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January 11

The Grand Canyon Becomes A National Monument

On January 11, 1908, President Theodore Roosevelt declared the Grand Canyon a national monument. By doing so his aim was to preserve one of America’s most iconic natural landmarks for future generations. The Grand Canyon, located in Arizona, is a stunning natural wonder featuring a diverse array of geological formations that have formed over millions of years. The canyon is more than a mile deep and stretches over 277 miles in length and up to 18 miles in width.

Native American Indians have lived in this area dating back to at least the 13th century. In 1540 Francisco Vasquez de Coronado of Spain led an expedition that came upon this natural wonder. While America expanded westward, the remote canyon was seen by few until 1869, when a geologist named John Wesley Powell led an expedition of ten men down the Colorado River in four row boats. After that voyage, reports about the Grand Canyon circulated among travelers, and soon it became a tourist destination.

The Grand Canyon was already attracting thousands of tourists every year by the end of the 19th century. Seeing that it was largely unprotected and at risk of being developed for commercial or industrial purposes, President Theodore Roosevelt took steps to protect the canyon, and to preserve it for future generations.

Only an act of Congress could make the canyon a national park. Roosevelt cut through much of the red tape and used his authority under the Antiquities Act of 1906. This act gave the president power to set aside federal lands as national monuments. By declaring the Grand Canyon a national monument, Roosevelt ensured that the canyon would be protected from development and preserved for the enjoyment of people from around the world.

In 1919 President Woodrow Wilson signed the Grand Canyon National Park Act, which officially outlaws private development in the Grand Canyon. Home to a wide variety of plant and animal life, as well as many ancient Native American artifacts, the Grand Canyon is visited every year by millions of visitors. It also provides a venue for important scientific research in geology and about the Earth’s history.

President Theodore Roosevelt’s decision to declare the Grand Canyon a national monument was a significant step in the conservation of America’s natural resources. His actions helped to ensure that one of the most beautiful and awe-inspiring natural wonders in the world would be preserved for future generations to enjoy. The Grand Canyon National Monument remains one of the most iconic natural landmarks in the United States, thanks to the foresight and leadership of President Theodore Roosevelt.



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