Aldo Leopold Legacy Center

18. CL Estella planting pines
19. Reserve pines in 2005

A Love of Pines

“Acts of creation are ordinarily reserved for gods and poets, but humbler folks may circumvent this restriction if they know how. To plant a pine, for example, one need be neither god nor poet; only own a shovel. By virture of this curious loophole in the rules, any clodhopper may say: Let there be a tree–and there will be one.”
– Pines above the Snow

The Leopold family planted some 40,000 pine trees in the years they spent at the Shack. They persevered through successive droughts that killed the majority of seedlings in the late 1930s, and their work was rewarded.

Today, the thousands of trees they planted form an ethereal and beautiful forest surrounding the Shack. While pines would not have been the dominant forest type in the pre-settlement landscape, Leopold made an aesthetic and practical decision to plant pine trees over any other species. Asking himself why he had this “plant bias,” Leopold could only come up with one definite answer:

“I love all trees, but I am in love with pines.”