The rigid, mountainous landscapes of Joshua Tree National Park, the beaming giants of Sequoia National Park and the arenaceous panoramas of Great Sand Dunes National Park are sights that we will be able to savor for years thanks to pioneers in protecting these regions. These National Parks wouldn’t be here today without the steadfast leadership and bravery of women. In honor of International Women’s Day, Experience Park Tours brings you three examples of iconic women who shaped the future of our National Parks.
According to the National Parks Service, Hoyt became mesmerized and passionate about the desert after she moved to Pasadena in the 1890s. She became determined to protect the perfectly balanced ecosystem without truly understanding what fascinated her about these areas. In 1930, she lobbied the Park Service itself and President Franklin D. Roosevelt to pretect Joshua Tree. In 1936, the president saw the same value in the park, and the national monument was formed, leaving us all a place to admire the dusty desert as Hoyt once did.
Susan Thew felt compelled toward protecting the magnificent trees that towered around her at Sequoia National Park. Threw spent some time educating herself about how she could expand the park by traveling hundreds of miles, taking notes and photos of what she saw. She thought that if the American people could see the area’s stunning landscapes, they’d realize the need to preserve them. This created her to write the book, “The Proposed Roosevelt-Sequoia National Park,” which ultimately showed the potential of protecting the high sierra.
“If you are weary with the battle, either of business or the greater game of life, and would like to find your way back to sound nerves and a new interest in life, I know of no better place than the wild loveliness of some chosen spot in the High Sierra in which, when you have lost your physical self, you have found your mental and spiritual re-awakening,” she said.
These words inspired many people to write to their legislation, and lead to her advocacy helping triple the park’s acreage in 1926.
Three local chapters of the Philanthropic Educational Organization Sisterhood, an organization to help open doors for women, came together to advocate for the protection of the United States’ tallest dunes. According to PEO International, the PEO Sisterhood lobbied Colorado’s politicians and worked to inspire citizens to write letters of support to the state’s congressional delegation. On March 17th of 1932, their persistence finally paid off. President Herbert Hoover designated the Great Sand Dunes National Monument thanks to this group of high spirited women.
Today, we would like to honor these women and thank them for creating and preserving the sensational parks that we will hold close for generations to come.