Take a “Beach Hike” with Justice Douglas and NCCC’s Polly Dyer

NCCC’s Polly Dyer was also active in saving the Pacific coastal strip of Olympic National Park. Here, an old documentary shows a 3-day protest backpacking trip on the beach that she organized with Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas in 1958, to get media attention to stop a proposed coastal highway along the last segment of wild US Pacific coast. The story of the event is documented at Historylink.org

It might be seen as the start of the entire Pacific Northwest environmental movement, since our co-founder Patrick Goldsworthy took his first outing after moving to Seattle to the Olympic Coast, before he discovered the North Cascades, and he may have been drawn there by news of this event.

The 16mm film was found in Patrick’s “Northwest Conservation Film Library” after his passing, along with a number of other films that formed his “NW Conservation Film Library.” The producer, Louis R. Huber, was an NCCC board member in the 1960s, and went on to produce other films, mostly about Alaska. The Louis Huber collection is housed at the Oregon Historical Society. 

The William O. Douglas Film Project paid for a digital transfer from the original footage, then the Oregon Historical Society subsequently restored the film with a grant from the National Film Preservation Foundation. Other national environmental pioneers who appear in the film are Howard Zahniser, Harvey Broome, and Olaus and Margaret “Mardie” Murie. Douglas reads from his My Wilderness books at about 6:25, 14:35 and 16:00.

“…can’t we have 1% of the woods and the beaches for those who love wildness?

A study guide to Douglas’ passion for wilderness has been produced by the William O. Douglas Film Project: Public Lands, Public Ownership