The Visionary Legacy of Theodore Roosevelt Lives On through the 50 State America’s Great Outdoors Report
From 1901-1909, as President of the United States, Teddy Roosevelt enacted 5 national parks which were the precursor to today’s wilderness areas. Roosevelt wanted to do something that would benefit his kids and grandchildren and generations of Americans after him. He envisioned national parks where people could enjoy the majestic natural beauty of God’s creation. In many ways his visionary leadership in conservation was a catalyst for the future establishment of the Wilderness Act of 1964–for which we can all be really thankful. There are few other places in the world that have taken the conservation of natural beauty so seriously as the United States. Roosevelt once said,
The nation behaves well if it treats natural resources as assets which it must turn over to the next generation increased, and not impaired in value.
Now that was leadership that had the well-being of future generations in mind!
Why Did God Create So Much of the Earth’s Terrain Uninhabitable? Maybe because We Need Those Places?
Regardless of one’s views of conservation of natural resources, if one takes a bird’s eye view of God’s creation, it seems quite curious why God would create so much terrain that is virtually uninhabitable. Maybe it is because we need those places? If you look at how much of the earth is comprised of mountains, deserts, and oceans, it seems plausible that God had a purpose in creating so many places that are “wild” and largely impossible to inhabit. One of the great benefits of spending time in these remote places, is to remind us that we are not in control like we pretend to be in the city. Wilderness areas are wild and unpredictable which highlights my desperate need for God. And the wilderness is beautiful and majestic, which shows me that God is good, loving, and in control. These are just some of the reasons why I believe wilderness areas are so important.
The 50 State America’s Great Outdoors Report
This past week, Secretary of the Interior, Ken Salazar unveiled a report called the, 50 State America’s Great Outdoors Report. For those who value pristine places to connect with God, this report offers some great possibilities. On Thursday, November 3, 2011, Salazar said,
These projects represent what states believe are among the best investments in the nation to support a healthy, active population, conserve wildlife and working lands, and create travel, tourism and outdoor-recreation jobs across the nation…
Some of the highlights of the report are proposals for developing:
- Recreational access to rivers and waterways
- Construct new trails in existing natural areas for more access to the public
- Enhance urban parks
- Establish new wildlife refuges and national parks
See How This Proposal Could Impact Your State
If you would like to read the report or see what projects are being proposed in your state, you can access the report in the slide show below. Without getting into all the political debates that I’m sure will surround these proposals, all I can say is that I believe there is a reason why God created pristine, remote, wilderness spaces, and that one of the reasons why he made them so uninhabitable was to put himself on display so that when we tread those landscapes we will be compelled to revere him. After all, he deserves our humble reverence:
“I know that everything God does will endure forever; nothing can be added to it and nothing taken from it. God does it so that men will revere him.” –Solomon (Ecclesiastes 3:14)