Douglas Brinkley: Buffering the Grand Canyon
IN 1903, President Theodore Roosevelt didn’t need a guidebook to tell him that the Grand Canyon was the most precious heirloom the United States possessed. Staring out for the first time from the canyon’s rim at the immensity of the chasm, he trembled with sheer joy. This was America’s Westminster Abbey, Louvre and Taj Mahal rolled into one.
Back then, the Arizona Territory was debating whether to preserve the canyon or mine it for zinc, copper, asbestos and other minerals. A similar threat looms today over the canyon vistas just beyond the park’s boundaries, where mining companies, foreign and domestic, have been filing claims to extract uranium from the surrounding national forest.
The idea of letting miners loose on the Grand Canyon struck Roosevelt as criminal. To him, the canyon was an American birthright. “In your own interest and the interest of all the country keep this great wonder of nature as it now is,” he told a crowd of Arizonans assembled for his visit. “You cannot improve upon it. The ages have been at work on it, and man can only mar it.”...
comments powered by Disqus
- T. rex fossils arrive at Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History
- Quote of the Day -- Time Magazine's Top 100 People
- Investigation: The Resegregation of America's Schools
- 5 Explosive Revelations Leaked from Senate Report Exposing CIA Torture
- In Parts of the South, Glorifying Slavery No Longer Pays the Bills
- UC Berkeley professor emeritus Robert Harlan dies at 84
- She Came All the Way from Melbourne to Attend the OAH
- The 7 Most Popular HNN Videos from the 2014 OAH
- Jesse Lemisch’s up-from-below history is still strikingly original
- U.Va. Historian Alan Taylor Wins 2014 Pulitzer for Book on Slaves and War -- His second Pulitzer!