Did you know that Theodore Roosevelt signed into law the first 51 federal bird sanctuaries?

Theodore Roosevelt

The Father of Conservation

Some of Theodore Roosevelt's greatest accomplishments were in conservation. In 1905, President Roosevelt formed the United States Forestry Service and appointed Gifford Pinchot as the first chief of this new agency. Under TR's direction, lands were reserved for public use and huge irrigation projects were started. During Roosevelt's time as President, the forest reserves in the U.S. went from approximately 43-million acres to about 194-million acres.

As President, he signed legislation that established five national park units: Crater Lake, Oregon; Wind Cave, South Dakota; Sullys Hill, North Dakota (later designated a game preserve); Mesa Verde, Colorado; and Platt, Oklahoma (now part of the Chickasaw National Recreation Area). By the end of 1906, Roosevelt had proclaimed four national monuments: Devil's Tower, Wyoming; El Morro, New Mexico; Montezuma Castle, Arizona; and the Petrified Forest, Arizona. He also protected a large portion of the Grand Canyon as a national monument in 1908. During his presidency, TR signed into law a total of 18 national monuments.

The Antiquities Act of June 8, 1906 had an even broader effect. Although the Act did not create a single park, it allowed Roosevelt and his successors to proclaim "historic landmarks, historic or prehistoric structures, and other objects of historic or scientific interest" in federal ownership as national monuments. To learn more about the Antiquities Act, go to: www.cr.nps.gov/local-law/anti1906.htm. Roosevelt's actions in conservation helped to impact what would one day become the National Park Service (NPS), which was formally established on August 25, 1916.

In his own words, Theodore Roosevelt strongly believed in conserving our national lands.

"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." (Theodore Roosevelt, Osawatomie, Kansas, August 31, 1910). To learn more about America's National Parks, go to: www.nps.gov.

Learn more about Theodore Roosevelt:

Life Before the Presidency
Roosevelt: Rancher, Historian, and Author
Presidential Accomplishments
Did You Know?
The Father of Conservation
Life After the Presidency