Who was Bob Marshall?

Robert “Bob” Marshall (January 2, 1901 – November 11, 1939) was an American forester, writer and wilderness activist. The son of wealthy constitutional lawyer and conservationist Louis Marshall, Bob Marshall was first exposed to nature as a young child. He quickly developed a love for the outdoors, visiting the Adirondack Mountains numerous times to hike and climb, becoming one of the first Adirondack Forty-Sixers. He also traveled to the Alaskan wilderness and authored numerous articles and publications, including the 1933 bestselling book Arctic Village.

A scientist with a Doctor of Philosophy in plant physiology, Marshall became independently wealthy after the death of his father. He was also a supporter of socialism and civil liberties[1] and held two significant public posts during his life: chief of forestry in the Bureau of Indian Affairs, from 1933 to 1937, and head of recreation management in the Forest Service, from 1937 to 1939. Defining wilderness as a social as well as an environmental ideal, Marshall was the first to suggest a formal, national organization of individuals dedicated to the preservation of primeval land.[2] In 1935 he became one of the principal founders of The Wilderness Society and personally provided a majority of the Society’s funding in its first years.

Marshall died of heart failure at the age of 38, but 25 years later, partly as a result of his efforts, The Wilderness Society became responsible for passing the Wilderness Act, which legally defined the wilderness of the United States and protected some nine million acres (36,000 km²) of federal land. Today, Marshall is considered largely responsible for the wilderness preservation movement. Several landmarks and areas, including The Bob Marshall Wilderness in Montana and Mount Marshall in the Adirondacks, were named in his honor.