Gifford Pinchot is credited with coining and popularizing the term "Conservation." Borrowed from the British Indian use of forest managers as conservators.
Gifford's father, James Pinchot, a patron of the Hudson River School, and proponent of modern scientific forestry, endowed the Yale Forest School in 1900, and also the Milford Experimental Forest - America's first experimental forest.
The Yale School of Forestry, which had its summer program in Milford from 1901 to 1926, provided the leadership for many of the forest conservationists in America, and in other parts of the world.
The Blooming Grove Park Association (now Hunting and Fishing Club) hired professional European foresters in the 1870s to develop a management plan for their land in Pike County.
Until his death in 1946, Gifford Pinchot made Grey Towers a virtual boarding house for Who's-Who in the American Conservation Movement. The philosophy of conservation was discussed and shaped here by Gifford, and by his wife Cornelia. She added a considerable human rights component to the philosophy of what conservation meant.
America's great conservation leaders, from Presidents to company heads, at some time or other came to Milford, often staying either at Grey Towers, or the Hotel Fauchère. John F. Kennedy, Theodore Roosevelt, Aldo Leopold, Bob Marshall, Supreme Court Justice Brandeis, and countless others spent time in Milford, and in one form or another shaped the view of society toward conservation.
Birthplace of the Conservation Movement
No visit to Milford is complete without a visit to Grey Towers, the home of the French Hugeuenot family, the Pinchots, who came here in the early 1800s, and whose descendants are still active in Milford. Gifford Pinchot was the first Chief of the Forestry Service under President Theodore Roosevelt.
While maintaining its historic magnificence and heritage, Grey Towers continues to lead the way, reducing its own carbon footprint and increasing its sustainable operations:
* Motion activated faucets, toilets, and urinals in their newest visitor center bath rooms, and low volume flush toilets in their older bathrooms spaces (water reduction).
* A few solar powered battery night lights were installed for outdoor security use. They hope to expand the use of solar panels (electricity savings).
* They recently exchanged two vehicles for more gas efficient (better MPH) vehicles. One of them is capable of using 85% ethanol when that is available in the area. (fuel savings).
* Prepared for the a replacement air conditioning system chiller unit with one that uses a non- ODS (ozone depleting substance - refrigerant that is not Freon) .
* Insulated all buildings be heated and cooled (reduced fuel costs).
* Increased the use of compact florescent lightbulbs. (electricity savings).
* Investigated and continue to pursue the proper disposal of them (hazardous material reduction).
* Reduced electric consumption of their outdoor landscape lighting by turning off half of the lighting, reserving the remainder for evening events only.
* Hazardous materials are contained to particular areas, recorded and tracked.
* Purchase of collection bins for "used but reusable" printer and copy paper.
* Create home-made "note-paper pads" from collected "used" printer or copy paper.
* Utilize locally-owned small business to provide for fresh conference snacks.
* Have installed native drought resistant grasses & plants on their landscape to reduce the need for irrigation.
Click below to watch a video on Grey Towers
1. TRAIL TO THE KNOB
High above the intersection of Milford’s main streets (Broad & Harford) is a visible overlook, known locally as The Knob, and part of the plateau escarpment formed by the Delaware River. To hike it, go down East Harford two blocks to Mott Street, then a short way to the Mott Street Bridge over the Sawkill. On the other side to the right, you will enter an historic walking area, known as The Glen. Hiking out of the back of The Glen toward the ridge, you will come to an old farm road as it rises to cross a knoll. At this spot you will see, off to the left, a trail angling up the mountain. As you ascend, immediately off to your right is a barely visible spur which can be discerned down the tree line. This is a strenuous hike, straight up the mountain. Fun, but a challenge! Proceeding up the trail, you will come to a woods road at the top of Milford Cemetery. Take it toward and up the side of the mountain (steep, but at least it’s a road). At the top, walk the short distance out to The Knob, and the splendid view of the town, the surrounding mountains and the river valley. (Note: This trail is also accessible from the Callahan House parking lot off Rt. 209. Leading away from the back of the House is a path above the Sawkill and along the earthen sluice, which once fed the ice house across the brook. It is a short way to the Mott Street Bridge and The Glen.)
2. CLIFF TRAIL
South of Milford, and connecting to The Knob and Raymondskill Falls, is a popular, well-worn trail above the escarpment cliffs over the Delaware, with several points of access to them. The views are stunning, of farmland, the river, Minisink Island (spiritual center of the Lenape Nation), New Jersey’s Kittatinny Mountains (the needle is High Point, the highest elevation in the state), and New York State in the far left distance. Cliff Trail is accessed 4 ways: a.From The Knob … Take right-hand trail coming away from the overlook; b.From Trail to The Knob … From woods road out of the cemetery, take left-hand trail leading toward the ridge and cliffs (about a mile to the top); c.From Cliff Park Inn Trails (#3); d.From Raymondskill Falls Trails (#4).
3. CLIFF PARK INN TRAILS
Originally dating from the 1820s, and adding golf in 1913, the Cliff Park Inn, off Milford Road, 2 miles from West Harford Street in Milford, is a central location for a variety of hiking experiences. Most of the year there is plenty of parking, but non-guests should check-in with the Inn office, especially during golf season. There are 3 trails, “green” and “yellow” off the golf course out to the cliffs and “blue” off the Inn’s back entrance road where it finishes crossing the 7th and 8thHole fairways. This trail winds around in several directions, past the lake at the end of the 6th Hole, over to Hackers Falls (#5) and around to Raymondskill Falls (#4). Allow a good half-day, or even a day, for this experience, as the hikes connect Milford borough, The Knob, the cliffs and two waterfalls.
4. RAYMONDSKILL FALLS TRAILS
Off Route 209, 2.5 miles south of Milford, you take a right up Raymondskill Road to two parking lots. The building on the site is the famous “$600,000 Outhouse”, for which the Park Service took considerable ribbing. But most important, Raymondskill is the highest falls in Pennsylvania in a beautiful glade. The trail leading to the top of the falls is especially dramatic as the water cuts through the escarpment. The trail eventually comes out on Raymondskill Road again. Across the road a trail continues up the creek to Hackers Falls (#5).
5. HACKERS FALLS TRAILS
A short way above the back entrance to Cliff Park Inn on the same side of Milford Road is the sign for Hackers Falls. A perpendicular road takes you to a small parking lot. Follow the trail up through the woods to an old road; continue on to a clearing where a trail drops down on the right. It is a short distance to the falls which sit in a glade. Facing them, over your left shoulder (maybe 30 yards back) is another woods road. These roads create something of a maze, but will lead you out to the cliffs, Tri-State Rock and Raymondskill Falls. (Note: There is also a continuation trail which follows the Raymondskill down to the falls; where it meets Raymondskill Road, look for a narrow trail reentering the woods on the other side.)
6. GREY TOWERS TRAILS
Just outside Milford off Route 6 on Old Owego Turnpike, Grey Towers National Historic Site (home of the US Forest Service and ancestral home of Gifford Pinchot, First Forester of the Nation and two time Governor of Pennsylvania) sits on high land cut by Sawkill Creek. Today, sadly, access to the historic trails beyond the Site, to the Falls and to the Yale Summer Camp, is closed due to a simmering dispute on property rights. Still, Grey Towers, beside tours of the chateau and grounds and its educational trails for kids, acts as a hike-through to trails in the Milford Experimental Forest (#7), Pike County Park (#8) and the Delaware State Forest (#9, 10, 11). Coming through the main gate off Owego, take the Pinchot Timeline to just below the chateau. Behind it on the upper side, a maintenance road leading off up the hill takes you to two of the kids’ trails. Past them, an old gate road takes you out to Route 6. Cross carefully over to Schocopee Road and follow to Pike County park.
7. PINCHOT TRAIL
Still under development as a formal trail, but easily covered over mostly public roads, the Pinchot Trail links Milford Beach (DEWA) on the Delaware (the northern terminus of the 32-mile long McDade Recreational Trail from Hialeah Beach and slated for completion in 2007) with Grey Towers via the Borough. Then, on the other side of GT (as explained in #6), it follows Schocopee Road to Pike County Park through the Milford Experimental Forest. On SR just above Meadow House (roughly 2 miles from Grey Towers), a trail on the left angles into the woods and is the lower half of the Loop Trail out of Pike County Park. In time, other spurs will be blazed into the Experimental Forest as part of a continuing Pinchot Trail.
This is another project of the Milford Enhancement Committee. The Pichot Greenway:
-Serves bikers and hikers coming off the 32-mile Joseph M. McDade Recreational Trail
-Links McDade Trail and Grey Towers National Historic Site
-Passes historic Metz Ice House Area and out to Delaware River
-Traverses four blocks of historic High Street with views of Milford Jail, Milford Court House, the new Catholic Church, and "Stick" house;
-Affords easy access to borough businesses
-Is a safe route for family bikers
-Honors famed Milford resident Gifford Pinchot, who lived at Grey Towers, is considered father of our nation's Conservation Movement and served twice as Pennsylvania Governor.
The Pichot Greenway (Red dotted line)
Milford Area Hiking Trails
Milford's bald eagles, nesting right in town!