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Gifford Pinchot National Forest turns 100

Posted by Erinn Unger at Jun 20, 2008 11:40 AM |

A century ago, the Gifford Pinchot National Forest was just a few trails, patrolled by just as many rangers on horseback. It went by a different name then, the Columbia National Forest, and was signed into being in 1908 by outdoorsman and President Theodore Roosevelt. It was enacted with encouragement by Pinchot, the forest's current namesake. Pinchot was the Chief of the fledgling Forest Service and a proponent of the efficient and conservative use of natural resources.

Gifford Pinchot by David Hogan

The forest has come a long way since then, and those who enjoy it today owe much to Gifford Pinchot and to the men who built the trails, roads and ranger stations from scratch, and before the National Forest acquired its first automobile.
The forest surrounds Mount St. Helens, Mount Adams and encompasses 1.3 million acres. It has been through a lot in the last 100 years, including a name change in 1949, fires and a devastating eruption. It's about time for a jubilee.

A celebration of Pinchot's life and legacy (complete with birthday cake) will take place on Monday, June 23 at the Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument headquarters in Chelatchie. The office is off Washington State Route 503, near Amboy, at 42218 N.E. Yale Bridge Rd., just past the Chelatchie Prarie General Store.

A new Web site has also been launched, and includes historical trivia and photographs (some of which will leave campers grateful for the more modern facilities). The celebration will not be limited to the June 23 event, however.
There will be a get together for Forest Service alumni, a wildflower hike and a walking tour of one of our historic ranger stations, among other activities throughout June and July.

“This is a fantastic opportunity to reflect on the many accomplishments, changes, major events and growth that has occurred in the Forest during the past 100 years," said forest supervisor, Lynn Burditt, in a press release.

Well, Gifford Pinchot National Forest, happy birthday, and good luck blowing out those candles. With all those who have enjoyed your beauty throughout the decades, you will have a lot of help. Let's hold up those canteens and toast to the next 100 years.

For more information on the Centennial, click here.

For a calendar of Centennial events see this site.

For general information about Gifford Pinchot National Forest click here.