News Release

US Forest Service commemorates golden anniversary of Grey Towers

September 5, 2013 -

U.S. Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell will commemorate on Sept. 21 the 50th anniversary of President John F. Kennedy’s dedication of the Grey Towers National Historic Site and the Pinchot Institute for Conservation Studies.

Grey Towers was the childhood home of Gifford Pinchot, first chief of the U.S. Forest Service and two-term governor of Pennsylvania. In 1963, his son Dr. Gifford Bryce Pinchot donated Grey Towers and 102 acres of grounds to the Forest Service. Kennedy launched a national conservation tour at Grey Towers when he dedicated the founding of the Pinchot Institute and opened the doors of Grey Towers to the public on Sept 24, 1963.

Tidwell’s participation in the re-dedication of Grey Towers National Historic Site is part of a series of programs and events that highlight the work of the Forest Service, the Pinchot Institute for Conservation and other partners since that Kennedy dedication 50 years ago.

“The Pinchot Institute has helped show millions of Americans the importance of conservation in their lives,” said Tidwell. “The institute’s mission is even more important today, as we work together to tackle the growing challenges facing America’s forests.”

About 10,000 people attended Kennedy’s dedication, where he spoke of the urgent need for the Forest Service and the Pinchot Institute to carry forward the conservation legacy of Gifford Pinchot. 
Kennedy noted that an emphasis on conservation was needed “more than ever before in our history, because we are reaching the limits of our fundamental needs of water to drink, of fresh air to breath, of open space to enjoy, and of abundant sources of energy to make life easier.”

The Forest Service and its partners will commemorate the Grey Towers dedication with programs, forums, lectures and public events that not only capture the significance of the historic moment, but honor the generous gift to the American public by the Pinchot family. As with the Kennedy dedication, the September programs will herald the many opportunities to carry forward the Pinchot conservation legacy for future generations.

Additional information about the schedule of events can be found here.

The mission of the Forest Service is to sustain the health, diversity and productivity of the nation's forests and grasslands to meet the needs of present and future generations. The agency manages 193 million acres of public land, provides assistance to state and private landowners, and maintains the largest forestry research organization in the world. Public lands the Forest Service manages contribute more than $13 billion to the economy each year through visitor spending alone. Those same lands provide 20 percent of the nation's clean water supply, a value estimated at $7.2 billion per year. The agency has either a direct or indirect role in stewardship of about 80 percent of the 850 million forested acres within the U.S., of which 100 million acres are urban forests where most Americans live.