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Earth First! is one of the best-known radical environmentalist groups in the United States, and is also well known for tree-spiking and tree-sitting tactics used in its campaign to save old-growth forests in the Pacific Northwest.

In 1980, David Foreman, an environmental lobbyist for the Wilderness Society, became frustrated with the ineffectiveness of “reform environmentalism” after a failed attempt to save 80 million acres of undeveloped land in U.S. national parks. That April, he and several colleagues, including activist Mike Roselle, set out for the Mexican desert and formed Earth First!, using Edward Abbey's 1975 novel, The Monkey Wrench Gang, as an organizational and action blueprint. The novel tells of radical Southwestern environmentalists who burned billboards, sabotaged bulldozers, and planned to blow up dams.

Earth First! announced its presence on the environmental scene in 1981, when members stood atop the Glen Canyon Dam and unfurled ...

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