|Monday, December 9, 2013||Search Our Site|
News From 91.3 KUWS
50 years ago: JFK conservation tour pitches to preserve Apostle Islands
WRNC’s Danielle Kaeding has part one of our series on the 50th anniversary of JFK’s trip that included a stop in northern Wisconsin.
President Kennedy was known for his international policies in Berlin and the Cuban Missile Crisis, but just two months before his assassination, he made an 11 state conservation tour.
(NAT SOUND: Marching band music :05 fade under)
The Ashland High School band played just as it did a half century ago on September 24, 1963. About 200 people turned out to celebrate last month. Not the same size as 50 years ago when roughly 12,000 crowded into the city airport to catch a glimpse of President Kennedy. Perhaps no one was as close as five-year-old Diane Tetzner of Washburn.
“President Kennedy kissed me on the forehead. I remember on the ride home with my mom and my grandma telling them that President Kennedy kissed my forehead and I was never ever going to wash my forehead again.”
Her husband Greg didn’t have it so easy.
“I remember that we came to this farm right here because there was so much traffic on the road and my family walked through the field to see the doings over there.”
Stan BeBeau recalls lots of smiles and excitement. Then a young Ashland police officer, he remembers the crowd crushing against a snow fence, steel posts bending forward as they strained to see Kennedy.
“When he got off the helicopter and walked up to the podium the crowd just roared.”
(Nat sound of clapping, crowd Kennedy, fade up and under)
Kennedy spoke for just eight minutes after flying over Lake Superior.
“Lake Superior, the Apostle Islands, the Bad River area are all unique. They are worth improving for the benefit of sportsmen and tourists. In an era of congestion and pollution, manmade noise and dirt, Lake Superior has a beauty that millions can enjoy.” :20
Fifty years later, former Wisconsin Congressman Dave Obey told the crowd at what is now JFK Airport that the President’s visit brought national attention to the crown jewel of Lake Superior.
“I’m convinced that until Kennedy’s visit that there was little awareness in this area of the drive to set aside those islands in perpetuity for future generations.”
In 1963, the Apostle Islands were still seven years from being preserved as a National Lakeshore. Obey says that wouldn’t have happened if not for Kennedy and the persistence of Wisconsin U.S. Senator Gaylord Nelson. His daughter Tia Nelson agrees.
“That was a long difficult journey, day in and day out, month in and month out for seven years…They simply kept at it with a conviction that if they did so they would prevail because it was a good and right idea.”
So began the idea that conservation and economic growth can go hand in hand, says Bob Krumenaker. Krumenaker is the superintendent of the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore.
“Fifty years ago, President Kennedy was here. Fifty years from now, who knows what it’s going to be like. But, I think, we, the Park Service, will still be here. I think we will still have the opportunity to be stewards for this very cool place, improving the economy in northern Wisconsin and doing something that’s really important for the American people.”
(Danielle Kaeding is a reporter /manager at Northland College radio station WRNC in Ashland. For audio of this story: http://news.wpr.org/post/ashland-remembers-visit-president-kennedy-50-years-ago )
Previous KUWS Articles:
BusinessNorth - The business news source for Northeastern Minnesota and Northwestern Wisconsin.|
P.O. Box 16223, Duluth, MN 55816
Phone: 218-720-3060 Fax: 218-720-3068 firstname.lastname@example.org