John Blaustein

Environmentalist Extraordinaire Recalled in Magazine Eulogy

By Office Admin December 4, 2014

Outdoor Education News
(© John Blaustein Photography - http://www.johnblaustein.com)

(©2004 John Blaustein Photography http://www.johnblaustein.com)

For those of us who treasure the wilderness and want to preserve every pristine particle in it, the death late last month of Martin Litton was a bit jolting. Sure, he was 97 years old and certainly lived what eulogies often refer to as “a full life.”

And by that, we’re talking about a controversial outdoorsman who filled that life with stints as a LA Times reporter, WWII glider pilot, nature photographer, river runner, curmudgeonly conservationist and devout environmentalist.

By comparison, Martin Litton makes the equally grey-bearded “Most Interesting Man in the World” beer commercial character look like an Iowa accountant.

National Geographic contributor Kenneth Brower recently wrote a glowing description of Litton, an environmental pioneer who, as a sideline, founded his own dory fleet business, running rivers in boats of his own design. (Fun fact: Litton holds the record as the oldest man to row the Grand Canyon, which he did at the age of 87.)

Brower’s must-read piece for National Geographic waxes poetic on the accomplishments of this amazing man. Below are a few highlights:

  • It was Litton who first understood the damage that a Marble Canyon Dam would inflict on Grand Canyon National Park.
  • It was Litton who uncovered U.S. Forest Service mismanagement of the giant sequoias of California.


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