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A storied conservation legacy

BY PHIL BLOOM
During his only term as U.S. President, Benjamin Harrison signed legislation creating Yosemite National Park and set aside 17 million acres of Western lands as the first national forests.
William Steele Holman is credited with slipping key language into the Forest Reserve Act that gave Harrison and subsequent presidents the authority to establish those national forests.
Gene Stratton-Porter wrote 12 novels and seven nature books that were translated into 20 languages and had a peak readership of 50 million worldwide.
J. Maurice Thompson authored the seminal book on archery for hunting and co-founded the National Archery Association, which became the governing body of Olympic-style archery in the United States.
William Temple Hornaday was chief taxidermist for the Smithsonian Institution’s U.S. National Museum and a prolific writer whose work helped save the American bison.
Durward Allen left the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service in 1954 to become a professor of wildlife ecology and natural resources at Purdue University, where he launched the study of wolf-moose interplay at Isle Royale National Park. The study continues today as the longest-running project of its kind in the world.
Although he was Scotland-born and Wisconsin-raised, John Muir came to Indianapolis in 1866 to work at a carriage materials factory. Temporarily blinded by an accident at that factory, Muir spent a recuperative period contemplating his future and decided to pursue his passion for the natural world. In 1868, he left Indianapolis for Florida … on foot. Extensive travels followed, and he became one of the world’s leading nature advocates and founder of the Sierra Club.
All these prominent champions of conservation and recreation have ties to Indiana. It’s a prolific list of people whose efforts still impact us today. You can see how the state’s long tradition of supporting the outdoors continues today, and you might find a story or two, when you visit Fort Wayne for conference. ♦

Phil Bloom is OWAA’s president and the local chair for the 2018 conference in his hometown of Fort Wayne, Indiana. For conference questions email him at philbloom.owaa@frontier. com.

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