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Newton B. Drury

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Newton B. Drury (1889–1978) was the fourth director of the American National Park Service and the executive director of the Save-the-Redwoods League.

Early life and career[]

Newton was born in 1889 in San Francisco, California. He attended the University of California, Berkeley and graduated in 1912. He served in the U.S. Army Balloon Corps in WWI. The destruction that he witnessed motivated him strongly towards conservation.[1]

In 1919, he and his brother Aubrey formed the Drury Brothers Company, an advertising and public relations agency. That same year, the organizers of the Save-the-Redwoods League, many of whom knew Drury from the university, asked Drury Brothers to manage the League. Newton Drury became executive secretary in charge of publicity and fund raising, a position he held for twenty years. Drury and the league obtained a six-million dollar bond measure passed to buy California redwood groves.

National Park Service[]

Drury declined appointment as NPS Director in 1933, but accepted the job in 1940. He was the first director without prior national park responsibilities, but came with strong conservationist credentials, having served as executive secretary of the Save-the-Redwoods League in California. During World War II he successfully resisted most demands for consumptive uses of park resources. Less eager than his predecessors to expand the park system, he opposed NPS involvement with areas he judged not to meet national park standards. Differences with Secretary of the Interior Oscar L. Chapman over Chapman's support for dams in Dinosaur National Monument contributed to Drury's resignation in 1951.

He received a Pugsley Medal twice, a silver medal in 1940 and a gold medal in 1950. He was board chairman of the Save-the-Redwoods League at his death.[2]

Death and legacy[]

Drury died in December 1978.

The Newton B. Drury Scenic Parkway is the 9-mile (14 km) long two lane road through Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park in Humboldt County, California, which was completed in 1993. The Parkway was named to honor Mr. Drury's efforts in the creation of Redwood National and State Parks. As a result of CalTrans move of US Route 101 outside the eastern edge of the park, Old Growth Redwoods within the park will not ever be removed to widen the road. This road, though shorter, is similar in quality to the Avenue of the Giants in Southern Humboldt County.


  1. "Newton Drury". Pugsley Award website. Retrieved on June 14, 2010.
  2. "National Park Service History: Directors of National Park Service". NPS. Retireved on June 14, 2010.
Preceded by
Arno B. Cammerer
Director of the National Park Service
Succeeded by
Arthur E. Demaray