4/22/2006

Gaylord Nelson -- Earth Day Founder

The man from Clear Lake...
It was as simple as a penny-a-pack tax. That’s all it took for then-Wisconsin Governor Gaylord Nelson to launch the first state land preservation program in the country and one of the greatest conservation careers in our nation’s history. Enacted by the Wisconsin State Legislature in 1961, the Outdoor Recreation Acquisitions Program (ORAP) appropriated $50 million for land protection, which ultimately protected thousands of acres of Wisconsin park land, wetlands and open space. Moreover, this effort launched a life-long effort by Nelson to protect our nation’s and world’s environment.

Only a year after Nelson pushed through ORAP, he was elected to the US Senate where he took his work to protect and preserve our environment to a national level. In his first speech on the Senate floor, Nelson decried the declining condition of the nation’s air and water quality. Foreshadowing what would later become some of our nation’s most important environmental legislation (the Clean Air and Water Acts), he called for a nationwide program to “save the national resources of America.”

Read profile: The Wilderness Society.

2 comments:

on wisconsin said...

JPN, thanks for this bit of history that I knew nothing about.

JPN said...

I forgot to mention that my Gramma, who grew up in Clear Lake and was a few years older that Gaylord, use to babysit him and change his diapers.