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The Greatest Good

The Greatest Good

The Greatest Good takes the audience on a journey into the heart of a story as compelling as it is uniquely American - a story of courage and tragedy, enormous progress and bitter conflict. The Forest Service centennial film frames the epic story of the struggle to manage a nation's resources amid global change.

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From the timbered shores of the Pacific Northwest to the marble halls of Washington, DC, the choices about how we use our natural heritage are filled with controversy. Whether it is the protection of endangered species or meeting the needs of a growing public, the fate of public lands is constantly challenged. Visionary foresters Gifford Pinchot and Aldo Leopold shaped the debate for a hundred years. Their journey from the "wise use" of resources to the idea of a "land ethic" has defined the evolution of the Forest Service. In a breathtaking high-definition documentary, The Greatest Good takes the audience on a journey as compelling as it is uniquely American.

Part I - The Fight for Conservation (1864-1910)
In an era of unchecked exploitation, a new breed of leaders emerges with radical ideas about using the nation's resources for the benefit of all.
Part II - Building the System (1911-1940)
The Forest Service invents the tools and policies to manage public lands. Firefighting and outdoor recreation emerge as important functions of the agency.
Part III - Boom! (1941-1970)
World War II transforms the nation. The Forest Service shifts into full production to meet social needs.
Part IV - The Greatest Good? (1971-2005)
An outspoken public and a new understanding of ecosystems shape a vision for America's public land that continues to evolve.

The story is told from a wide variety of perspectives, including leading historians as well as many of the participants, inside and outside the Forest Service.

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Date Published: 2008-02-14
By: USDA Forest Service
Duration: 124:00

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