Magazine article American Forests

Senator Gaylord Nelson, Father of Earth Day

Magazine article American Forests

Senator Gaylord Nelson, Father of Earth Day

Article excerpt

GAYLORD NELSON'S lifelong goal of putting the environment onto the nation's political agenda began when he was a young boy in his hometown of Clear Lake, Wis. Surrounded by the Northern Highland-American Legion State Forest, the largest state forest in Wisconsin, he grew up among 223,283 acres of pristine lakes and landscapes. There, he developed a strong relationship with the forests around him and his passion for nature that would fuel his political career.

That political career began when the World War II veteran was elected to the Wisconsin State Senate in 1948. In 1958, he was elected Governor of Wisconsin and, during his term, he initiated the Outdoor Recreation Acquisition Program (ORAP) in Wisconsin. The program, which funded the purchase of a million acres of recreation and wildlife areas through a tax on cigarettes, was only the first of Nelson's many notable conservation achievements.

In 1962, Nelson was elected to the U.S. Senate, where he would achieve his most famous accomplishment. Public and political attention was shifting towards various ecological problems and Senator Nelson channeled this emerging environmental consciousness into the first Earth Day. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.