The purpose of the FDR Hyde Park Foundation Forestry Project is to improve the presentation of three forestry plantations, develop adjacent new demonstration plots, and restore the view of the Hudson River from Top Cottage at FDR’s home, Springwood, in Hyde Park, N.Y.
The project will further the visitor’s silvicultural education, controlling the growth and quality of the forests, and celebrate FDR’s conservation legacy. The FDR Hyde Park Foundation is honored to closely work with the State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry (ESF), renewing the former relationship between ESF and President Roosevelt’s forestry program at Hyde Park. For years, FDR worked closely with an ESF forester as his professional guide during the establishment of the original forest plantations.
The FDR Hyde Park Foundation Forestry Project will also undertake the historic preservation of FDR’s now overgrown forest plantations by removing invasive vegetation and beginning to restore the viewshed of the Hudson River from FDR’s home, Springwood.
This will be the first step in creating an authentic outdoor experience for visitors to this National Park Service (NPS) site so that they can see, and not just imagine, the landscape FDR shaped as a tree farmer committed to environmental conservation and growth — a vision he brought with him to the White House and that inspired his approach to fortifying the nation’s agricultural sector during the Depression and New Deal.
The land surrounding FDR’s home at Hyde Park nurtured his life-long interest in nature and the environment. FDR’s conservation ethic took root and flourished during a lifetime of exploring and caring for the place where he began to practice scientific forest management. He would plant half a million trees at Hyde Park during his lifetime, and the forestry plantations that FDR established at Hyde Park are a reflection of the conservation values he developed through his stewardship of the land.
The FDR Hyde Park Forestry Project will illustrate how FDR became the nation’s greatest conservationist president and his view that a forest should be grown, restored, and tended as a working asset to be kept productive. Through this project the Foundation will demonstrate how FDR’s tree plantations led to the New Deal forestry projects; its pioneering work in preventing and halting erosion through re-forestation; and in creating FDR’s view that natural resources should be protected for future generations to use. It will also initiate several small demonstration seedling plots in the vicinity of the surviving old plantations and will serve as an important educational reminder of forestry’s role in addressing global warming and slowing the pace of climate change.