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The Marshall Family of NY - their history and legacy. Remembering Louis - Robert "Bob" and George Marshall.: Robert "Bob" Marshall

This LibGuide was created by Jane Verostek, Associate Librarian at the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry. This guide reviews the Marshall family highlighting Robert "Bob" Marshall - his life, publications & environmental causes.

Highlights of Bob Marshall's environmental work and invovement with SUNY ESF.

Highlights of Bob Marshall's environmental work and involvement with SUNY ESF.


  • In 1918 Marshall had climbed his first Adirondack Peak. This was Whiteface Mountain. He climbed with his brother George and family friend Herb Clark who was also a Saranac Lake guide.


  • In 1922 he authored the book - The High Peaks of the Adirondacks.


  • By 1924 Bob, George and Herb Clark became the first three people to have climbed all 46 of the Adirondack High Peaks and thus started the group called the Adirondack 46rs or 46ers.
  • From 1920 to 1924 Bob Marshall attended SUNY ESF with a major in forestry.


  • After graduating from SUNY ESF in 1924 Bob Marshall continued his forestry education with a Masters in Forestry from Harvard University.


  • Bob completed a PhD in 1930 from John Hopkins University. Marshall's doctoral dissertation is called: An Experimental Study of the Water Relations of Seedling Conifers with Special Reference to Wilting.


  • In 1933 Robert - Bob Marshall wrote The People’s Forests.


  • Based on his time in Wiseman, Alaska Marshall subsequently wrote what was to become his best selling book in 1933 called Artic Village. This is considered a classic and is continually being re-printed. It is a lengthy book at 428 pages. The SUNY ESF archives has the original manuscript for this book and it is filled with Marshalls edit’s and hand written notations.


  • In 1935 Bob along with other outstanding environmentalists such as Aldo Leopold founded the Wilderness Society which is still a very active organization.


  • Professionally Bob worked for the U.S. Forest Service. He traveled extensively and lived considerable amounts of time in Montana and Alaska.


Bob passed away in 1939 at the age of 38. His legacy has lived on - - -

Robert "Bob" Marshall's Legacy.

Robert "Bob" Marshall's Legacy.


  • In 1939 - the U.S. Congress created the Bob Marshall Wilderness area in Montana. Commonly known as “The Bob”. This is an area of about 1.5 million acres of land never to be developed – to forever be kept roadless and undeveloped. The land is managed by the U.S. Forest Service. This is the third largest wilderness area in the United States.
  • Here is a link from the U.S. Forest Service on "The Bob"


  • Bob's groundbreaking work in the Arctic eventually led to the formal creation of the Gates of the Arctic National Park. From the National Parks website –

American exploration of the Brooks Range came in the 1880s, when “military explorers, gold prospectors, government scientists helped to fill in what had been a large blank space on American maps.” One of these people, wilderness advocate Robert “Bob” Marshall became an early and fervent supporter or setting aside a large part of the central Brooks Range as a National Park. Gates of the Arctic was established as a national park in 1980.

Important Dates in Gates of the Arctic National Park History:

  • 1929 – Famous American forester Robert “Bob” Marshall coins the name “Gates of the Arctic” upon discovering a pass between two mountains on the North Fork of the Koyukuk River.

  • 1974 – The 414-mile Dalton Highway to the Alaskan interior opens. It comes within five miles of the park’s eastern boundary, making it the only road near the park.

  • 1978 – Gates of the Arctic National Monument established.

  • 1980 – Gates of the Arctic National Park established.


  • Bob was inducted into the National Wildlife Federation Conservation Hall of Fame in 1986.
  • From the National Wildlife Federation website

Born into a wealthy family, Robert Marshall chose to eschew the comfortable lifestyle in favor of throwing himself, both physically and emotionally, into America's wild lands. Despite a weak heart, Marshall set a rugged pace on frequent hikes of 50 miles or more a day through untamed wilderness. His physical determination was matched by a will of steel: When opponents argued for roads through wilderness to provide easy access for millions of people, Marshall took a firm stand in favor of keeping the land pristine. He is credited with almost single-handedly getting 5.4 million acres added to the federal wilderness system.”


The History of the Bob Marshall Wilderness Foundation -

The spark for a Bob Marshall Wilderness Foundation came from Mike Dailey, a Montana Businessman, who has rafted, fished, and hiked the Bob Marshall Wilderness Complex (BMWC) since the ‘70s. After many years of recreating in the “Bob”, Mike became concerned about the deteriorating condition of its trails and campsites and the lack of federal funding to do anything about it. The Foundation was granted tax-exempt status and in 1996 and began its first summer of volunteer projects in 1997. That year the Foundation’s goal was to provide 1000 volunteer service days but ended the summer logging 2,600 days of service (a service day is a day of work by one volunteer). The Foundation has repeated this effort each summer for over 15 years and BMWF volunteers have cleared and maintained over 4,476 miles of trail.”