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National Park Service Co-Founder Dies

March 30, 1987

LOS ANGELES (AP) _ National Park Service co-founder Horace Marden Albright, a pioneer in environmental conservation, has died at a convalescent home. He was 97.

Marion Schenck, Albright’s daughter, said he died Saturday of natural causes at the home in North Hollywood, following a brief illness.

″His footprints are on the United States and the world because all other national park systems are modeled on the one he built,″ said Sierra Club officials in 1986 after presenting Albright with the John Muir Award for his role in organizing the national agency and establishing such national parks as Grand Canyon, Zion and the Great Smoky Mountains.

Born in 1890 in Bishop, Albright was awarded the nation’s highest civilian honor, the Medal of Freedom, by President Jimmy Carter in 1980.

After graduating from the University of California at Berkeley in 1912, Albright went to Washington, D.C., to work in the Department of the Interior. He teamed up with mountaineering enthusiast Stephen Mather to press for legislation establishing a federal bureau to administer the government’s loose collection of parklands.

A year later, during Woodrow Wilson’s administration, the park service was formed by Congress. Mather, who died in 1930, was appointed the service’s first director. Albright became Superintendent of Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming, serving as a field director for the national service.

In 1929, Albright became director, a job he held until he resigned to join a mining firm in 1933. He retained his ties to the agency though, and continued his work with conservationists throughout his career.

Today, the park service maintains and manages the nation’s 79.5 million square acres of national lands.

During his tenure with the park service, Albright worked to stake claims on wilderness areas facing private development, then quickly opened them to the public.

He retired at 72 and moved to the San Fernando Valley to be near his daughter. His wife, Grace, died six years ago. They were married in 1915.

In addition to his daughter, Albright is survived by four grandchildren and 11 great-grandchildren. A son, Robert, died in 1950.

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