Theodore Roosevelt and Conservation

Theodore Roosevelt and Conservation

It had long been believed in the United States that the supply of new lands and natural resources was unlimited. The last remaining reserved area, the Oklahoma Territory, had been opened for settlement in the previous year. Other remaining unoccupied lands were largely either arid or mountainous.A bitter debate followed—and continues today—between those who argued that America should exploit its resources to the fullest for as long as they last and those who favored conservation as a means to sustain supply over a longer time and preserve natural beauty.By the turn of the century, several things were evident:

Theodore Roosevelt, a sportsman and naturalist, sided emphatically with the conservationists. Legislative effort was devoted to changing the way America used its land, especially in the West. The Newlands Act of 1902 placed the federal government in an activist role in the areas of water management and reclamation.The president, with the aid and encouragement of Chief Forester Gifford Pinchot, worked to preserve more than 170 million acres, mostly in the West, in the forms of national parks and monuments. The following constitute a portion of Roosevelt’s legacy:

Item

Location

Remarks

1902

Crater Lake
National Park

Oregon

The act that created this park was the result of a 17-yeareffort by William G. Steel.

1903

Wind Cave
National Park

South Dakota

Also designated a National Game Preserve - August 10, 1912.

1904

Sullys
National Park

North Dakota

Re-designated a National Game Preserve, March 3, 1931.

1905

Creation of U.S.Forest Service

1906

Platt
NationalPark

Oklahoma

Noted for its numerous cold springs.

Mesa Verde
National Park

Colorado

The cliff dwellings here represent the last 75 to 100years of occupation at Mesa Verde.

Devil’s Tower
National Monument

Wyoming

The nearly vertical monolith known as Devil’s Tower rises1,267 feet above the meandering Belle Fourche River.

El Morro
National Monument

New Mexico

"Inscription Rock" is a soft sandstone monolith,rising 200 feet above the valley floor, on which are carved hundreds ofinscriptions.

Chaco Canyon
National Monument

New Mexico

Chaco Canyonwas a major center of ancestral Pueblo culturebetween AD 850 and 1250.

Petrified Forest
National Monument

Arizona

The park features one of the world's largest and mostcolorful concentrations of petrified wood.

Montezuma Castle
National Monument

Arizona

Nestled into a limestone recess high above the flood plainof Beaver Creek in the Verde Valleystands one of the best-preserved cliff dwellings in North America.

1907

Cinder Cone
National Monument

California

Later would become part of LassenPeak Volcanic NationalPark.

Lassen Peak
National Monument

California

Later would become part of LassenPeak Volcanic NationalPark.

Gila Cliff Dwellings
National Monument

New Mexico

A glimpse of the homes and lives of the people of the Mogollon culture who lived in from the 1280s through theearly 1300s.

Tonto
National Monument

Arizona

Home to the prehistoric Saladopeople, named in the early 20th century after the lifegivingRio Salado, or Salt River.

1908

Grand Canyon
National Monument

Arizona

TR acted to prevent construction of railway along rim;1919 became Grand Canyon NationalPark.

Pinnacles
National Monument

California

Later transferred to Department of the Interior.

Jewell Cave
National Monument

South Dakota

With more than 127 miles surveyed, JewelCave is recognized as the thirdlongest cave in the world.

Natural Bridges
National Monument

Utah

Where meandering streams cut through the canyon walls,three natural bridges formed: Kachina, Owachomo and Sipapu.

Tumacacori
National Monument

Arizona

Comprises the abandoned ruins of three ancient Spanishcolonial missions.

Wheeler
National Monument

Colorado

A few hundred acres of enchanting rock formations.Monument later abandoned.

1909

Mount Olympus
National Monument

Washington

TR acted two days before leaving office.