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Gallatin History Museum Speaker Series-Special Presentation-George Bird Ginnell, Father of Glacier National Park

Mr. Hugh Grinnell, distant cousin of George Bird Grinnell, impersonates his cousin in period costume and tells his story in a live presentation using projections of historical photos, maps, and quotes to provide a living, first-person presentation of Bird Grinnell’s story. The presentation derives its authenticity from George Bird Grinnell’s own field journals, published books, his editorials over 35 years from Forest and Stream sportsmen’s newspaper, his letters, and letters to him from his contemporaries who figure prominently throughout the 60-minute show. The audience does not “hear about” historical events; it experiences them.

 

An 1870 graduate of Yale College, George Bird Grinnell began his more than 40 years of exploration into the “West” the summer of his graduation where he developed his attitudes about protecting wildlife, conserving water and forests, and protecting the land for U.S. citizens and the lifestyles of the Native Americans.

As a frequent contributor to Forest and Stream sportsmen’s journal, and as eventual editor and owner, he was able to convince his reading public that changes needed to be made in Americans’ attitudes about “conservation”. He recommended and outlined a system of national parks in 1874.

He lobbied State and Federal Congressmen to implement legislation for the protection of what would become national parks. He befriended Teddy Roosevelt whose conservation policy when President was greatly influenced by “Bird” Grinnell. Grinnell is called the “Father of American Conservation” and the “Father of Glacier National Park”. He founded the first Aububon Society to protect non-game birds from extinction.