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.

A cloud inversion on Nov. 29, 2013, as seen from Desert View Point, the eastern-most developed area on the South Rim. National Journal
The view from Desert View Point, looking east at Cedar Mountain, on Nov. 29, 2013, of a cloud inversion, which is formed through the interaction of warm and cold air masses. National Journal
A rainbow over the Grand Canyon on Oct. 12, 2013. National Journal
Sunrise over Angel's Window, east of Cape Royal on the North Rim of the canyon, on May 21, 2010. National Journal
The canyon's Yaki Point on May 10, 2013. National Journal
A guide leads mule riders up a steep portion of the Bright Angel Trail known as Heartbreak Hill on April 23, 2011. National Journal
Boating down the Colorado River below Havasu Creek in Grand Canyon National Park on Aug. 30, 2004. National Journal
Pipe Creek on Aug. 15, 2012. National Journal
The Grand Canyon's North Rim on July 22, 2013. National Journal
The snowscape from Yavapai Point on Dec. 15, 2012. National Journal
Tapeats sandstone ledges as seen while looking down into Salt Creek from along the Tonto Trail on April 14, 2007. National Journal
Shoshone Point at sunset on May 14, 2012. National Journal
The view of Coronado Butte near the Buggeln picnic area on July 14, 2012. National Journal
The canyon's red limestone cliffs on Aug. 15, 2012. National Journal
Prehistoric granaries along the Colorado River above Nankoweap Trail in Marble Canyon on Aug. 24, 2004. National Journal

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