Grand Canyon owes much to Theodore Roosevelt, the 26th president of the United States. It was Roosevelt who had the wherewithal to declare the massive Grand Canyon in northwestern Arizona a national monument. In fact, who knows what the Grand Canyon would look like today if not for that announcement on january 11, 1908.
This fall, a Roosevelt descendant decided to take a Grand Canyon tour. Phil Roosevelt took a trip from Las Vegas to the Grand Canyon. He found what so many previous visitors have found when taking Grand Canyon tours, an amazing natural wonder that has been graciously protected for future generations to enjoy. Mr. Roosevelt stayed at the El Tovar which the is same Grand Canyon Hotel that his forefather stayed in.
President Roosevelt had a great affection for the American West and in particular for the Grand Canyon. After visiting in 1903, He famously said “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.” The Grand Canyon, he added, is “one of the great sights which every American, if he can travel at all, should see.” This was during a time when debate raged as to whether to preserve it or mine it for copper and zinc. Ranchers were also vying for large parts of land.
After John Wesley Powell’s Grand Canyon expedition in 1869, the Grand Canyon started to become quite the tourist attraction. Thanks goodness President Roosevelt understood the importance of keeping the area clear of development. You don’t need to be a relative of the former president to enjoy. The National Geographic Visitor Center looks forward to welcoming all!