Teddy Roosevelt Grand Canyon Speech

On this day – May 6 1903

Grand Canyon Expeditions - Taylor History, News & Events 1 Comment

The Grand Canyon is a special place to all those who visit it. After  all it is one of the 7 Natural Wonders of the world.  Speeches and songs written about it and people from all over the world travel just to see it.  Even in the past, the Grand Canyon was a place that people could look at and fall in love with. President Theodore Roosevelt – the 26th President of the United States was one of those people. Teddy was an Explorer, Author and Naturalist.

On May 6 1903, Teddy Roosevelt gave a speech at the Grand Canyon in an effort to protect it. Sources believe that he had most of the speech written before he arrived at the Canyon by train, but that upon seeing the beauty of the place he added other parts to make it perfect. Luckily, a reporter took careful notes so that we can read the speech he gave today 113 years later.

“It is a pleasure to be in Arizona… I have come here to see the Grand Canyon of Arizona, because in that canyon Arizona has a natural wonder, which, so far as I know, is in kind absolutely unparalleled throughout the rest of the world. I shall not attempt to describe it, because I cannot. I could not choose words that would convey or that could convey to any outsider what that canyon is. 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 loneliness and beauty of the canyon. Leave it as it is. Man cannot improve on it; not a bit. The ages have been at work on it and man can only mar it. What you can do is to keep it for your children and 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.” (Theodore Roosevelt, 1908)

Today, about 5 million visitors come to see the splendor of the Canyon each year. It is still the same beautiful place now as it was 113 years ago.  In an effort to continue protecting the canyon, Grand Canyon Expeditions adds an optional expense to your river trip… for $1 a day you can contribute to the Grand Canyon Fund. For more information, please visit: http://www.gcroa.org/grand-canyon-fund.html


On This Day – History.com

Grand Canyon Explorer – Theodore Roosevelt



Comments 1

  1. What an iconic experience that must have been. This is truly how a president of the greatest country on earth would look at the beauty and splendor of nature. Thank you President Theodore Roosevelt for wanting to share the Grand Canyon with many generations to come.

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