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Weeks Act focus of upcoming issue of Appalachia, AMC Annual Meeting

October 29, 2010

In celebration of the upcoming 100th anniversary of the passage of the Weeks Act, an interpretive exhibit that tells the story of that historic legislation is on display at the Appalachian Mountain Club’s Highland Center at Crawford Notch.

The Weeks Act of 1911 established the eastern national forest system and led to the creation of the White Mountain National Forest.

On loan from Plymouth State University, the exhibit, titled “Protecting the Forests: The Weeks Act of 1911,” uses historic images and accompanying text to tell the story of land use in the White Mountains, tracing the advent of tourism, rail travel, and timber barons in the region.

The region was, and is today, valued for its timber resources, but indiscriminate logging practices of the late 19th and early 20th centuries led to resource damage, including erosion, stream sedimentation, and forest fires.

A public campaign to protect the forests led to legislation forwarded by Massachusetts Congressman John Wingate Weeks, a native of Lancaster, N.H.

Organizations such as the Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests and the Appalachian Mountain Club (AMC) led the charge in support of the legislation, which ultimately led to the creation of the White Mountain National Forest, a multiple-use forest managed for such public values as recreation, timber harvesting, wildlife, and watershed protection.

Exhibit hours are 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., and admission is free and open to the public. The exhibit is set to run through Jan. 3, 2011. The AMC Highland Center is located on U.S. Route 302 in Crawford Notch.

An examination of how the Weeks Act saved the Eastern forests is the focus of the Winter/Spring 2011 issue of Appalachia, the nation’s oldest journal of mountaineering and conservation.. The issue includes Weeks Act-related articles by Christopher Johnson and Dave Govatski, Sally Manikian, Jonathan Mingle, and White Mountain National Forest Supervisor Tom Wagner.  Subscriptions are available at

The history of the Weeks Act and AMC’s role in the passage of that historic legislation will be the subject of a keynote presentation by Dr. Char Miller at AMC’s upcoming Annual Meeting on Jan. 29, 2011. Miller is an expert on U.S. Forest Service history and the award-winning author of Gifford Pinchot and the Making of Modern Environmentalism and Ground Work: Conservation in American Culture, among other titles. He is the director and W.M. Keck Professor in the Environmental Analysis Program at Pomona College, Claremont, Calif.

The meeting, which is open to the public, is set to be held at The Sheraton Four Points, Norwood Hotel & Conference Center, Norwood, Mass. More information is available at

Founded in 1876, the Appalachian Mountain Club is America’s oldest conservation and recreation organization. With more than 100,000 members, advocates, and supporters in the Northeast and beyond, the nonprofit AMC promotes the protection, enjoyment, and understanding of the mountains, forests, waters, and trails of the Appalachian region. The AMC supports natural resource conservation while encouraging responsible recreation, based on the philosophy that successful, long-term conservation depends upon first-hand enjoyment of the natural environment.