Revel in Teddy Roosevelt's Legacy

Rocío LowerNPF Blog
A photo of President Theodore Roosevelt and John Muir overlooking the falls in Yosemite.

The thought of our 26th president calls to mind a few descriptors: rancher, Rough Rider, Bull Moose, and America’s youngest president, to name a few. Perhaps none are as ubiquitous as President Theodore Roosevelt’s legacy as a conservationist. His foresight while in office and decisive actions instilled the notion of resource preservation in our national psyche.

Roosevelt stands with his horse Manitou in the Badlands.
Theodore Roosevelt Center

Though the National Park Service only came into being seven years after the end of Roosevelt’s presidency, many units across the National Park System are linked to him.

Some sites more formally interpret his life, such as Theodore Roosevelt Birthplace National Historic Site, Theodore Roosevelt Inaugural National Historic Site, and Sagamore Hill National Historic Site. Others were established to commemorate his many contributions, such as Theodore Roosevelt Island National Memorial, Theodore Roosevelt National Park, and his inclusion among the presidential portraits of Mount Rushmore National Memorial. But his influence resonates far beyond these six national parks.

"We have fallen heirs to the most glorious heritage a people ever received, and each one must do his part if we wish to show that the nation is worthy of its good fortune." – Theodore Roosevelt

Between the parks he established in partnership with Congress and his enactment of the Antiquities Act in 1906, Roosevelt designated 23 sites that would become part of the National Park Service’s purview when it was created in 1916 by President Woodrow Wilson. Look through these 5 places where you can enjoy the natural, cultural, and historical resources protected now and for future generations, all thanks to President Theodore Roosevelt.

Crater Lake National Park

A tree-covered island in the middle of a blue Crater Lake, with the surrounding hills covered in a light dusting of snow

The deepest lake in the United States can be found at Oregon’s Crater Lake National Park. A crystal blue beauty to behold, the marvels and mysteries of this lake and its site were designated as a national park in 1902.

Devils Tower National Monument

Towering monolith lit by the golden sunlight with pink and yellow clouds in the sky at Devil's Tower National Monument

Imposing its striking geologic silhouette against an expansive Wyoming sky, Devils Tower became the first national monument President Roosevelt established under the Antiquities Act in 1906.

Jewel Cave National Park

Jewel National Cave
Margaret River / flickr

The more than 180 miles of passages that have been mapped of Jewel Cave National Monument, making it the third longest in the world. The sparkling calcite crystals that line the cave’s walls earned this South Dakotan site its accolade as a jewel of the National Park System.

Mesa Verde National Park

The dwellings built into a cave at the cliffs of Mesa Verde National Park

Colorado’s Mesa Verde National Park was the first national park to be designated in honor of “the works of man." The remarkable cliff dwellings of the “green table” were home to the Ancestral Pueblo people for more than 700 years.

Tumacácori National Historical Park

Mission Church at Tumacácori National Historical Park in Arizona

The mission ruins of Arizona’s Tumacácori National Historical Park tell of a crossroads where numerous cultures met. The park was designated in 1908 to interpret the stories of conflict and cooperation that shaped the history of this region and our nation.                                   

Celebrate the second century of our National Park Service by remembering the origins of our national parks. They are lauded as a uniquely American idea; solidified by a preservationist who understood our key role in stewarding the natural and cultural resources entrusted to us in our national inheritance. Revel in President Theodore Roosevelt’s legacy at these national parks, or in any of the over 400 sites of the system where you can #FindYourPark / #EncuentraTuParque.


I would like to have some quotes from Theodore Roosevelt about the majesty of national parks.

Start a Conversation

This question is for testing whether or not you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.
Stay Inspired
Connect with the parks you love. Sign up to receive the latest NPF news, information on how you can support our national treasures, and travel ideas for your next trip to the parks. Join our community.