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Gifford Pinchot and the First Foresters

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The Untold Story of the Brave Men and Women Who Launched the American Conservation Movement.

In 2005, six tattered blue boxes were unearthed in the Library of Congress's Pinchot Collection in Washington, D.C. Inside were 5000 pages of letters describing the work of early resource conservation professionals. The boxes were labeled simply "The Old Timers." Penned between the years 1937-1941 by the first class of American Forest Rangers to serve under President Theodore Roosevelt and first Chief of the U.S. Forest Service Gifford Pinchot, the letters offer a mirror to the America we once were, and a guidebook for the road ahead.

These narratives tell of extreme hardship, fearless struggle, confrontations with cattlemen, miners, loggers, and the challenge of turning confrontations into cooperation and gratitude. It wasn't an easy life by any means, but to these men and women, their life of service was the best life they could imagine. To a one, they were grateful for the chance to live a meaningful life in a time of struggle.

Bibi Gaston is Gifford Pinchot's great-grandniece. It was Gaston who unearthed these letters and carried them around with her on ther travels for seven years. Gaston hopes that these stories provide not just a view of the past, but hope for the world's future.