The State Park Movement in America: A Crictical Review

By Ney C. Landrum | Go to book overview

6
“A State Park Every Hundred Miles”
The National Conference on State
Parks Goes to Work

Getting Organized

Stephen Mather’s evangelistic zeal had carried the day. Not only had the firstever National Conference on Parks provided a forum for timely discourse, it also had laid the groundwork for its perpetuation as the National Conference on State Parks (hereinafter, also the Conference or NCSP). The question now was how to capitalize on the momentum and channel the interest that had been generated into a suitable course of action. Success in that endeavor would require Mather’s continuing close involvement, but even with his prodigious energy and drive he could not do it alone. He would have to look to others for help.

The Conference had selected Judge John Barton Payne as its chairman, of course, but he had resigned as secretary of the interior to accept appointment as head of the American Red Cross and could not be looked to for more than nominal leadership. Probably anticipating that circumstance, Mather had wisely positioned himself as vice chairman, so he could keep a sharp eye and a firm hand on the situation. The business of the Conference was to be conducted by an executive committee, consisting of the chairman, the vice chairman, and eight other individuals: Miss Beatrice M. Ward as secretary, Dr. Henry C. Cowles of Illinois, Herbert Evison of Washington, Dr. L. H. Pammel of Iowa, W. H. Stinchcomb of Ohio, Major William A. Welch of New York, Theodore Wirth of Minnesota, and Albert M. Turner of Connecticut.

It was an excellent group, well balanced in talents and interests, if not by geographical distribution. Beatrice Ward, then an employee of the National Park Service, was to become the Conference’s first staff person under a loan arrangement

-90-

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