Today is the 100th anniversary of the passage of the Weeks Act, which permitted the federal government to purchase private land, protecting forests and watersheds in the Eastern United States. The act has been called one of the most successful pieces of conservation legislation in the nation’s history. It safeguards habitats for hundreds of species, and recreation space for millions, including miles of the Appalachian Trail. The trail meanders through twelve states and thousands of acres of federally conserved land.
Lancaster’s John Weeks, who was responsible for the Weeks Act of 1911 that gave the government the authority to create national forests, appreciated nature but wasn’t a hardcore environmentalist, according to a historian who is also his great granddaughter.
“He, himself was a businessman. He did not claim to be a conservationist in the classic sense of the word, certainly not in our sense,” said Rebecca Weeks Sherrill More. “But I think it is important that as a good businessman he understood that conservation was good business”
The Weeks Act created the country’s eastern national forests and New Hampshire’s own White Mountain National Forest. In this ongoing series, NHPR looks at how the Weeks Act has affected the Granite State.
It spans more than 13,000 acres. Nearly a quarter of the state’s population lives within its watershed. In a weeklong series, NHPR’s Environment Reporter Amy Quinton looks at the troubles pollution poses to the health of this critical estuary, and some proposed solutions for returning the Seacoast’s Great Bay to health.
Van Jones, the founder of Green For All, an organization that promotes green-collar jobs and opportunities for the disadvantages. He's also Special Advisor for Green Jobs at the White House Council on Environmental Quality. He talks with Manon Bonnet and Hichem Hadjeres about the green economy as well as making the environmental movement fashionable for more people - especially young people.