The Grand Canyon Has Been a National Treasure for 106 Years. These Photos Show Why.

Jan. 10, 2014, 10:55 a.m.

No one knows for sure just when the Grand Canyon formed, but its status as a na­tion­al treas­ure was set in stone just over a cen­tury ago, thanks to Pres­id­ent Teddy Roosevelt.

Roosevelt made en­vir­on­ment­al con­ser­va­tion a na­tion­al pri­or­ity dur­ing his pres­id­ency. He also had no time for miles of red tape and bur­eau­crat­ic in­com­pet­ence. So 106 years ago this Sat­urday, in­stead of look­ing to Con­gress to grant the Grand Canyon na­tion­al park status, Roosevelt de­clared the 800,000-acre area a na­tion­al monu­ment him­self, be­gin­ning an en­tirely new pres­id­en­tial prac­tice of re­cog­niz­ing the coun­try’s nat­ur­al as­sets.

“Let this great won­der of nature re­main as it now is,” said Roosevelt of the canyon, which be­came a na­tion­al park in 1919. “You can­not im­prove on it. But what you can do is keep it for your chil­dren, your chil­dren’s chil­dren, and all who come after you, as the one great sight which every Amer­ic­an should see.”

See it for your­self be­low, in pho­tos cour­tesy of the Na­tion­al Park Ser­vice.


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