Presidential Involvement

The idea of returning Yosemite Valley to federal government control and expanding the park to include its natural watershed acquired its most powerful spokesman with the election of Teddy Roosevelt as U.S. President in 1901. President Roosevelt found a most "bully" pulpit when he visited Yosemite in 1903 and camped with the Sierra Club's founder, John Muir. The two stood for the photograph below at Glacier Point overlooking the valley and Yosemite Falls Yosemite Valley was finally granted back to the federal government in 1905 despite opposition from William Randolph Hearst's newspaper, the San Francisco Examiner, and from local business interests. The act by Congress also made adjustments to the park's boundaries conforming them to natural ridge lines and rivers that left the map of Yosemite as we know it today

To Start You Thinking -

1) Two of the most important qualities that Roosevelt brought to the presidency were his youth and vigor. How old was the President when this picture was taken in 1903?

2) Can you think of a similar situation today where a picture of the President standing with a leading conservationist would have the same impact as this photo of TR and John Muir had in 1903?

image from "Theodore Roosevelt and John Muir on Glacier Point, Yosemite Valley, California,1906," Library of Congress, American Memory, IDcph 3c07389.
Last modified in February, 2011 by Rick Thomas