Jack Elrod, ‘Mark Trail’ artist, dead at 91

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Jack Elrod, writer of the “Mark Trail” comic strip, died recently at the age of 91.

The Mark Trail comic strip, created by artist and naturalist Ed Dodd, had an environmental before it was as common as it is today. Every Sunday, readers turned to the comic to pick up weather safety tips, learn about the environment, and discover how to help protect endangered species.

The strip’s mission has always been that of preserving the American wilderness, water and wildlife for future generations. At its height, Mark Trail was syndicated by King Features with a reach of 175 newspapers and a readership of over 23 million people.
Elrod drew the strip from 1978 until his retirement in March 2014. He was succeeded by his assistant, James Allen.

Elrod was honored in 1988 by President Reagan for his efforts to develop more pride in America. In addition to Sunday pages in which Mark Trail urges everyone to reduce carelessness and abusive activity such as littering, vandalism and theft, and wildlife poaching, Elrod also produced a variety of materials for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to help teach schoolchildren respect for the environment.

Elrod used his work to educate the public about staying safe during severe weather. Through the artistry of the Mark Trail strip, Elrod explained complicated weather phenomenon in terms that the general public could understand, according to the NOAA website.

Mark Trail is now the official spokescharacter for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, making him the voice of the National Weather Service and NOAA Weather Radio.

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