The National Parks of Theodore Roosevelt

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.

Happy birthday to the Antiquities Act!

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!

National Monuments designated under the Antiquities Act

The Antiquities Act of 1906 was the first piece of legislation to protect ruins and artifacts of Native American cultures. However, the law also gave the President authority to designate national monuments on federal lands—a powerful and important tool for protecting some of our nation’s most important treasures.

This authority has been used more than a hundred times by a total of sixteen Presidents—eight Republican and eight Democratic.

Many of the national monuments established under the Antiquities Act have later been expanded, merged, or converted into national parks (asterisks show ones that have retained their national monument status); several have also been renamed over time. While most of the national monuments are managed by the National Park Service, several are managed by other federal agencies, most notably the Bureau of Land Management as part of the National Conservation Lands (I’ve displayed those in italics).

Below is the list of designations. I’ve had the pleasure and good fortune of visiting the majority of these places. You should too.

Theodore Roosevelt (18)

9/24/06 Devils Tower, WY*
12/8/06 El Morro, NM*
12/8/06 Montezuma Castle, AZ*
12/8/06 Petrified Forest, AZ
3/11/07 Chaco Canyon, NM
5/6/07 Cinder Cone, CA
5/6/07 Lassen Peak, CA
11/16/07 Gila Cliff Dwellings, NM*
12/19/07 Tonto, AZ*
1/9/08 Muir Woods, CA*
1/11/08 Grand Canyon, AZ
1/16/08 Pinnacles, CA*
2/7/08 Jewel Cave, SD*
4/16/08 Natural Bridges, UT*
5/11/08 Lewis and Clark Cavern, MT
9/15/08 Tumacacori, AZ
12/7/08 Wheeler, CO
3/2/09 Mount Olympus, WA

William Howard Taft (10)

3/20/09 Navajo, AZ*
7/12/09 Oregon Caves, OR*
7/31/09 Mukuntuweap, UT
9/21/09 Shoshone Cavern, WY
11/1/09 Gran Quivira (now Salinas Pueblo Missions), NM*
3/23/10 Sitka, AK
5/30/10 Rainbow Bridge, UT*
6/23/10 Big Hole Battlefield, MT
5/24/11 Colorado, CO*
7/6/11 Devils Postpile, CA*

Woodrow Wilson (14)

10/14/13 Cabrillo, CA*
1/31/14 Papago Saguaro, AZ
10/4/15 Dinosaur, UT-CO*
11/30/15 Walnut Canyon, AZ*
2/11/16 Bandelier, NM*
7/8/16 Sieur de Monts, ME
8/9/16 Capulin Mountain (now Capulin Volcano), NM*
10/25/16 Old Kasaan, AK
6/29/17 Verendrye, ND
3/18/18 Zion, UT (incorporated Mukuntuweap NM)
8/3/18 Casa Grande (now Casa Grande Ruins), AZ*
9/24/18 Katmai, AK
12/12/19 Scotts Bluff, NE*
12/12/19 Yucca House, CO*

Warren G. Harding (8)

1/24/22 Lehman Caves, NV
10/14/22 Timpanogos Cave, UT*
10/21/22 Fossil Cycad, SD
1/24/23 Aztec Ruin (now Aztec Ruins), NM*
3/2/23 Hovenweep, UT-CO*
3/2/23 Mound City Group, OH
5/31/23 Pipe Spring, AZ*
6/8/23 Bryce Canyon, UT

Calvin Coolidge (13)

10/25/23 Carlsbad Cave, NM
4/18/24 Chiricahua, AZ*
5/2/24 Craters of the Moon, ID*
10/15/24 Castle Pinckney, SC
10/15/24 Fort Marion (now Castillo de San Marcos), FL*
10/15/24 Fort Matanzas, FL*
10/15/24 Fort Pulaski, GA*
10/15/24 Statue of Liberty, NY*
12/9/24 Wupatki, AZ*
2/26/25 Glacier Bay, AK
2/26/25 Meriwether Lewis, TN
9/5/25 Father Millet Cross, NY
11/21/25 Lava Beds, CA*

Herbert Hoover (9)

4/12/29 Arches, UT
5/11/29 Holy Cross, CO
5/26/30 Sunset Crater (now Sunset Crater Volcano), AZ*
3/17/32 Great Sand Dunes, CO*
12/22/32 Grand Canyon, AZ
1/18/33 White Sands, NM*
2/11/33 Death Valley, CA-NV
3/1/33 Saguaro, AZ
3/3/33 Black Canyon of the Gunnison, CO

Franklin D. Roosevelt (11)

4/26/33 Channel Islands, CA
8/22/33 Cedar Breaks, UT*
1/4/35 Fort Jefferson, FL
8/10/36 Joshua Tree, CA
1/22/37 Zion, UT
4/13/37 Organ Pipe Cactus, AZ*
8/2/37 Capitol Reef, UT
7/16/38 Fort Laramie, WY
5/17/39 Santa Rosa Island, FL
7/24/39 Tuzigoot, AZ*
3/15/43 Jackson Hole, WY

Harry S. Truman (1)

10/25/49 Effigy Mounds, IA*

Dwight D. Eisenhower (2)

7/14/56 Edison Laboratory, NJ
1/18/61 Chesapeake and Ohio Canal, MD-WV

John F. Kennedy (2)

5/11/61 Russell Cave, AL*
12/28/61 Buck Island Reef, VI*

Lyndon B. Johnson (1)

1/20/69 Marble Canyon, AZ

Jimmy Carter (15)

12/1/78 Admiralty Island, AK* (US Forest Service)
12/1/78 Aniakchak, AK*
12/1/78 Becharof, AK
12/1/78 Bering Land Bridge, AK
12/1/78 Cape Krusenstern, AK*
12/1/78 Denali, AK
12/1/78 Gates of the Arctic, AK
12/1/78 Kenai Fjords, AK
12/1/78 Kobuk Valley, AK
12/1/78 Lake Clark, AK
12/1/78 Misty Fjords, AK* (US Forest Service)
12/1/78 Noatak, AK
12/1/78 Wrangell-St. Elias, AK
12/1/78 Yukon-Charley, AK
12/1/78 Yukon Flats, AK

William J. Clinton (21)

9/18/96 Grand Staircase-Escalante, UT* (Bureau of Land Management)
1/11/00 Grand Canyon-Parashant, AZ* (Jointly managed by the National Park Service and the Bureau of Land Management)
1/11/00 Agua Fria, AZ* (Bureau of Land Management)
1/11/00 California Coastal, CA* (Bureau of Land Management)
1/10/00 Pinnacles, CA (Expansion)
4/15/00 Giant Sequoia, CA (Expansion—-US Forest Service)
6/09/00 Hanford Reach, WA (US Fish and Wildlife Service)
6/09/00 Ironwood Forest, AZ* (Bureau of Land Management)
6/09/00 Canyons of the Ancients, CO* (Bureau of Land Management)
6/09/00 Cascade-Siskiyou, OR* (Bureau of Land Management)
7/07/00 President Lincoln and Soldiers’ Home (Armed Forces Retirement Home)
11/9/00 Craters of the Moon, ID* (Expansion of Existing Monument; Bureau of Land Management)
11/9/00 Vermilion Cliffs, AZ* (Bureau of Land Management)
1/17/01 Carrizo Plain, CA* (Bureau of Land Management)
1/17/01 Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks, NM* (Bureau of Land Management)
1/17/01 Minidoka Internment, ID
1/17/01 Pompeys Pillar, MT* (Bureau of Land Management)
1/17/01 Sonoran Desert, AZ* (Bureau of Land Management)
1/17/01 Upper Missouri River Breaks, MT* (Bureau of Land Management)
1/17/01 Virgin Islands Coral Reef, VI*
1/20/01 Governors Island, NY*

George W. Bush (3)

2/27/06 African Burial Ground, NY*
6/15/06 Northwestern Hawaiian Islands Marine (renamed Papahanaumokuakea Hawaii Islands Marine), HI
12/05/08 World War II Valor in the Pacific (incorporated USS Arizona Memorial), HI*

Barack Obama (32)

11/01/11 Fort Monroe, VA*
4/20/12 Fort Ord, CA (Bureau of Land Management)
9/21/12 Chimney Rock, CO (US Forest Service)*
10/08/12 César E. Chávez, CA*
3/25/13 Charles Young Buffalo Soldiers, OH*
3/25/13 First State, DE*
3/25/13 Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad, MD*
3/25/13 Río Grande del Norte, NM (Bureau of Land Management)*
3/25/13 San Juan Islands, WA (Bureau of Land Management)*
10/28/13 Military Working Dog Teams, TX (Department of Defense)
5/21/14 Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks, NM (Bureau of Land Management)*
10/10/15 San Gabriel Mountains, CA (US Forest Service)*
12/19/14 Tule Springs Fossil Beds, NV*
2/19/15 Browns Canyon, CO (Bureau of Land Management)*
2/19/15 Honouliuli, HI*
2/19/15 Pullman, IL*
7/10/15 Basin and Range, NV (Bureau of Land Management)*
7/10/15 Berryessa Snow Mountain, CA (US Forest Service/BLM)*
7/10/15 Waco Mammoth, TX*
2/12/16 Mojave Trails, CA (Bureau of Land Management)*
2/12/16 Sand to Snow, CA (US Forest Service, BLM)*
2/12/16 Castle Mountains, CA*
4/12/16 Belmont-Paul Womens Equality, DC*
6/24/16 Stonewall, NY*
9/15/16 Northeast Canyons and Seamounts Marine National Monument* (Atlantic Ocean)
12/28/16 Bears Ears, UT (Bureau of Land Management)*
12/28/16 Gold Butte, NV (Bureau of Land Management)*
1/12/16 Freedom Riders, AL*
1/12/16 Montgomery Civil Rights, AL*
1/12/16 Reconstruction Era, SC*
1/12/16 California Coastal, CA (Expansion of Existing Monument; Bureau of Land Management)
1/12/16 Cascade-Siskiyou, OR (Expansion of Existing Monument; Bureau of Land Management)

Some additional notes on these designations:

  • Congress has transferred 10 national monuments (Lewis and Clark Cavern, Wheeler, Shoshone Cavern, Papago Saguaro, Old Kasaan, Verendrye, Fossil Cycad, Castle Pinckney, Father Millet Cross, Holy Cross) to other federal, state, or local jurisdictions.
  • Congress has limited Antiquities Act powers in two states: Wyoming and Alaska.
  • The largest designation has been Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument at 140,000 square miles; the smallest was Father Millet Cross National Monument at 0.0074 acres.