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McCollum Statement for the Record Honoring the Public Service Career of Harry W. Camp, Jr.

March 22, 2018
Statements For the Record

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to honor Mr. Harry W. Camp, Jr., a remarkable individual who served a long and distinguished career with the U.S. Forest Service. Now retired at 107 years old, Mr. Camp exemplifies the tremendous expertise, talent and dedication of the federal employees who serve our nation, and the warmth and wit that we'd all welcome in a friend or neighbor.

Serving in a career spanning from 1933 to 1974, Mr. Camp helped to oversee our national forests at a time of great change for our nation and our public lands. Recreational visits to national forests exploded from roughly 10 million in 1933 to 175 million in 1974 as more families could afford automobiles and the interstate highway system made traveling across the country easier. He also oversaw a period of dramatic advances in technology, including satellites and aerial photography to assist forestry management.

 Mr. Camp's passion for the outdoors and tireless work ethic were demonstrated at a young age. As a teenager, his summers were spent in the mountains of Washington on the Yakima Indian Reservation performing grueling and dangerous work on fire crews. After graduating from the University of California, Berkeley with a degree in forestry, he officially went to work for the U.S. Forest Service. Over the years, he worked his way up the ranks in a variety of positions across the country from ranger to research and management.

 In the 1950s, the U.S. Forest Service needed greater insight about how to best manage, maintain and improve the public lands that were undergoing strain from increasing usage for recreation. In 1959, Mr. Camp undertook a major role in this effort when he was named the first Branch Chief of Recreation Research in Washington, D.C.

After 42 years with the U.S. Forest Service, Harry Camp retired in 1974 as regional director of the Pacific Southwest Forest and Range Experiment Station in Berkeley, California, where he oversaw the work of more than 100 scientists. Researchers there are dedicated to improving firefighting techniques, battling forest insects and diseases, increasing timber production and water yield in California, and meeting the needs of the millions of recreational visitors to our national forests.

Outside of his work in the U.S. Forest Service, Mr. Camp also dedicated considerable time and effort to volunteer service, including the Society of American Foresters. He received the prestigious John A. Beale Memorial Award for outstanding efforts in promoting forestry.

Additionally, he served as program officer at the Fifth World Forestry Congress in 1960. Later, he worked as a member of the landmark Earth Resources Presidential Committee. I am happy to report that Mr. Camp and his wife, Myrna, now call the great state of Minnesota home. It is fitting that they have chosen to retire in a state where we are so proud of our public lands and committed to protecting our beautiful forests, lakes and rivers. 

Mr. Speaker, please join me in recognizing the extraordinary life of Harry W. Camp, Jr. and his exemplary service on behalf of the U.S. Forest Service to ensure the sustainability of our national forests and public lands for today and future generations.