BOSTON — The Trustees of Reservations recently honored the National Park Service with its prestigious Charles Eliot Conservationist of the Year Award at its 125th annual meeting. Michael Creasey, superintendent of the National Parks of Boston, accepted the award on behalf of the National Park Service.
The park service is celebrating its centennial anniversary this year as The Trustees of Reservations is celebrating its 125th anniversary as the world’s oldest land preservation nonprofit and Massachusetts’ largest conservation and preservation organization.
The National Park Service and The Trustees of Reservations share history through three visionaries: Trustees founder Charles Eliot, his father Charles W. Eliot and early member George B. Dorr. Eliot Senior and Dorr both served as active members of The Trustees and were founders of the Hancock County Trustees of Public Reservations, which later helped in the establishment Acadia National Park.
The first national park created entirely by private donations of land, Acadia sits on Mount Desert Island, where Trustees’ founder Charles Eliot spent many summers and founded a conservation club with six of his Harvard College classmates.
Prompted by his son’s early death from meningitis, Charles W. Eliot was inspired to create a formal association in Maine, much like his son Charles did in establishing The Trustees in 1891. As vice president of the Hancock County Trustees for Public Reservations, Dorr, with the senior Eliot’s blessing, spearheaded efforts to have the group’s land designated as a federal site, with an eye to achieving national park status. They succeeded in 1919, when an act of Congress designated the area as the first national park east of the Mississippi River.