- Associated Press - Tuesday, January 21, 2014

BENTON, N.H. (AP) - A century after the sale of land that ultimately became the first piece of the White Mountain National Forest, outdoor recreation advocates are asking for a historical marker to commemorate the sale.

In January 1914, lumber baron E. Bertram Pike sold more than 7,000 acres in Benton, on the western fringe of the White Mountains. Four years later, President Woodrow Wilson formally established the White Mountain National Forest after Congress approved the Weeks Act. Since then, the forest has grown to nearly 800,000 acres and attracts several million visitors annually.

“It’s the crown jewel of New Hampshire,” said retired U.S. Forest Service official Dave Govatski. “People from all over the world come here for recreation and to view the scenery, and it’s an economic engine for the state, too.”

A petition drive was started recently at the Museum of the White Mountains at Plymouth State University asking the state to approve a marker to be placed on Route 25 in Benton, next to the Oliverian Brook reservoir.

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