Forests and Lakes – For People – Forever ®

A Trail to Tomorrow

September 24, 2014

“These ideas, are set forth with hope that this, Trail To Tomorrow, will lead to such things as towering, well-managed forests, an abundant supply of clean, pure water, a continuing supply of fish and game…

The choice is ours; whatever lies at the end of the trail will be the collective effort of each of us as individuals.”

These visionary words come from John R. Schaefer, in an essay entitled “Trail to Tomorrow,” which was written for Yale Conservation Studies, Volume 6, in 1957. John was a Stanford University graduate, a science editor for Houghton Mifflin Publishing, and Ford Foundation scholar.  He was also the husband of Kathryn Ernst Schaefer Loup, and father to Laura Schaefer Leisey and Stephen Schaefer.

The publication was discovered in 2006 by Laura Leisey as she sorted through her father’s papers.  Laura was struck by the synchronicity of her father’s words in 1957 and her brother’s work with the Downeast Lakes Land Trust.  Neither Steve nor Laura had seen this document before that 2006 find.

Having only gotten to Grand Lake Stream once, John died in 1967 at the age of 43.  Steve only had his father in his life until he was 15 years old.  In that short time, John had made his mark on his children and, “The apple didn’t fall far from the tree.”

The Downeast Lakes Land Trust plans to honor John Schaefer and Kathryn Schaefer Loup, by dedicating a “Trail to Tomorrow.” This trail will become a teaching trail for schoolchildren and visitors in our area as a tribute to John R. Schaefer and the work he himself was unable to complete.

Local children building the Downeast Lakes Land Trust's 4th of July Parade Float which honored John R. Schaefer's  prophetic vision.

Local children building the Downeast Lakes Land Trust’s 4th of July Parade Float which honored John R. Schaefer’s prophetic vision.