Tuesday, May 12, 2009

The White House Conference on the Conservation of Natural Resources

On May 13, 1908, Theodore Roosevelt ushered the conservation agenda into the modern era, when he hosted the three day White House Conference on the Conservation of Natural Resources. The meeting was attended by governors and scientists and chaired by Gifford Pinchot, Chief Forester of the United States. In 1908, many of the attendees were hunters and outdoor enthusiasts.

The Roosevelt Administration had a tremendous record on conservation. Even the casual observor must be amazed at the record: 230 million acres of national forests, national parks, national monuments and wildlife refuges added to the public trust. The Newlands Reclamation Act, the Inland Waterways Commission and the establishment of an independent Forest Service all date to TR's time at the helm.

Today, we are called to meet new challenges. In 2008, the White House Conference on North American Wildlife Policy was held in Reno, Nevada, hometown, by the way, of Congressman Francis G. Newlands, author of the namesake bill which saw the rivers of the west tamed for the goals of settlement and agriculture. TR and later administrations saw to it that many of the reservoirs created by the works of the Reclamation Act became the backbone of our Midwestern and Western migratory bird refuges.

As in 1908, many of the attendees in Reno were hunters and outdoor enthusiasts. In 2008, thank goodness, there were many more women in attendance. The conference produced a series of recommendations, especially for the federal government and its departments and agencies that play important roles in wildlife management. In the spirit of TR and the 1908 conference, I commend your time and attention to the proceedings and the recommendations of the 2008 conference here:


Have a great, green day!

TR Joe

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