Ansel Adams: "It is horrifying that we have to fight our own government..."


The quote is: "It is horrifying that we have to fight our own government to save the environment." The wikiquote page says it is attributed in a book called Environment Management (2005) by Ipsetta(sic) Satpathy. The dubious attribution appeared on the wikiquote article about a year ago and the fact that they misspelled the author's name makes me suspicious. The book in question appears to be a textbook from India and I cannot find an online copy so I could read page 29 where the supposed quote appears. The Sierra Club posted the quote on their Facebook page yesterday. Any input is welcome here. Thanks!

Update: The quote is from a Playboy interview. May 1983 (
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Mick West

Staff member

Steve Funk

Active Member
The statement by Ansel Adams would be expected, given that the policy of the Forest Service in the 1980's was to harvest most of the old growth unless otherwise protected or in areas where logging would cause demonstrable damage to soil or water quality. But this has no relationship to conspiracy theories. The policy was openly developed, and was consistent with existing laws, including the Multiple Use Sustained Yield Act, and the Resource Planning Act. However, courts eventually found that the policy was in conflict with another law, the endangered species act.


Senior Member
A) I never saw this quote in his lifetime (d. 1984) nor have I ever seen it on any official sites…so I'm quite dubious.

B) The sentiment, however, is not hard to ascribe to him…he worked long and hard to get numerous administrations to
treat the environment better, culminating in his taking Ronald "…a tree is a tree, how many more do you need to look at?" Reagan aside to try
to convince him. In short though, Adams would probably complain less today (on this topic) than any time in the last 100 years.


Senior Member
quote from a Playboy interview. May 1983 (
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