Stewart Udall, one of the true giants of modern conservation and a person to whom hunters, anglers and lovers of wildness everywhere owe a huge debt of gratitude, died Saturday at the age of 90.
From his obituary in the New York Times:
_”Stewart L. Udall, an ardent conservationist and a son of the West, who as interior secretary in the 1960s presided over vast increases in national park holdings and the public domain, died Saturday at his home in Santa Fe, N.M. The last surviving member of the original Kennedy cabinet, he was 90.”
__”…Few corners of the nation escaped Mr. Udall’s touch. As interior secretary in the Kennedy and Johnson administrations, he presided over the acquisition of 3.85 million acres of new holdings, including 4 national parks — Canyonlands in Utah, Redwood in California, North Cascades in Washington State and Guadalupe Mountains in Texas — 6 national monuments, 9 national recreation areas, 20 historic sites, 50 wildlife refuges and 8 national seashores. He also had an interest in preserving historic sites, and helped saved Carnegie Hall from destruction. “Republicans and Democrats, we all worked together,” Mr. Udall said in a television interview with Bill Moyers . But by the time of that interview, Mr. Udall added that Washington had been overtaken by money and that people seeking public office fought for contributions from business interests that viewed environmental protection as a detriment to profit at best.”_
In addition, Udall was instrumental in gaining the passage of the the Clean Air and Water Acts, the Wilderness Act of 1964, the Endangered Species Act, the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act, the National Trail System Act, the Land and Water Conservation Act and the Solid Waste Disposal Act.
If you enjoy fishing a clean, unpolluted free-flowing river, walking along a national seashore or duck hunting in a national wildlife refuge, chances are Stewart Udall had a hand in making that possible. Now that is a legacy of public service few can ever hope to match.