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 Benton MacKaye

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Benton MacKaye

  • Original Name Emile
  • Birth 6 Mar 1879 Stamford, Fairfield County, Connecticut, USA
  • Death 11 Dec 1975 Shirley Center, Middlesex County, Massachusetts, USA
  • Burial Shirley, Middlesex County, Massachusetts, USA
  • Memorial ID 12780668

Conservationist, planner, and founder of the Appalachian Trail. Benton MacKay grew up in Shirley, Massachusetts and spent most of his life there. In 1935, he co-founded the Wilderness Society with Robert Marshall, Harvey Broome, and Bernard Frank. Benton's part in the founding of The Wilderness Society was one of his two greatest accomplishments. The other was his conceiving of the Appalachian Trail in 1921. Benton MacKaye will always be remembered as the man who proposed this 2000-mile long skyline footpath through wilderness areas from Maine to Georgia. The trail became known as "the backbone of a primeval environment, a sort of refuge from civilization which was becoming too mechanized." He liked to be called "the father of the Appalachian Trail." Benton MacKaye took a B.A. from Harvard in 1900 and an M.A. from Harvard's School of Forestry in 1905 and became a research forester for the U.S. Forest Service. Following the birth of the Appalachian Trail in 1921, he devoted his entire life to the preservation of wild places. He was a pioneer in linking the concepts of preservation and recreation. Spanning three-quarters of a century, his long and productive career had a major impact on emerging movements in conservation, environmentalism, and regional planning. MacKaye's seminal ideas on outdoor recreation, wilderness protection, land-use planning, and community development have inspired generations of activists, professionals, and adventurers seeking to strike a harmonious balance between human need and the natural environment. In addition to his leadership as president of The Wilderness Society and the founder of the Appalachian Trail, he was employed by the U.S. Forest Service, the U.S. Geological Service, the Indian Service, and the Tennessee Valley Authority. He was also a co-founder of the Regional Planning Association of America. Benton MacKay's indefatigable energy and boundless pursuit of protecting America's wild places have solidified his role as one of the greatest conservationists of the twentieth century. He died of old age in Shirley Center in 1975 at age 96.

Bio by: Anthony B


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  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Originally Created by: Anthony B
  • Added: 24 Dec 2005
  • Find A Grave Memorial 12780668
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Benton MacKaye (6 Mar 1879–11 Dec 1975), Find A Grave Memorial no. 12780668, citing Center Cemetery, Shirley, Middlesex County, Massachusetts, USA ; Maintained by Find A Grave .