The conclusion and significance of this story is quite simple, really. First, its to point out the significance of a small mining operation in Santa Clarita Valley’s backyard referred to as Tick Canyon and a mineral discovered there named borax. Without it’s discovery and the wealth it generated, we may have never heard of Stephen T. Mather or experienced the National Park Service as we know it today.
Secondly, there’s a moral to the story of the “odd couple.” Wealth and resources are simply tools we are entrusted with while here on earth. If we use them for our own selfish pursuits of personal satisfaction, it is easy to become blinded and distracted from the greater good of serving others. Thorkildsen was a man with money and no vision for others. He died broke and alone. Mather was a man of great vision and selfless in his pursuit to benefit and serve generations to come. His name is memorialized on National Park Service plaques across the country and schools are named after him. And when we see the awe and wonder on a child’s face while, for the first time, gazing upon a Giant Redwood Tree, we can give some credit to Stephen Tyng Mather for that too.