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Theodore Roosevelt: 7 Ways President Handled Conservation

Image: Theodore Roosevelt: 7 Ways President Handled Conservation
In this on July 13, 2014 file photo, a squirrel stands at the South Keibab Trail at the Grand Canyon South Rim at Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona. (Sean Gallup/Getty Images)

By    |   Monday, 29 Sep 2014 08:39 PM

President Theodore Roosevelt was called the Father of Conservation for the numerous accomplishments during his administration to protect the environment.

As the nation’s 26th president, Roosevelt made conservation a top priority for the nation. "There can be no greater issue than that of conservation in this country," Roosevelt said in 1912.

Vote Now: Was Roosevelt the Greatest American President?

Roosevelt’s push to focus on preserving the environment for the future can be seen in these seven accomplishments during his presidency and after he left office:

• Roosevelt created the United States Forestry Service in 1905, which would preserve lands for public use. However, the organization almost immediately began to battle Congress over issues like deforestation. Many were unhappy when Roosevelt moved 63 million acres of land from public land into the national forestry system, and the president made a national plea to take care of land in his 1908 speech to Congress. http://www.nps.gov/history/logcabin/html/tr5.html

“Just as a farmer, after all his life making his living from his farm, will, if he is an expert farmer, leave it as an asset of increased value to his son, so we should leave our national domain to our children, increased in value and not worn out,” a National Park Service historical document said.

• Roosevelt established five national park units during his presidency. They were Crater Lake, Oregon; Wind Cave, South Dakota; Sullys Hill, North Dakota; Mesa Verde, Colorado; and Platt, Oklahoma.

• While president, Roosevelt signed 18 national monuments into law, which included large portions of the Grand Canyon, Montezuma Castle in Arizona, and the Devil’s Tower in Wyoming.

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• Roosevelt continued his push to protect land with the Antiquities Act of June 8, 1906. Although that act didn’t create parks, it could be used by Roosevelt and the presidents who followed him to declare “historic landmarks, historic or prehistoric structures, and other objects of historic or scientific interest” in federal ownership, the National Park Service said.

• Roosevelt paved the way for the establishment of the National Park Service in 1916. His passionate belief in protection of the country’s natural assets was set forth in numerous speeches throughout his career. "I recognize the right and duty of this generation to develop and use the nature resources of our land; but I do not recognize the right to waste them, or to rob, by wasteful use, the generations that come after us," Roosevelt said in a speech in 1910, according to the NPS.

• Roosevelt addressed the Southern Conservation Congress in Atlanta in 1910, after he left office, to encourage the passage of the Weeks Bill. Along with the former Forest Service chief Gifford Pinchot, Roosevelt called on leaders in the South to pass the bill, which would further conservationist measures such as allowing the federal government the right to purchase lands to protect watersheds.

Roosevelt’s support, along with Pinchot, helped to push the legislation to President William Taft’s desk, where it was signed.

• Although not an “accomplishment,” Roosevelt’s devotion to his conservation beliefs served to underscore the importance of the topic for the nation. He carried his beliefs so strongly, according to the Forest Historical Society, that he even refused to have a Christmas tree cut for the White House.

Reportedly, his son Archie snuck one in anyway, and there was quite a disagreement about it, FHS said.

Vote Here: Which U.S. President Would Be Considered the Greatest in History?

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President Theodore Roosevelt was called the Father of Conservation for the numerous accomplishments during his administration to protect the environment.
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2014-39-29
Monday, 29 Sep 2014 08:39 PM
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