Pinchot’s Birthday”

  1. Pinchot’s career was chronicled in the great book The Big Burn, which told of the start of the Forest Service. Although he was a bit of an unusual character, our national parks today might very well not exist were it not for the passion of Pinchot and his good friend Teddy Roosevelt.

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About Dan

Dan Farber has written and taught on environmental and constitutional law as well as about contracts, jurisprudence and legislation. Currently at Berkeley Law, he has al…

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