If there was ever a “Grandfather” for US Route in Pennsylvania, it would be Gifford Pinchot. As we celebrate the 150th anniversary of his birth on August 11, 1865, the PA Route 6 Alliance honors all the places where the story of the two time Governor and First Chief of the United States Forest Services is told along the historic highway.

Grey Towers National Historic Site (www.fs.usda.gov/main/greytowers) is the family home of Gifford Pinchot located in Milford, PA (Route 6 mile marker 394) and the best source of information on Pinchot’s legacy. According to the website, the childhood summer home was designed to use local materials and reflect the French Heritage of the Pinchot family. It is also where James Pinchot, encourage Gifford to consider a career in forestry, which would lead to him to be considered the “Father of the Conservation Movement”.

Today, visitors can take a guided tour of the first floor of the mansion and surrounding gardens, independently walk the grounds and historic gardens, hike the trails or attend an educational program. Throughout August and September, there are several education and cultural events planned.  One recommended site while touring the grounds is the “finger bowl”, which served as an outdoor dining area for the Pinchots.

If visiting Grey Towers, be sure to download the walking tour brochure for the town of Milford to explore the places that are related to Pinchot in this quaint village.

As Chief Forester of the newly established Bureau of Forestry under the US Department of Agriculture, now known as the US Forest Service, Pinchot established the National Forest System. In Pennsylvania, US Route 6 traverses through the Allegheny National Forest (MM 86-136). The ANF is a outdoor recreationist paradise with hiking, biking, and ATV trails as well as scenic vistas and camping.

The methods of conservation that are the legacy of Pinchot can be seen as you travel across Route 6, many of the lush forests were once barren as timber from the central part of the corridor was harvested and shipped to other places. Several places were reforested through the efforts of the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC), a story that is interpreted at the newly renovated Pennsylvania Lumber Museum (MM 187). Here Pinchot is memorialized for his role in the New Growth Era (1910 -1970).

Pinchot led the country and state to better forest management, today the PA Department of Conservation and Natural Resources is in charge of managing the state forests and state parks throughout the state. Within the PA Route 6 Heritage Corridor, there are 7 state forests and 19 state parks available for residents and visitors to visit and enjoy. For a complete list, see the PA route 6 website (www.paroute6.com).

Gifford Pinchot influenced many of the natural and scenic landscapes across PA Route 6 and his ideas gave birth to protecting the open spaces that make this scenic and historic highway a favorite among travelers.

MM indicates the closest DO 6 Mile Marker.

Read past Monthly Features:

June 2015 - Route 6 as a Transportation Corridor

May 2015 - PA Route 6 as a National Recreational Trail

April 2015 - The Real Artisans of PA Route 6

March 2015 - Maple Month

February 2015 - Washington and Lincoln Connections