80 years ago, FDR dedicated the Timberline Lodge
MT HOOD, Ore. —
Thursday marks 80 years since then-President Franklin D. Roosevelt dedicated the Timberline Lodge at Mount Hood.
Here's the speech he delivered on Sept. 28, 1937:
Governor Martin, Ladies and Gentlemen:
I am on the slopes of Mount Hood where I have always wanted to come.
I am here to dedicate the Timberline Lodge and I do so in the words of the bronze tablet directly in front of me on the coping of this wonderful building:
"Timberline Lodge, Mount Hood National Forest, dedicated September 28, 1937, by the President of the United States as a monument to the skill and faithful performance of workers on the rolls of the Works Progress Administration."
In the past few days I have inspected many great governmental activities—parks and soil protection sponsored by the Works Progress Administration; buildings erected with the assistance of the Public Works Administration; our oldest and best-known National Park, the Yellowstone, under the jurisdiction of the National Park Service; great irrigation areas fathered by the Reclamation Service; and a few hours ago a huge navigation and power dam built by the Army engineers.
Now I find myself in one of our many national forests, here on the slopes of Mount Hood.
The people of the United States are singularly fortunate in having such great areas of the outdoors in the permanent possession of the people themselves—permanently available for many different forms of use.
In the total of this acreage the national forests already play an important part in our economy, and as the years go by, their usefulness is bound to expand.
A good many of us probably think of our forests as having the primary function of saving our timber resources, but they do far more than that; much of the timber in them is cut and sold under scientific methods, and replaced on the system of rotation by new stands of many types of useful trees. The National Forests, in addition, provide forage for livestock and game, they husband our water at the source; they mitigate our floods and prevent the erosion of our soil. Last but not least, our National Forests will provide constantly increasing opportunity for recreational use. This Timberline Lodge marks a venture that was made possible by W.P.A., emergency relief work, in order that we may test the workability of recreational facilities installed by the Government itself and operated under its complete control.
Here, to Mount Hood, will come thousands and thousands of visitors in the coming years. Looking east toward eastern Oregon with its great livestock raising areas, these visitors are going to visualize the relationship between the cattle ranches and the summer ranges in the forests. Looking westward and northward toward Portland and the Columbia River, with their great lumber and other wood using industries, they will understand the part which National Forest timber will play in the support of this important element of northwestern prosperity.
Those who will follow us to Timberline Lodge on their holidays and vacations will represent the enjoyment of new opportunities for play in every season of the year. I mention specially every season of the year because we, as a nation, I think, are coming to realize that the summer is not the only time for play. I look forward to the day when many, many people from this region of the Nation are going to come here for skiing and tobogganing and various other forms of winter sports. Among them, all of those visitors, in winter and summer, spring and autumn, there will be many from the outermost parts of our Nation, travelers from the Middle West, the South and the East, Americans who are fulfilling a very desirable objective of citizenship—getting to know their country better.
I am very keen about travel, not only personally—you know that—but also about travel for as many Americans as can possibly afford it, because those Americans will be getting to know their own country better; and the more they see of it, the more they will realize the privileges which God and nature have given to the American people.
So, I take very great pleasure in dedicating this Lodge, not only as a new adjunct of our National Forests, but also as a place to play for generations of Americans in the days to come.