The destruction of forests in New Hampshire’s White Mountains in the late 1800s sparked a nationwide movement to protect and manage America’s threatened forestlands for the public good. Leading the way was a unique partnership of concerned citizens, business, industry and civic groups that believed conservation could benefit both the environment and economy. This is the story of how those unlikely allies helped to forge the groundbreaking Weeks Act of 1911, the origin of America’s National Forests east of the Mississippi.
“The Balancing Act: The Story and Legacy of the Weeks Act” is a ten minute-long video of how one of America’s earliest environmental disasters sparked a nationwide movement to purchase, protect, and manage threatened and damaged forest lands for the public good.
The forest conservation legislation forged by Congress under the leadership of John Wingate Weeks struck a balanced approach that addressed both environmental and economic issues. The video explores how successful that brilliant balancing act has proven to be in the White Mountain National Forest and other eastern national forests established under the Weeks Act.
This film is a product of the efforts of Plymouth State University’s Center for Rural Partnerships, The Museum of the White Mountains, the Weeks Act Centennial, with financial support from the Unites States Forest Services, and video production by Moore Huntley Productions.
“The Balancing Act” inspired a longer film, also produced by Moore Huntley Productions, entitled “The People’s Forest: The Story of the White Mountains National Forest.” This film looks at the mix of man-made disasters, colorful characters, citizen activism and political courage that brought about the protection of our National Forests through the Weeks Act of 1911. Learn more about this film and listen to an interview with the producer in a piece by Sean Hurley of NHPR.