Yesterday was the birthday of Theodore Roosevelt, the 26th President of the United States. He was born on October 27th, 1858 in New York City. Theodore (known as Teddy) is perhaps the most ardent supporter of protecting lands who has ever held the office of President. He gained his afinity for wild lands by spending some time in the badlands country of western North Dakota, one of the most scenic and rugged places in the Great Plains. His experiences there proved to be so important in his life that he would later state, “I have always said that I would not have been President, had it not been for my experience in North Dakota.”
Indeed. Theodore Roosevelt National Park was named in his honor and occupies 110 square miles near the place where he spent time alone in a cabin in 1884, recovering from the dual tragedy of his mother and his wife dying within hours of eachother.
My favorite quote from Teddy Roosevelt as relates to protecting landscapes comes from his trip to the Grand Canyon as President in 1908. He said, “Leave it as it is. You cannot improve it. The ages have been at work on it, and men can only mar it.”
That statement is true of the Grand Canyon, and it is true of the Great Plains. They are both national treasures and deserve to be preserved and enjoyed for many generations to come.