Commemorating Pike County's historical role in the development of conservation in the U.S.
This area has a strong history with the very beginning of conservation in the United States. In the latter part of the 19th century, the Blooming Grove Park Association, now the Blooming Grove Hunting and Fishing Club, began the first practice of scientific forestry in North America. By the end of the century, James Pinchot, one of the early leaders of the American Forestry Association, built Grey Towers, on the hills overlooking Milford and the Delaware River Valley. In 1900, James and his son Gifford Pinchot established the Yale Forest School at the Grey Towers estate and for the next 25 years, the premier professional forestry field education program was based in Pike County. Early graduates of the Yale Forest School took their teachings to all corners of the globe, and in turn, the world's forestry experts came to Milford. Gifford became the first Chief of the United States Forest Service under Theodore Roosevelt and went on to a successful career in both forest conservation and government, including two terms as governor of Pennsylvania.
Shortly after establishing the Forest School, the Pinchot family built Forest Hall in Milford and began using the Pinchot Homestead (now the Community House) across the street as the library and offices for the Forest School. With the Forest School students here only in summer, the Pinchots allowed the community to use the building for its library. Over time, the Pinchot family added to the collection and significantly expanded the offering of books to residents of the county. Pike County and the small library in the Community House thus played an important role in establishing forest conservation as an accepted practice in America.
This leadership in conservation has continued in Pike County to the present day. Some current examples include the national efforts of the Pinchot Institute, the important work of the U.S. Forest Service at Grey Towers, the development of a number of experimental Chestnut Orchards for the American Chestnut Foundation and the land management and stewardship practices of such organizations the Milford Experimental Forest. There are many other partners in conservation today such as the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, whose Bureau of Forestry was once lead by Gifford Pinchot and is recognized as one of the leading state forestry agencies in the nation.
You may also want to visit some of the following websites: