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Iron Man

Pierce Beij on a recent 10 mile hikeWODC member Pierce Beij is a man of many talents, as described in this recent article by the Wilderness Society.

Iron Man in the Granite State

The Wilderness Society Newsletter, Summer 2002

Wilderness Society member Pierce Beij of Holderness, NH, is a man of many talents.  If you need help clearing a trail, he will turn out on a moment's notice.  If you need someone to review a U.S. Forest Service plan, he'll read through it carefully and then attend a meeting to quiz the people who wrote it.  And if you're looking for a good tomato variety that will bear fruit earlier than any other, Beij can send you the seed.

"He is an inspiration for all of us," says Fred Lavigne of Friends of the Sandwich Range, who teams up with Beij (pronounced BAY) on projects involving the White Mountain National Forest.  "He's always ready to go."

Beij insists that Lavigne, a respected conservation leader, is the inspirational one.  But Beij, an 82-year-old retired farmer, can still hike 20 miles during the day and then make a Forest Service planner squirm at an evening hearing.  "The Forest Service has a bogus philosophy," he says.  "They seem to think that a forest has to be cur down to be healthy.  If you tell them they ought to leave it alone, they ask: "Who's going to take care of it?"

Beij vacationed in New Hampshire as a young child and moved there after World War II, using the GI Bill to get a master's degree in horticulture.  He remembers reading copies of Wilderness magazine passed on by his godmother.  "Pierce is my hero," says Julie Wormser, who directs our work in the Northeast and grows Beij's "Cheerio cherry" tomatoes.  "Like his tomatoes, he's always the first one out.  If every national forest had a few more activists like Pierce, I could retire and spend all my time growing vegetables."

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