On February 26, 1919 President Woodrow Wilson created our nation’s seventeenth national park and placed it under the management of the then three-year-old National Park Service.
The elevation of the Grand Canyon to national park status began in the late 1890’s in an environment not unlike the one we are experiencing today. Public opinion was beginning to turn against the rampant excesses of industrialization that marked the post-Civil War period and the ideals of conservation and preservation began to take root in America.
President Wilson got all of the glory, but credit is also owed to Presidents Benjamin Harrison and Theodore Roosevelt. As a senator from Indiana, Harrison unsuccessfully introduced legislation to protect the Grand Canyon in 1882, 1883, and 1886. As President, Harrison created the Grand Canyon Forest Reserve in 1893.
Roosevelt would first visit the Grand Canyon in 1903, and worked to enhance its protective status, culminating in the creation of the Grand Canyon National Monument in 1908.
I hope you enjoyed my small tribute to one of our nation’s greatest parks on this, its 90th anniversary.