Roosevelt's Wilderness Writings

by Theodore Roosevelt

Teddy Roosevelt
 Theodore Roosevelt

"While it is necessary to give this word of warning to those who, in praising time past, always forget the opportunities of the present, it is a thousand fold more necessary to remember that these opportunities are, nevertheless, vanishing; and if we are a sensible people, we will make it our business to see that the process of extinction is arrested.

At the present moment the great herds of caribou are being butchered, as in the past the great herds of bison and wapiti have been butchered. Every believer in manliness and therefore, in manly sport, and every lover of nature, every man who appreciates the majesty and beauty of the wilderness and of wildlife, should strike hands with the farsighted men who wish to preserve our material resources, in the effort to keep our forests and our game beasts, game-birds, and game-fish—indeed, all the living creatures of the prairie and woodland and seashore—from wanton destruction.

Above all, we should realize that the effort toward this end is essentially a democratic movement. It is entirely in our power as a nation to preserve large tracts of wilderness, which are valueless for agricultural purposes and unfit for settlement, as playgrounds for the rich and poor alike, and to preserve the game so that it shall continue to exist for the benefit of all lovers of nature, and to give reasonable opportunities for the exercise of the skill of the hunter, whether he is or not a man of means….

Roosevelt, Theodore. Wilderness Writings. Peregrine Smith Books: Salt Lake City, UT, 1986.

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