Who were the first environmentalists? Native Americans? Maybe but most likely not. Their use of the horse to hunt on the Great Plains rules them out. What about the John Muir crowd? They loved nature. Eh, he just wrote awesome books hyping the Sierra Nevada and Yosemite. As it turns out, American hunters and fishers often get credit as being the first true conservationists. When they realized that the big game populations were dwindling, hunters started thinking of ways to bring the populations back up and created refuges. Fishers imposed limits and invented catch-and-release. But how did national parks and forests come into being? Well, the wealthy loved their nature and formed clubs around the nature sports. The wealthy also were influential and so the club members lobbied each other on passing refuge and national park laws, etc. The Boone and Crockett club was one of the first and biggest nature clubs focused on conservation.
See, hunters and fishers love the environment… That’s what I learned in Environmental Science class.