John W Weeks (1860-1926) was a Congressman and Senator from Massachusetts. He was also an avid conservationist, businessman and a Republican who recognize the importance of sound resource management as one of the foundations of a strong market economy.
For more information about this remarkable man, read his biography at the Forest History Society.
Join us in celebrating the centennial anniversary of the Weeks Act, which was signed into law 100 years ago on March 1, 1911 by President William Taft. This groundbreaking law led to the creation and restoration of many of the forests we enjoy today in the eastern United States.
The act enabled the federal government to buy up land in the eastern United States for restoration and protection. Weeks Act acquisitions led to the creation of 52 National Forests on 20 million acres of land. These forests have provided us with clean water, air, wildlife habitat, outdoor recreation opportunities, and jobs. In fact, one-fifth of the entire nation’s clean drinking water flows from these lands.
Thanks to the Weeks Act millions of acres of bare, eroded lands have been restored and replanted. The Act has also enabled valuable federal and state partnerships to control wildfires. The Weeks Act was a first of its kind; it helped launch a century of conservation and set the stage for future environmental laws. Commemorating the Weeks Act is a great way to celebrate the southern region’s national forests and observe the UN International Year of the Forests in 2011!
“The Weeks Act was the corner-stone, the very foundation, for all future cooperative fire protection and suppression programs between state and federal agencies. Its authors were also visionaries in that they helped to ensure the future supply of clean, usable water resources for all Americans by protecting irreplaceable forested watersheds”.
Joe Lehnen, Area Forester
Virginia Department of Forestry