November 18, 2010

T.R. on the Democracy of Wilderness

Photo courtesy of Library of Congress.

From its very nature, the life of a hunter is evanescent; and when it has vanished there can be no real substitute in old settled countries. Shooting in a private game preserve is but a dismal parody; the manliest and healthiest features of the sport are lost with the change of conditions. We need, in the interest of the community at large; a rigid system of game laws rigidly enforced, and it is not only admissible, but one may also say necessary, to establish, under the control of the State, great national forest reserves, which shall also be breeding grounds and nurseries for wild game; but I should much regret to see grow up in this country a system of large private game preserves, kept for the enjoyment of the very rich. One of the chief attractions of the life of the wilderness is its rugged and stalwart democracy; there every man stands for what he actually is, and can show himself to be. -Theodore Roosevelt

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October 18, 2010

Celebrate Theodore Roosevelt’s Birthday by Supporting the TRCP

Deerskin suit, rifle in hand. Photo courtesy of USNPS.

Born Oct. 27, 1858, Theodore Roosevelt created enough federal wildlife reservations, national game preserves, national forests, national parks and national monuments in his lifetime to conserve 234 million acres of wild America.

A man of deep convictions and above all a man of action, Roosevelt had the foresight to take on the issues still so significant to sportsmen today, understanding that if we want to ensure that critical fish and wildlife habitat, special hunting grounds and secret fishing holes will be around for future generations, we must act now.

In the spirit of T.R., on this, his 152nd birthday, take action on the conservation issues that matter the most to you. The TRCP is working every day to sustain our nation’s irreplaceable outdoor heritage. Your help can guarantee that all Americans have access to high-quality places to hunt and fish – now and forever.

Support the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership today.

September 18, 2010

Roosevelt on the Pleasure (and Pain) of Wily White-tails

White-tail deer are very canny, and know perfectly well what threatens danger and what does not. … We were reluctant to molest them, but one day, having performed our usual weekly or fortnightly feat of eating up about everything there was in the house, it was determined that two deer (for it was late in autumn and they were then well grown) should be sacrificed. Accordingly one of us sallied out, but found that the sacrifice was not to be consummated so easily, for the should-be victims appeared to distinguish perfectly well between a mere passer-by, whom they regarded with absolute indifference, and anyone who harbored sinister designs. They kept such a sharp look-out, and made off so rapidly if any one tried to approach them, that on two evenings the appointed hunter returned empty-handed, and by the third someone else had brought in a couple of black-tail. After that no necessity arose for molesting the two “tame deer,” for whose sound common-sense we had all acquired a greatly increased respect.

– Excerpt from Theodore Roosevelt on Hunting

July 4, 2010

Theodore Roosevelt a Proud American President

In honor of July Fourth, here are a few Theodore Roosevelt quotations reflecting his hopes for America.

“Is America a weakling, to shrink from the work of the great world powers? No! The young giant of the West stands on a continent and clasps the crest of an ocean in either hand. Our nation, glorious in youth and strength, looks into the future with eager eyes and rejoices as a strong man to run a race.”

“The country needs and, unless I mistake its temper, the country demands bold persistent experimentation. It is common sense to take a method and try it, if it fails, admit it frankly and try another, but above all, try something.”

“It is by no means necessary that a great nation should always stand at the heroic level. But no nation has the root of greatness in it unless in time of need it can rise to the heroic mood.” 

June 18, 2010

Theodore Roosevelt and John Burroughs

In a world before radio, television and the Internet, Theodore Roosevelt was a voracious reader. He read at least one book per day, and his interests covered an enormously wide range of subjects. One can only imagine what a man with his energy and curiosity would have consumed had he access to Google, Twitter and Facebook.

Among his favorite authors was the nature writer and essayist John Burroughs. When the two met in 1889, it marked the beginning of a 30-year friendship — which only ended with Roosevelt’s death in 1919.

The two were polar opposites in many ways. T.R. was a mercurial, animated and action-driven man of science while Burroughs was an introspective, contemplative and poetic observer of nature. T.R. hunted throughout his life, whereas Burroughs gave it up as he grew older. Burroughs loved to fish, especially for brook trout in his beloved Catskill Mountains, while T.R. did not particularly enjoy the sport.

Regardless of these differences they developed a deep and abiding admiration for each other. Soon after meeting T.R., Burroughs wrote, “I thought him very rigorous, alive all over, with a great variety of interests. … It was surprising how well he knew the birds and animals. He’s a rare combination of sportsman and the naturalist.”

Roosevelt in turn dedicated his 1905 book, “Outdoor Pleasures of an American Outdoorsman,” to Burroughs.

“Every lover of outdoor life must feel a sense of affectionate obligation to you,” Roosevelt wrote. “Your writings appeal to all who care for the life of the woods and fields, whether their tastes keep them in the homely, pleasant farm country or lead them into the wilderness. It is a good thing for our people that you should have lived: surely no man can wish to have more said of him.”

In reference to the two-week camping trip the two took in Yellowstone National Park in 1903, T.R. continued, “You were with me on one of the trips described in this volume, and I trust that to look it over will recall the pleasant days we spent together.” Their writings are enjoyed by sportsmen, conservationists and lovers of literature nearly 100 years after their deaths — a fact that would please them both to no end.

HOW YOU CAN HELP

WHAT WILL FEWER HUNTERS MEAN FOR CONSERVATION?

The precipitous drop in hunter participation should be a call to action for all sportsmen and women, because it will have a significant ripple effect on key conservation funding models.

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