Theodore Roosevelt often ranks at the top of the list when it comes to conservationist presidents, and with good reason; During his presidency, he established 250 million acres of public lands, 150 million as National Forests. He also created the created the present-day United States Forest Service in 1905 and was the first president to create a Federal Bird Reserve.
While Roosevelt is most associated with National Parks — his administration established five — he also established four National Game Preserves, 51 Federal Bird Reservations and 18 National Monuments. In fact, Roosevelt was the president who signed the National Monuments Act into law in 1906, which allowed the president to “declare by public proclamation historic landmarks, historic and prehistoric structures, and other objects of historic and scientific interest…to be National Monuments.”
Although some of those 18 monuments have been absorbed into National Parks or National Forests today, every single one of them still stands, a testament to Roosevelt and his hopeful view that Americans would work towards a more ecologically conscious future.
“It is also vandalism wantonly to destroy or to permit the destruction of what is beautiful in nature, whether it be a cliff, a forest, or a species of mammal or bird. Here in the United States we turn our rivers and streams into sewers and dumping-grounds, we pollute the air, we destroy forests, and exterminate fishes, birds and mammals — not to speak of vulgarizing charming landscapes with hideous advertisements. But at last it looks as if our people were awakening.”
Take a brief look at all 18 of the Roosevelt-established National Monuments below.