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!