This week marks the 50th anniversary of National Forest Products Week, a designation created to recognize the importance of forest products to America’s growth and economic development, as well as the forest industry’s contributions to improved forest management and forest utilization. This annual observance dates back to September 13, 1960, when Congress passed a joint resolution providing for the establishment of an annual National Forest Products Week to be held each year on the week beginning with the third Sunday in October. (It was perhaps without irony that it was Representative E. L. “Tic” Forrester from Georgia who presented the proclamation in the House for approval.) President Eisenhower signed the first proclamation two days later, calling on the people of the United States “to observe the week beginning October 16, 1960, as National Forest Products Weeks, with activities and ceremonies designed to focus attention on the importance of our forests and forest products to the Nation’s economy and welfare.” Upon signing the proclamation Ike was presented with a commemorative clock made from 10 different species of American wood (see photo below).
The state of Minnesota, which has a long history of promoting forest products and forest preservation, passed its own proclamation in 1960. Governor Orville Freeman, who signed the proclamation, went on to become secretary of agriculture under presidents Kennedy and Johnson, placing him in charge of the U.S. Forest Service for eight years.
The National Lumber Manufacturers Association and the Concatenated Order of the Hoo Hoo were big promoters of National Forest Products Week in its inaugural year. The observance continued to expand nationwide the following year when President John F. Kennedy issued a proclamation in 1961, and official observances continue today. On October 15, 2010, President Obama issued a proclamation for the 50th anniversary of the Week, which reads in part:
“Since the first communities and settlements in our Nation, forests and their products have played a vital role in our growth and economic development. Forests have also enhanced the splendor of our surroundings, served as wildlife habitats, provided places for recreational activities, and offered serene settings for contemplation. As we mark the 50th anniversary of National Forest Products Week, we recognize the enduring value of forests as sustainable, renewable, and bountiful resources, and we recommit to our stewardship and efforts to further their conservation.”
In honor of 50 years of National Forest Products Week, here are a few selections of forest products promotional images from the FHS Archives (click images to enlarge):