Theodore Roosevelt is a giant figure in the history of conservation and the National Parks system. Arguably the first “Conservation President,” he used his authority and foresight to establish and protect many of our country’s most treasured places. His conservation legacy is astounding, especially for the era in which he governed, and encompasses far more than his additions to the national parks system.
Honoring his important tenure as President, no fewer than six different national parks commemorate Teddy Roosevelt:
- Theodore Roosevelt National Park
- Theodore Roosevelt Birthplace National Historic Site
- Theodore Roosevelt Inaugural National Historic Site
- Theodore Roosevelt Island
- Sagamore Hill National Historic Site
- Mount Rushmore National Memorial
If you haven’t been to each of these places, you should add them to your “to visit” list. Theodore Roosevelt NP and Sagamore Hill NHS are among my favorite lesser-known parks in the country.
TR will forever be associated with the many national park units he helped established, whether by signing national park legislation or by using his authority under the Antiquities Act. Here’s the looong list of places he helped protect:
- Crater Lake National Park
- Wind Cave National Park
- Mesa Verde National Park
- Chickasaw National Recreation Area
- Grand Canyon National Park
- Devils Tower National Monument
- El Morro National Monument
- Montezuma Castle National Monument
- Petrified Forest National Park
- Chaco Culture National Historical Park
- Lassen Volcanic National Park
- Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument
- Tonto National Monument
- Muir Woods National Monument
- Pinnacles National Park
- Jewel Cave National Monument
- Natural Bridges National Monument
- Tumacacori National Monument
- Olympic National Park
- Jean Lafitte National Historical Park
- Yosemite National Park
That’s one helluva conservation legacy for the National Parks.
And that doesn’t include the 51 National Bird Sanctuaries (later renamed National Wildlife Refuges) he designated, the 150 million acres of National Forests he established, or the other conservation policies he impacted.
Thanks, Teddy, for all that you did to preserve America’s natural heritage.
Today is the anniversary of Antiquities Act of 1906. Not many people know much about this law, even though it probably ranks as the most important conservation tool in our nation’s history. Not only did it, for the first time, protect historical and prehistoric structures and artifacts, but it gave the President the authority to designate national monuments, helping to effectively preserve so much of our natural and cultural heritage. Many of these places have since been incorporated into larger national monuments or national parks, and many of them form the basis for the National Conservation Lands.
Continue reading Happy birthday to the Antiquities Act!
15 days. 2,486 miles. 31 new national parks.
In March 2013, I had one of my most productive national park road trips. I called it my #BattlefieldsandBeginnings trip, and it primarily focused on as-yet-unvisited national parks in Virginia, North Carolina, and Maryland. I also snuck in a quick jaunt over the Pennsylvania border to hit Gettysburg and the adjacent Eisenhower National Historic Site.
Continue reading My #BattlefieldsandBeginnings road trip
A twitter recap of my #GreatWaters national park roadtrip* in August 2012. Sadly, I haven’t gotten around to posting the photos yet, or writing a passable summary yet, so this will have to do for now. Enjoy!
*and a shitload of roadside attractions/oddities.
Continue reading A partial recap of my #GreatWaters road trip
In August 2013, I made it to the last two major national park sites dedicated to President Abraham Lincoln. After watching the movie Lincoln in 2013, I thought back on all of the Lincoln-related historical sites I’ve visited. I think it’s a rather comprehensive list, especially as he’s been enshrined in the National Parks.
I’m not certain if it’s a complete list, but it’s not far from one either. Please feel free to use it to complete your own mini-quest of visiting all of the Abraham Lincoln historical sites.
Oh, and add Lincoln, Illinois to the list as well—the site of the strangest Lincoln story I’ve heard and home to the largest Lincoln statute on a covered wagon.
I’ve also been to a few of the seven locations where the famous Lincoln-Douglas debates took place, mostly recently the Jonesboro site, which is memorialized with statues in a lovely city park.
One of the benefits of tweeting your trip is that it automatically creates an archive of sorts. Here’s all of the #ontheroadinthemiddleofuckingnowhere tweets from my trip.
But first, a couple of notes. One, I’m a bit bummed that the photos I attached to foursquare checkins aren’t autodisplayed; so if there’s a place that sounds interesting, click over to foursquare to see the shot I snapped. Also, since I was #ontheroadinthemiddleoffuckingnowhere, I also didn’t always have cell coverage, which meant that I didn’t get to check in or post to twitter. Nonetheless, it was fun to keep folks updated on my trip progress.
Continue reading A partial recap of my “Roadside Oddities of the Prairielands” roadtrip via twitter