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The provenance of the collection is unknown.


The collection is open for research.


The Citizens Committee on Natural Resources Records is the physical property of the Denver Public Library.


All requests for permission to publish, reproduce, or quote from material in the collection should be discussed with the appropriate librarian or archivist. Permission for publication may be given on behalf of the Denver Public Library as the owner of the physical item. It is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which also must be obtained by the customer. The Library does not assume any responsibility for infringement of copyright or publication rights of the manuscript held by the writer, heirs, donors, or executors. Reproduction restrictions are decided on a case-by-case basis.


[Identification of item], Citizens Committee on Natural Resources Records, CONS13, Conservation Collection, The Denver Public Library.


Number of boxes: 1

Number of oversize: 1 OVFF




Ann Hunter

July 2007


Ellen Zazzarino


The Citizens Committee on Natural Resources was a small organization whose members were leading conservationists from a variety of environmental groups. The organization was created in response to a 1954 U.S. Supreme Court ruling that limited the ability of non-profit groups to lobby on behalf of environmental legislation without jeopardizing their tax-exempt status. Based on the listings in the National Wildlife Federation's annual Conservation Directory, the Citizens Committee appears to have ceased functioning in approximately 1978. The objectives stated in its by-laws were to "advance conservation, restoration and sound management of natural resources in the public interest" by promoting legislation, educating the public, and assisting other environmental groups in their efforts.

Incorporated in the District of Columbia with a small office in Washington, D.C., the Citizen's Committee was not tax-exempt. Thus it could lobby for environmental causes without jeopardizing the tax-exempt status of other groups. In this role it worked for the passage of the Wilderness Act in 1964 and lobbied for and against federal legislation affecting the environment. Key members of the Citizen's Committee included Ira N. Gabrielson, Howard C. Zahniser, Spencer M. Smith, Jr., Dewey Anderson, and Daniel A. Poole. Many of these men were also prominent in other conservation organizations such as the Wildlife Management Institute, the Wilderness Society, and the Outdoor Writers Association of America.


The collection includes records of the Citizens Committee on Natural Resources, a few minutes and reports from the Wilderness Society, and a summary of minutes from a meeting to organize a program to improve hunter-landowner relationships called "Operation Respect." The materials in the collection include by-laws, meeting minutes, reports, and correspondence with government officials and others. It also contains testimony to Congress by environmentalists including Spencer M. Smith, Jr. as Secretary of the Citizen's Committee, public presentations, press releases, mailings, and brochures. The collection spans the period from 1955-1976 with some undated material.


The Western History/Genealogy Department has additional collections with material on the Citizens Committee on Natural Resources including:

The Wilderness Society Records

CONS130; Series 2

The Wilderness Society Records

CONS130; Series 3

The Wilderness Society Records

CONS130; Series 7

Ira N. Gabrielson, Wildlife Management Institute Papers

CONS37; Series 1

Arthur H. Carhart Papers

CONS88; Series 1

SERIES 1 PAPERS 1955-1974 BOX 1 :

The series consists mainly of the papers of the Citizens Committee on Natural Resources. It also includes a few items from the Wilderness Society and minutes from a meeting about "Operation Respect", a group to promote better relations between hunters and landowners.

SERIES 2 OVERSIZE 1959-1963 OVFF 1 :

Oversize items comprise a brochure about Dinosaur National Monument and printer's proofs of what appear to be mailings.



  • Gabrielson, Ira Noel, 1889-
  • Zahniser, Howard.
  • Smith, Spencer M.
  • Citizens Committee on Natural Resources -- Archives.
  • United States. Wilderness Act.
  • Conservationists -- United States -- Political activity.
  • Conservation of natural resources -- United States.