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December 23, 2013

Patrick Goldsworthy: A Gentleman, Relentless in His Advocacy

Dr.-Patrick-GoldsworthyAt its final meeting of 2013, the Sierra Club's Board of Directors passed a resolution honoring lifelong conservationist and longtime Sierra Club volunteer leader Patrick Goldsworthy, who died this October at age 94.

In 1957, Goldsworthy helped establish the Sierra Club's first chapter in the Pacific Northwest (then called the Northwest Chapter) and its close ally, the North Cascades Conservation Council (NCCC).

"Dr. Goldsworthy was present at the creation of the Northwest's conservation movement, back in the days when horn-blasting logging trucks lined up outside wilderness hearings," writes Joel Connelly of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. "Goldsworthy was a gentleman, but relentless in his advocacy."

Born in Ireland in 1919, Patrick Donovan Goldsworthy earned his Ph.D. at the University of California, Berkeley, joining the Sierra Club while still a student there. After serving in the U.S. Army and Air Force, he moved to Seattle in 1952 to become a professor of biochemistry at the University of Washington.

No sooner had Goldsworthy settled in Seattle than he heard about illegal logging being allowed in Olympic National Park by the park superintendent. His response was to travel to the park, photograph the destruction, and help stop the logging.

In 1956 he was elected to the board of Olympic Park Associates, and the following year he helped found the Club's Northwest Chapter (now split into the Washington State and Oregon chapters) and the NCCC. The two organizations led the fight to establish the Glacier Peak Wilderness in 1960, pass the Wilderness Act in 1964, and establish the iconic North Cascades National Park in 1968.

"Pat always impressed me as one of the true gentlemen of Northwest Conservation," says author and fellow Olympic Park Associates activist Tim McNulty. But Goldsworthy was nothing if not tenacious in pursuit of his conservation goals.

In 1962, when Interior Secretary Stewart Udall came to Seattle for the 1962 World's Fair, local attorney/conservationist Irving Clark, Jr., invited Goldsworthy to a beach party honoring Udall on nearby Bainbridge Island. Joel Connelly relates the story in the Post-Intelligencer:

"Now Pat," Clark admonished Goldsworthy, "Steward Udall is a busy man." Clark gently suggested that Goldsworthy let Udall relax and hold off lobbying for a national park in the North Cascades.

No way! Armed with maps, Goldsworthy positioned himself just inside the door of the beach house. He waylaid Udall, took him into the study, and laid out the case for a park. Goldsworthy, lugging topographical maps, became a familiar figure in Washington congressional offices.

Six years post-Bainbridge, Goldsworthy stood with Udall at the White House while President Lyndon Johnson signed the North Cascades Act into law. He received a pen used by LBJ to sign the act."

Below, Goldsworthy with LBJ at the 1968 creation of North Cascades National Park.


In 1966 Goldsworthy received the Sierra Club's William E. Colby Award for outstanding leadership and service to the Sierra Club.

Patrick-Goldsworthy"Pat was perpetually genial, always self-effacing, ever eager to give credit to others," reads the Sierra Club  resolution honoring Goldsworthy. "He was a particular inspiration to each young person he encountered. Pat remained active in every major wilderness battle in Western Washington up until his death. As a result of his work and inspiration, Americans have a nearly unbroken block of wilderness and national park land stretching along the crest of the Cascades from the Canadian border to just south of Mt. Rainier National Park.

"Pat inspired generations of the Sierra Club's chapter and group leaders and staff members with his dedication, his persistence, and his confidence that our political system could and would match his vision if we were effective advocates. There was not a cynical bone in his body. Pat lived a full life, so we cannot so much mourn his passing as honor his legacy and take his example to renew our own commitment to the work he pioneered."

Other places Goldworthy was instrumental in protecting include the Wild Sky, Alpine Lakes, William O. Douglag, Norse Peak, Boulder River, Chelan-Sawtooth, Henry M. Jackson, Mt. Baker, and Noisy-Diobsud wilderness areas.

"If you want to see his legacy," says Joel Connelly, "lift your eyes to the hills."

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