West Mourns Loss of Friend of Conservation

Published: Thursday, Oct. 17, 2013 - 12:10 pm

Originally published in The Bee on Nov. 22, 1963

Californians, shocked by the assassination of r President John F. Kennedy, today grieved over the loss of a man to whom they owed a debt of gratitude for his interest in the west's great natural resources. The president had been a frequent visitor to California since his election in 1960.

His latest was in September when he dedicated the Whiskeytown Dam near Redding, Shasta County, and spoke of the need to fight for conservation and resource development.

"This is not a partisan effort," Kennedy declared then. "These are principles outlined first by two great Republican leaders, Theodore Roosevelt and [first head of the U.S. Forest Service] Gifford Pinchot."

In Capital Twice

The president was in Sacramento twice prior to his election. In May, 1959, he conferred with Governor Edmund G. Brown on the forthcoming campaign and in September, 1960, his campaign train made a brief stop for a platform speech.

It was then that the president warned "life in the '60s will be more difficult and more burdensome."

San Luis Dedication

The dedication of the great San Luis Project in August, 1962, again called the president to California. He was greeted by thousands on his arrival at Fresno Airport and thousands more flocked to the site of the great water storage project near Los Banos in Merced County to hear his dedicatory speech.

Although the press of business prevented him from making another trip to California, President Kennedy participated by long distance telephone in the dedication of the Sacramento-Yolo Port last July.

Speaking from the White House he said the port is a regional project of "national significance."

The president praised the opening of the port and said "it represents a tremendous effort by the people of the entire Sacramento area.

"The appropriation of federal funds in this project will aid other regions and add generally to the nation's growing economy."

Read more articles by Max Miller

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