A Glimpse into History

What Prominent People Have Said about Nature in Oregon and the Need to Conserve It

Michael McCloskey brings voices from the past into the present in a powerful presentation that provides new perspectives on a state that continues to make history as a leader in the conservation world: Oregon.

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At a Glance

A Glimpse into History
What Prominent People Have Said about Nature in Oregon and the Need to Conserve It
Michael McCloskey
Inkwater Press
Page Count
Trim Size
8.5″ × 8.5″





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6750 SW Franklin Street, Suite A
Portland, OR 97223-2542
Phone: (503) 968-6777
Fax: (503) 968-6779

Oregon, the jewel of the Pacific Northwest. Explorers, preachers, politicians, environmentalists, and settlers have all waxed poetic about the majesty of Oregon and its beauty. This book brings together what people have said about Oregon, especially people living in Oregon at the time they wrote the words … take the time to enjoy this immensely enjoyable book and take it for a stroll through a meadow, lake, or mountain …

Seattle Review of Books

Longtime Sierra Club executive Michael McCloskey—one of the most eloquent and forceful advocates for the environment in the 20th century—has found not just a new voice but many voices, none of them new.

Adding to his previous studies of Oregon’s environmental history, Mike marshals the words of Oregonians from across three centuries—writers, and politicians, suffragists and ministers, explorers, outdoorsmen, scholars, and lawyers, judges and activists—whose vision for Oregon has not been merely as a good place to live but a place standing as a model ... for the long-term stewardship of our natural resources.

About the Book

A Glimpse Into History: What Prominent People Have Said About Nature in Oregon and the Need to Conserve It brings voices from the past into the present in a powerful presentation that provides new perspectives on a state that continues to make history as a leader in the conservation world. In the words of over ninety figures who turned Oregon into the premier "green state." They were explorers, pioneers, settlers, ministers, climbers, scientists, poets, politicians, writers, ranchers, activists, lawyers, and businessmen. They shaped the culture that saw value in nature and demanded policies to protect it. Through their inspiring words, their presence is still felt.


Chapter Five

Oregon in the Midst of the 20th Century

As the 1930s began, Julius Meier was elected as Oregon’s governor, running as an Independent. He proved to be a dedicated supporter of conservation policies as they were understood at the time.

Passages from the first message of Governor Julius L. Meier to the legislature (1931):

Our commercial fisheries constitute the state’s third greatest industry, and our fish and game resources together with Oregon’s scenic wealth, constitute one of the strongest attractions to visitors.

These fish and game resources are the common property of the people, and their protection and propagation are of the utmost importance.

A careful, scientific field survey of our game life is needed, as we know so little of the habits of game birds, animals and fish.

With the building of mills, factories, manufacturing plants, and the growth of towns and cities along our waterways, a number of Oregon streams are facing ruin and others are threatened.

The wastes of industries, [combined with] the filth of municipal corporations, are dumped into public waters to such an extent that some streams are like open sewers, spreading disease to people and destroying fish-life.

It is a subject deserving of your serious consideration and appropriate remedial legislation. ...

Unrivalled in mountain and forest scenery, picturesque rivers and angling streams, Oregon is destined to become one of the great playgrounds of America.

Much of this marvelous scenery is already accessible through the state’s ... highway system and more of it is being made so each year.

Since this scenic wealth constitutes one of the state’s greatest assets, it is essential that we fully preserve and protect it. We should save [the] forests ... [that remain] along our highways, protect our sea beaches, add to our roadside parks, and finally maintain our highways: free from commercial ugliness, and beautify them by planting trees and shrubbery. ...

In conclusion, I want to make the observation that a state should be as great as its natural resources. Measured by this standard, Oregon should be one of the greatest and most prosperous states in the union—for Oregon has tremendous resources.

It is rich in agriculture, timber, minerals, fish, game, scenery, and water power. But with the exception of water power, all these resources are exhaustible and must be protected and fostered.

About the Author

Michael McCloskey earned a law degree at the University of Oregon, after growing up in Eugene. Attracted to environmental advocacy, in 1961 he went to work for the national Sierra Club, opening their first field office in the Northwest. After pioneering work for national parks and wilderness, he transferred to San Francisco where he became successively Conservation Director, CEO, and Chairman. He led the Sierra Club during pivotal phases to get framework laws enacted nationally to protect the environment.

After a forty-year career with the Sierra Club, he returned to Oregon upon retirement. Living now in Portland, he chaired the city’s Heritage Tree program and writes books.

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