Monday, January 12, 2009

The Great Man and the Grand Canyon

On January 11, 1908, President Theodore Roosevelt established the Grand Canyon National Monument. TR saw the Grand Canyon for the first time in 1903, when he spoke these words:

"In the Grand Canyon, Arizona has a natural wonder which, so far as I know, is in kind absolutely unparalleled throughout the rest of the world. I want to ask you to do one thing in connection with it in your own interest and in the interest of the country - to keep this great wonder of nature as it now is.

I was delighted to learn of the wisdom of the Santa Fe railroad people in deciding not to build their hotel on the brink of the canyon. 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 can not improve on it. You can only mar it. The ages have been at work on it, and man can only mar it. What you can do is 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.

We have gotten past the stage. my fellow-citizens, when we are to be pardoned if we treat any part of our country as something to be skinned for two or three years for the use of the present generation, whether it is the forest, the water, the scenery. Whatever it is, handle it so that your children's children will get the benefit of it."


MM said...

Joe, I suggest you share the last paragraph of this speech with Robin Gottfried ><
who is fighting the coal mining interests that are skinning off our mountain tops.

If he hasn't already seen it, he might be able to use it effectively.


T.R. Joe said...

MM - Thanks for the tip about the Mountain top. I'll make sure Dr. Gottfried gets the word. Thanks. TR Joe