Arthur Cuming Ringland, 99, a retired government conservationist who also worked with refugee programs and was a principal founder of CARE, died of respiratory failure Oct. 12 at Suburban Hospital in Bethesda.

Mr. Ringland joined the U.S. Forest Service in 1900 and helped establish the national park and national forest systems. After World War I service as a captain in the Army in France and Belgium, he went to work for the American Relief Administration under Herbert Hoover. He headed the agency's mission to Czechoslovakia.

When he returned to the Forest Service, Mr. Ringland held a number of positions concerning national parks and forests, outdoor recreation, flood control and the Civilian Conservation Corps.

In World War II, he became executive director of the President's War Relief Control Board, later the Advisory Committee on Voluntary Foreign Aid. In 1945, he originated the concept of the private voluntary organization that became CARE. A principal aspect of that work was persuading the government to provide ships to transport food packages that had been donated for the needy in Europe. He thus became known as "the father of CARE," and was honored for his efforts by the United Nations in 1958.

Mr. Ringland, who lived in Chevy Chase, retired from the government in 1952. In subsequent years he was active in the Food for Peace Program, the American Freedom from Hunger Foundation and the Citizens Committee on Natural Resources.

Mr. Ringland, who was born in Brooklyn, N.Y., earned bachelor's and master's degrees from Yale University. He was a member of the Society of American Foresters, the Forest History Society and the Cosmos Club.

Survivors include his wife, Dorothy, of Chevy Chase, two children, Peter and Susan Ringland, also of Chevy Chase, and five grandchildren.