Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller NHP and Billings Farm and Museum

This park wasn’t even on our radar screen two weeks ago, but new friends Stan & Pam told us they had a National Park near their home, and since we were going to be in the neighborhood we decided to check it out.  Just outside of Woodstock, Vermont, this park epitomizes what the National Park system is all about – land stewardship and responsibility to future generations for land conservation.

The M-B-R home that we toured had a succession of notable owners dedicated to the environmental movement.  George Perkins Marsh (1801-1882) was an early advocate of conservation.  He saw first-hand the terrible deforestation that had stripped Vermont mountains bald and left severe erosion and flooding behind.  He penned his observations in what was one of the founding texts of the environmental movement, Man and Nature (1864), which carefully analyzes the human impact on nature, and eloquently pleads for responsible land stewardship.

Next came Fredrick Billings (1823-1890), a conservationist and pioneer in reforestation and scientific farm management.  He made his fortune as an attorney in San Francisco during the California Gold Rush, and upon returning to his native Vermont, found barren hills and silted rivers.  Aiming to return his hillsides to ‘glow with glorious autumn foliage’ once more, he developed one of the nation’s first programs of scientific forest management.  He also set out to build a farm that would serve future generations as a model of wise stewardship.  What is now known as the Billings Farm and Museum is the result of Billings, his wife and daughters, and his great-grand-daughter (Mary French)’s efforts.  Today it operates in partnership with the adjacent M-B-R National Historical Park and has two parts:  the working farm which featuring Jersey cows, chickens, sheep, horses (including two big Belgian Draft horses for hay and sleigh rides); and a fabulous museum that depicts Vermont agricultural and rural life.

Hover your cursor over the photo and click on the arrows to scroll through some photos of M-B-R NHP and the Billings Farm and Museum:

Beautiful Billings Farm
Billings Farm and Museum

In 1934, two families with a strong commitment to conservation were brought together by the marriage of Laurance S. Rockefeller and Mary French; grand-daughter of Frederick Billings.  The Rockefeller family had already generously created or enhanced more than 20 national parks, and Laurance inherited his family’s love for the land.  He would become a trusted adviser to five U.S. presidents and help to make outdoor recreation and conservation an essential part of the national agenda.  Upon their deaths, Laurance and Mary Rockefeller established the Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historical Park as a gift to the American people.

Hover your cursor over the photo and click on the arrows to scroll through some photos of M-B-R NHP and the Billings Farm and Museum:

Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller NHP