George Bird Grinnell 18491938

William Notman (18261891)
Albumen silver print, c. 1880

National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C.

Often called the “father of American conservation,” George Bird Grinnell was instrumental in convincing others about the importance of using natural resources wisely. He lived in New York City but directed great attention to western lands and the region’s Native peoples.

Beginning in 1870, when he accompanied Yale paleontologist Othniel Marsh on a “bone-hunting” trip to the plains, Grinnell tried to devote a portion of every year to travel and study in the West. Becoming editor-in-chief of Forest and Stream in 1881, he transformed this sportsmen’s weekly into the nation’s leading voice for conservation.

In addition to helping found several organizations devoted to this cause—including the Audubon Society, the Boone and Crockett Club, and the American Game Association—Grinnell also counseled his friend Theodore Roosevelt about the subject. One of his final achievements was leading the successful decade-long campaign to establish Glacier National Park.