Monday, September 28, 2015


JFK+50:  Volume 5, No. 1727


Las Vegas, Nevada (JFK+50) Fifty-two years ago today, September 28, 1963, President John F. Kennedy concluded a five day conservation tour of the Western United States here in Las Vegas.

The President spoke at the Convention Center where he said...

"The purpose of (this) trip (is) to see how essential it is that we conserve our natural resources and that we make the best use of them.  There is no better education for a President...or a citizen than to fly over the West and see where it is green...and see where it is arid...and (know) that water is the key of growth.

We devour...the resources of this country and therefore we have to pay attention to two basic resources.  One is our children, to make sure they are the best educated citizens in the world...and the second is to use what nature has given us and wherever we can to improve it."

JFK pointed out that 92% of the Atlantic and Pacific coasts were held by a comparatively few and so he recommended that we "take these areas...which offer the maximum for recreation for all of our people...before it is too late."

The President concluded is speech by stating the following major conclusions he had reached after his conservation trip...

1. We mount a new campaign to conserve our natural environnment.

2. We educate our children.

3. We use every chance we have to promote the peaceful relations between countries so that we can enjoy what God has given us.

Earlier in the day, the President spoke at the dedication of the Whiskeytown Dam and Reservoir* where he said...

"I was reminded, when I read my itinerary of a poem by Stephen Vincent Benet called 'American Names,' and he started it off...

'I have fallen in love with American names,
 The sharp names that never get fat
 The snakeskin-titles of mining claims,
 The plumed war bonnet of Medicine Hat,
 Tucson and Deadwood and Lost Mule Flat.'"

JFK suggested Whiskeytown could well have been added to that roster.

President Kennedy said...

"As a general rule, every time we bet on the future of this country we win.  Every time we set aside a seashore for the use of future generations, every time we build these great projects, we develop the water resources, we set aside recreational areas, we can be sure they are going to be used.

 I am proud to be associated with those who are contributing to this country, who are making it better, not merely right now...but who are looking to the long future of those who come after us."

*Whiskeytown Dam is located on Clear Creek, a tributary of the Sacramento River in northern California.  It was one of the 1st units built of the Trinity River Division of a Federal project intended to provide irrigation water to the Central Valley.  The Whiskeytown Dam and Lake are named after a Gold Rush camp which was submerged in 1963 with the filling of the new reservoir.

Whiskeytown Dam and Reservoir
National Bureau of Reclamation Photo