Super Cities №29 — What Would Teddy Roosevelt Think?

Brendan Hart

One Big Thing

Who said this?

The Administration’s unlawful actions betray our shared responsibility to protect iconic places for future generations and represent the largest elimination of protected land in American history. We’ve fought to protect these places since we were founded and now we’ll continue that fight in the courts.


In 1901, Theodore Roosevelt became America’s first conservationist president.

During his presidency, Roosevelt protected national forests, reserves, parks, and over 230 million acres of public land. In 1903, before climate change was something that could be denied, Roosevelt extolled the Grand Canyon:

“I want to ask you to keep this great wonder of nature as it now is. I hope you will not have a building of any kind, not a summer cottage, a hotel or anything else, to mar the wonderful grandeur, the sublimity, the great loneliness and beauty of the canyon. Leave it as it is. You cannot improve on it. The ages have been at work on it, and man can only mar it. What you can do is to keep it for your children, your children’s children, and for all who come after you, as one of the great sights which every American if he can travel at all should see.”

Yesterday, President Trump disagreed, announcing he would shrink previously-protected Bear Ears National Monument by 85-percent and Grand Staircase-Escalante by 50-percent.

Explaining his decision, President Trump said his predecessors thought “the natural resources of Utah should be controlled by a small handful of very distant bureaucrats located in Washington. And guess what? They are wrong.”

I doubt Roosevelt would agree.

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