Robert Sterling Yard
Robert Sterling Yard was an American writer, journalist, and wilderness activist. In 1915, he was recruited by his friend Stephen Mather to help publicize the need for an independent national park agency. His publications were part of a movement that resulted in legislative support for a National Park Service in 1916. Yard later became involved in the protection of wilderness areas.
About Robert Sterling Yard in brief
Robert Sterling Yard was an American writer, journalist, and wilderness activist. In 1915, he was recruited by his friend Stephen Mather to help publicize the need for an independent national park agency. His publications were part of a movement that resulted in legislative support for a National Park Service in 1916. Yard later became involved in the protection of wilderness areas. In 1935, he became one of the eight founding members of The Wilderness Society and acted as its first president from 1937 until his death eight years later. Yard is now considered an important figure in the modern wilderness movement. His most successful publicity initiative during this time was the National Parks Portfolio, a collection of nine pamphlets that interspersed photographs of national parks with information on how to get to them. He was not an outdoorsman like most advocates of a national park service, but he felt a connection to the cause, and eventually became personally invested in its success. He died in New York City in 1939. He is buried in Mount Sinai Cemetery in New Jersey. He had a daughter, Margaret, and a son, Robert Sterling Yard, Jr., who served as a New York State senator from 1913-1934. He also served as president of the New York chapter of the American Antiquarian Society from 1934-1936. He served in the publishing business from 1900 to 1915, variously as editor-in-chief of The Century Magazine and Sunday editor of theNew York Herald. In 1895, he married Mary Belle Moffat; they had one daughter,Margaret.
Yard was the best man at Mather’s wedding in 1893. He became a prominent member of Princeton’s Alumni Association, and founded the Montclair Princeton Al alumni Association. He wrote numerous articles that praised the scenic qualities of the parks and their possibilities for educational, inspirational and recreational benefits. He collected data regarding popular American tourist destinations, such as Switzerland, France, Germany, Italy, and Canada, together with reasons why people visited certain areas; he also collected photographs and compiled lists of those who might enlist in the conservation cause. In 1916, he wrote: We want our national parks developed developed. We want hotels and trails of all prices from lowest to highest. We want sufficient and convenient transportation at reasonable rates at lowest prices for camping out at lowest Prices. We. want special facilities for nature life and conserved wild animal life developed and conserving our wild life. At the National Park Conference in March 1915, he stated, “I, the treader of dusty city streets, boldly claim common kinship with you of the plains, the mountains, and the glaciers.”, he said. In June 1916, his article appeared in The Nation’s Business in June 1916: “Making a Business of Scenery’s. Business in the Nation’s. Park” He was a member of The National Parks Association from 1919 to 1937, and served as executive secretary of the NPA until his retirement in 1948. He later became a director of the Wilderness Society.