President Theodore Roosevelt

Inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2004

Five national parks, 150 national forests, four national game preserves, eighteen national monuments, fifty­ one federal bird reservations and twenty-one reclamation projects. Nearly 230 million acres were preserved by Teddy Roosevelt. The twenty-sixth President of the United States was arguably the greatest conservationist the country ever has known.

With public reforms and a tougher foreign policy, the youngest man ever to hold the office brought "new ex­citement and power to the presidency," but conservation was at his core. He established four commissions to study it and used his bully pulpit to lay the foundation for the nation's conservation system. Committed to wildlife and wise land use, he established laws and institutions to protect and preserve wildlife and land for future generations and created the U.S. Forest Service. He stood his ground on the environment, even as his views and policies faced constant assault by commercial interests that saw unlimited resources available for exploitation and financial gain.

The Grand Canyon exists as it does today because of Roosevelt, as does Devil's Tower in eastern  Wyoming and a host of other natural areas and forests like the Teton and the Bighorn. He set the stage for the National Park Service, which was created alter his presidency, and championed the Antiquities Act, allowing the federal government to preserve landmarks and historic sites.

"The conservation of our natural resources and their proper use constitute the fundamental problem which underlies almost every other problem of our national life," he said in 1907.

Witnessing the near extinction of some big game, bird, and fish species in the West by market hunters and settlers, he founded the Boone and Crockett Club to preserve wildlife and hunting and foster the "fair-chase" ethic upon which stale hunting and game laws are based. The teddy bear toy got its name after  Roosevelt, in 1904, refused to kill a bear cub that his party had either trapped for an easy target or come across in its travels.

A widely traveled and dedicated hunter who owned a ranch in North Dakota's badlands, Roosevelt was a naturalist and historian who was considered one of the world's foremost experts on American big game. His White House vacations were often hunting trips in the West, and he led two scientific expeditions to Africa and South America. He also wrote thirty-five books, many on wildlife and natural resources.

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