Letters: Ike Pride for Land and Water Conservation Fund

Joe PenfoldWe just had the 50th anniversary of the Land and Water Conservation Fund. The Ikes have much to be proud of for this landmark piece of legislation.

My dad, Joe Penfold, was Conservation Director of the League in the 1960s. He worked hard with Congress to get the Outdoor Recreation Resources Review Commission established. He had excellent relationships with many Western congressional members and was key in getting the legislation introduced and passed. President John Kennedy appointed him to the newly established Commission.

I worked for the U.S. Forest Service at the time and on a trip with him, he asked what I thought of the idea of a fund the Forest Service and other agencies could use to buy land and develop recreation facilities. Of course I liked the idea and felt the Forest Service could really do some good things for outdoor recreation with such a fund. He indicated that he was proposing or pushing for the idea with the Commission. Some have told me he should be considered the “father” of the Land and Water Conservation Fund.

Joe Penfold and JFKToward the end of dad’s life, I was a Forest Supervisor of Jefferson National Forest in Virginia. We were buying large amounts of land with LWCF for the Mount Rogers National Recreation Area. I had the chance to take Pop hunting on a piece of land we had purchased with the Land and Water Conservation Fund. He never took credit for anything. One thing I remember him saying, “There is little that one can’t accomplish if you can give others the credit.” Certainly a powerful and useful thought!

I am proud that Congress has reauthorized the Fund. The Ikes can be proud as well.

By the way, I certainly like the new version of the Outdoor America. Congratulations.

Mike Penfold
Billings, Montana

Editor’s Note: For more information about Joe Penfold and the Land and Water Conservation Fund, revisit “Land And Water Conservation Fund” (Outdoor America 2015, Issue 3) and “90 Years of Conservation Success: From the Fast-Moving Fifties to the ‘Sensible’ Sixties” (Outdoor America 2012, Issue 3).