In Memory of Carolyn Holbrook

By Julie Anne McQuary

June 27, 1953 - August 5. 2016

J.B. Jackson said that he admired landscape architects for their naïve optimism. There was nothing naïve about Carolyn. She recently retired to Asheville, NC after a 41 year career of public service, most recently as the Recreation Special Uses Program Manager for the U.S.D.A. Forest Service.

Carolyn graduated in landscape architecture from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University and was a registered landscape architect in Washington. Her first position in the Pacific Northwest was on the Gifford Pinchot National Forest. From there she went to the Deschutes National Forest in Oregon and then she became the Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest Landscape Architect.  Carolyn’s legacies in Washington State can still be enjoyed when visiting spectacular Heather Meadows and Artist Point on Mt. Baker, or stopping by the historic Glacier Public Service Center or when not noticing timber cuts that she designed to be natural appearing in our mountain landscapes. Her professional outreach included leading Visual Management System workshops for Washington State University landscape architecture students.

Carolyn grasped the importance of national land policies and moved from design to land management. She was one of the negotiators for the Forest Service in the relicensing of the hydroelectric dams on the Skagit River. The negotiated mitigation funded recreation facilities along the Skagit River Wild and Scenic River and the North Cascades Scenic Byway.

From Washington State, Carolyn moved to the Forest Service Southwest Regional Office in Albuquerque and then to the National Office in Washington D.C.  She prepared policy and practice directives based on federal legislation and regulations.  Her work included ski area water rights, regulation of commercial special uses, commercial advertising in National Forests and a variety of recreation fees and leases. Although the landscape architecture profession lost a talented designer when Carolyn moved to land policies, the nation benefited.

When people question the value of the landscape architecture profession, we can look to Carolyn’s accomplishments and the careers of other public landscape architects to document their vital roles in protecting and preserving our public lands.

J.B. Jackson also wrote, "I want Americans to explore the landscape for its own sake to develop an intelligent affection for the country as it is and a vision disciplined enough to distinguish what is wrong and should be changed from what is valuable and worthy of protection." Our National Forests are valuable and worthy of protection and Carolyn spent her career assuring they are now and will be in the future. 

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