Documentary tells story of U.S. Forest Service |

Documentary tells story of U.S. Forest Service

Aspen Times Staff

The U.S. Forest Service is helping celebrate its centennial year by screening a compelling new documentary to tell the history of the agency.

“The Greatest Good” will be shown free of charge at the Wheeler Opera House today at 7 p.m. The documentary uses rarely seen footage and photos, sweeping aerial shots of landscapes and dozens of interviews to tell a story of the American land.

“The documentary is a rich, vibrant and intense history of an agency that constantly reinvents itself and struggles with how to manage public lands in a democratic country where everyone has ideas on how one acre should be managed,” said Forest Service employee and producer/director Dave Steinke.

The movie is not a black and white history of the agency; instead it explores different dimensions of land management and conservation by interviewing district rangers, historians, clerks, chiefs, scientists and others who have all helped shape the Forest Service.

Before environmentalism and the National Park Service, the Forest Service was created in 1905 by President Theodore Roosevelt and his chief forester, Gifford Pinchot.

Pinchot’s mission statement for his new agency stated “… where conflicting interests must be reconciled, the question shall always be decided from the standpoint of the greatest good of the greatest number in the long run.”

The film examines these conflicts in major natural resource issues: grazing, fire, wilderness, game/wildlife, watershed protection, recreation and timber. The film also profiles Forest Service employees, including Pinchot, Aldo Leopold, Arthur Carhart and Bob Marshall, who invented new ways of addressing these conflicts.

The screening will be hosted by the Forest Conservancy, formerly the White River Interpretive Association, a nonprofit partner committed to protecting lands on or near the White River National Forest.

The film features an original score and is narrated by Charles Osgood. For more information contact Kristi Ponozzo at 945-3206 or visit the “The Greatest Good” website at


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