tv Charlie Rose WHUT December 26, 2011 9:00am-10:00am EST
tarja a salvo unless the everglades itself was set aside, ke yellowstone, as a national park. man as john f. lacey: the attempt to preserve and restore some of the wildlife of america is no longer looked upon as a fad or idle sentiment. we have given an awful exhibition of slaughter and destruction which may serve as a warning to all mankind. let us now give an example of wise conservation of what remains of the gifts
of nature. coyote: as america moved into a new century, a new word-- conservation--had crept into the nation's vocabulary. now a new president would turn the word into a movement. man: like all americans, i like big things--big prairies, big forests and mountains, big wheat fields,
railroads, and herds of cattle, too. cronon: i think it's hard to exaggerate the significance of theodore roosevelt in the history of american conservation. he creates a presidency when he arrives in the white house that sets in motion most of the conservation agendas that will define the first half of the 20th century. man: the key to teddy roosevelt's leadership was his passion, his audacity, the fact that he was an inspiring public speaker and enjoyed leading the
country. he was a person who turned the country in a different direction where conservation was concerned. coyote: in the spring of 1903, theodore roosevelt once again boarded a train headed west, and on april 8, he steed off at the northern pacific railroad terminal just outside
of yellowstone national park. he was no longer the scrawny and inexperienced easterner cowboys had laughed at and called "four-eyes" 20 years earlier. he was a national hero the leader of the rough riders in the war with spain, a former governor of new york state, president william mckinley's running mate in 1900 and now, following mckinley's assassination in 1901, the youngest president in united states history. man: the president unites in himself powers and qualities that rarely go together... the qualities of a man of action with those of a scholar and writer... the instincts and accomplishments of the best breeding and culture with the broadest democratic sympathies. he is doubtless the most vital man on the continent if not on the planet, today.
john burroughs. coyote: not since thomas jefferson a century earlier had there been an american president with greater interest in the natural world. jenkinson: roosevelt began his life as a naturalist. he formed theodore roosevelt's natural history museum as a child, and he was a taxidermist. he would find snakes and mice and other creatures and sometimes store them in the refrigerator, the icebox of his family. several maids quit over this. the house smelled of taxidermy. he had formaldehyde everywhere. this was a young boy who was fascinated by the idea of the museum and nature but all of this is preliminary. it wasn't until he went out to dakota in 1883 that roosevelt really started to understand what was at stake in the debate about the future of nature in this country.
coyote: "when i hear about the destruction of a species," he said, "i feel just as if the works "of some great writer had perished." jenkinson: i think it can be said that roosevelt invented the national wildlife refuge system. this was done by executive order alone. a national park needs to be voted on by a majority in two houses of congress. roosevelt said to his attorney general philander knox, "is there anything that would prevent me "from naming pelican island on the indian river in florida "a national bird sanctuary?" and knox, the attorney general said, "no, nothing." and so roosevelt said, "i do declare it." coyote: when roosevelt arrived in yellowstone he was in the middle of a national tour unprecedented in its ambition. 14,000 grueling miles. 25 states. 150 towns and cities. more than 200 speeches in the space of 8 weeks. from the day he left washington, he had been looking forward to some time off in yellowstone,
and immediately upon his arrival he set off on horseback with the army's acting park superintendent as his host, leaving the rest of the presidential entourage behind including his staff, his secret service men his physician, and all the reporters covering the trip. "as far as the world at large is concerned," his private secretary told the press "the president will be lost." only john burroughs, the popular nature writer, was allowed to come along. the summer tourist season was still two months away, so roosevelt had yellowstone essentially to himself. he loved every minute of it. he delighted in seeing so many animals-- herds of mule deer anwhitetails and pronghorn antelope flocks of bighorn sheep. he watched an eagle swoop down
to try to capture a yearling elk saw cougars feasting on the carcasses of their prey spent 4 hours one afternoon looking through his field glasses, trying to count all the elk within sight ultimately estimating them to number 3,000. on easter morning, the president of the united states insisted on leaving the campsite entirely on his own. he tramped 18 miles over rough ground in order to sneak up to within 50 yards of another elk herd, sat down on a rock, and gazed rapturously upon them while he ate his lunch of hardtack and sardines. one morning, president roosevelt was shaving, and he had lathered up his face with shaving cream and he was shaving himself in the wilderness with a little mirror when somebody came in and said "there are bighorn sheep out there
"and they're coming down this cliff." so, roosevelt said, "by godfrey, i have to see that," and he jumps up with half of his face clean-shaven and the other half full of lather and runs out into nature to see the bighorn sheep coming down this nearly sheer cliff. and burroughs said, "what kind of president is this?" qu he's just an overgrown boy who's so enthusiastic about nature that it infects everyone around him with a new enthusiasm for the natural world. coyote: roosevelt was witnessing firsthand the results of the wildlife protection bill he and george bird grinnell and congressman john lacey had worked so hard to pass. the game animals were now much more numerous he assured burroughs than when he had last visited the park 12 years earlier. still, the president was itching to shoot something. schullery: roosevelt will always baffle people who don't hunt
because he both loved animals and loved hunting them and in yellowstone what he really wanted to do was shoot a mountain lion. at the time, park managers were killing predators. it was something that was going on anyway. and so to roosevelt's mind "well, why not me?" coyote: the president's advisers thought killing any animal in a national park would be bad politics and quietly dissuaded him. in all, roosevelt spent two weeks in yellowstone including several days traveling in a horse-drawn sleigh to the park's interior still covered in some places by up to 6 feet of snow. he saw the norris geyser basin and old faithful and skied to the rim of the grand canyon of the yellowstone.
but these wonders held only passing interest to him compared to the park's wildlife. in addition to the larger animals, he recorded sightings of pine squirrels and snowshoe hares and scores of different birds, including a pygmy owl, the first he had ever seen. "he responded with boyish glee," burroughs wrote. "i think the president was as pleased "as if we had bagged some big game." at one point roosevelt sees a mouse that he thinks is new to science, so he jumps off the sleigh and grabs it with his hand and kills it and then stuffs it. man as john burroughs: while we all went fishing in the afternoon the president skinned his mouse and prepared the pelt for washington. it was done as neatly as a professed taxidermist would have done it. this was the only game the president killed in the park.
john burroughs. coyote: on april 24, at the end of roosevelt's visit the entire population of the town of gardiner, montana, gathered at the park's north entrance for a special ceremony. a new arch to welcome visitors to yellowstone was under construction and the president had agreed to speak at the laying of the arch's cornerstone. for the occasion roosevelt reluctantly changed out of his camping clothes, put on a business suit and rode through town to the awaiting crowd. he watched as the cornerstone was carefully put into place then climbed to a rough platform on the stonework of the incomplete pillar and began to speak.
man as theodore roosevelt: the yellowstone park is something absolutely unique in the world so far as i know. this park was created and is now administered for the benefit and enjoyment of the people. the scheme of its preservation is noteworthy in its essential democracy. the only way that the people as a whole can secure to themselves and their children the enjoyment in perpetuity of what the yellowstone park has to give is by assuming ownership in the name of the nation and jealously safeguarding and preserving the scenery, the forests and the wild creatures. jenkinson: roosevelt argued that the parks are a democratic experience. that was his essential argument about the national parks that the rich people always have their playgrounds,
they know how to amuse themselves, and that america as a classless society or at least a society needs to have places where regular human beings can go and stand side by side with the rich and privileged and enjoy the same experience and not be made to feel that they are somehow less. and so his primary argument was that the national parks are a democratic experiment in nature. coyote: before he got back on the train to resume his trip roosevelt also deliberately quoted from the act of congress that had made yellowstone the world's first national park-- "for the benefit and enjoyment of the people." later, when the arch was finally completed, that phrase would be permanently carved into its mantle so that everyone who entered yellowstone would be reminded of why the park was there
and for whom. johnson: i remember the first time i arrived in yellowstone, i got off the bus right outside the north entrance where there's that wonderful stone arch that says "for the benefit and enjoyment of the people." it doesn't say "for the benefit and enjoyment "of some of the people or a few of the people." it says, "all of the people," and for me that meant democracy and for me that meant i was welcome and i stepped outside, and as i was stepping down onto the ground, there was bison, a 2,000-pound animal walking by, and there was no one else around. the bison was just strolling by. and i looked up at the driver and i said "does this happen all the time?" and he looked at me and said "all the time." and i said to myself "i've arrived," and i can't imagine being in any other place and to be honest with you, once i stepped off that bus, i never got back on. [whistle blows]
coyote: two weeks after leaving yellowstone, roosevelt's whirlwind tour brought him to arizona's grand canyon for a brief stop on the way from new mexico to southern california. roosevelt had never before seen the grand canyon and he was overwhelmed by the vista from the south rim. he longed to spend more time there, but his schedule permitted only this quick visit and a few remarks to the crowd that had gathered to greet him. man as theodore roosevelt: i want to ask you to do one thing in connection with it in your own interest and in the interest of the country. keep this great wonder of nature as it now is.
leave it as it is. you cannot improve it. the ages have been at work on it and man can only mar it. what you can do is to keep it for your children, your children's children and for all who come after you as one of the great sights which every american if he can travel at all, should see. jenkinson: the great statement in this speech is "leave it as it is. "the ages have been at work on it "and man can only mar it." nothing has ever been said about the national parks as fine as that. the idea for roosevelt was that humans have an itch to change things... but the beauty of the grand canyon is when you look at it and you see nothing that humans have constructed.
it's a magnificent thing that he said and if that were the one wilderness statement of american life i believe it's greater than thoreau. i believe that it's greater than john muir. "leave it as it is. the ages have been at work on it "and man can only mar it" should be the motto in front of every national park in the country. and if you think that this was said by a man on a 14,000-mile trip in which he gave 262 speeches more or less off the top of his head on seeing the grand canyon for the first time you realize what presidential greatness can be. coyote: then roosevelt was gone... and by the next day, he was whistle-stopping his way through california giving 2 to 3 speeches a day attending banquets and dinners in his honor presiding at dedications and groundbreakings,
setting the frenetic pace that had become his hallmark. [bird cawing] man as john muir: nothing can at a speed of 40 miles a day. far more time should be taken. walk away quietly in any direction and taste the freedom of the mountaineer. climb the mountains and get their good tidings. nature's peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. the winds will blow their own freshness into you and the storms their energy while cares will drop off like autumn leaves. coyote: by 1903, john muir was 65 and more famous than ever. mountain peaks and canyons campsites and glaciers
now bore his name. magazica editors besieged him with requests for articles. the sierra club he had founded was growing steadily and the hikes he personally led into the mountains were always the club's most heavily attended. people loved to hear him preach his deeply held gospel that salvation could be found through immersion in the natural world. woman: john muir was there mounted on the horse which he rode now and then when no woman would accept the loan of it. he was rapt, entranced. he threw up his arms in a grand gesture. "this is the morning of creation," he cried. "the whole thing is beginning now." "the mountains are singing together." harriet monroe. coyote: for nearly a decade now,
he had been struggling to have the yosemite valley given back to the federal government and made part of the larger yosemite national park. but nothing he seemed to say or do had proven successful. things remained at a standstill in the spring of 1903, as muir prepared to leave his home in martinez, california and embark on a trip to europe and asia with some friends. suddenly, his plans changed. man as john muir: an influential man from washington wants to make a trip into the sierra with me, and i might be able to do some forest good, in freely talking around the campfire. coyote: it was the president still working his way up through california asking muir to accompany him during a visit to yosemite. "i do not want anyone with me but you,"
roosevelt had written. "i want to drop politics absolutely "and just be out in the open with you." muir realized this was the opportunity of a lifetime. he purchased a brand-new woolen suit for the occasion and hurried to join the presidential entourage. on may 15, they set off for the mariposa grove of big trees in a flurry of activity. a long caravan of wagons filled with staff and dignitaries a detachment of 30 buffalo soldiers riding along as escorts. muir soon found himself seated in the president's coach along with the governor of california, the secretary of the navy, the surgeon general, two college presidents and roosevelt's personal secretary. it was hardly the trip he had been promised but muir tried his best to squeeze in words
to the president and governor about the issue of making all of yosemite a national park. in the grove of mighty sequoias, the president's group paused as all tourists did, for a snapshot at the famous wawona tunnel tree and later, they posed for an official photograph lined up along the base of the grizzly giant the oldest and most famous sequoia in yosemite, estimated to be 2,700 years old and boasting a single branch that was 6 1/2 feet in diameter. then the troops, the phalanx of reporters and photographers and virtually all of the official party headed back to the wawona hotel, where a series of receptions and a grand dinner were scheduled in the president's honor that evening. none of them knew that roosevelt had no intention of attending.
instead, he remained behind with only john muir and a few park employees who started preparing a camp at the base of one of the sequoias part of a secret plan roosevelt had hatched to allow him time alone with the trees and the man who considered them sacred. they built a fire and sat around it, eating a simple supper, talking as twilight enveloped them getting to know one another in the glow of the blaze. man as theodore roosevelt: the night was clear, and in the darkening aisles of the great sequoia grove the majestic trunks, beautiful in color and symmetry, rose around us like the pillars of a mightier cathedral than ever was conceived even by the fervor of the middle ages. hermit thrushes sang beautifully in the evening.
jenkinson: and muir said "i fell in love with this theodore roosevelt." i mean, he actually used those words. "you can't resist this man. i fell in love with him." roosevelt, interestingly enough, came back and complained a little bit about muir and said, "he doesn't know his bird songs." roosevelt's an ornithologist. he knows everything there is to know about birds. but muir also got one off on roosevelt. he said to him, "mr. president "when are you going to get over this infantile need you have "to kill animals?" roosevelt would not have taken that from any other human being. man as john muir: i had a perfectly glorious time with the president and the mountains. i never before had a more interesting hearty, and manly companion. i stuffed him pretty well regarding the timber thieves and other spoilers of the forest. coyote: long after sundown with no tent and only a pile of army blankets,
the two men finally went to sleep. [horse whinnying] coyote: the next morning at 6:30, they saddled up for the long ride to yosemite valley, with the guide under strict orders from the president to avoid at all costs the wawona hotel and the delegation of officials he had jilted the night before. in the high country near glacier point with its spectacular panorama of the valley and its waterfalls arrayed at their feet, they stopped and once more made camp at a spot their guide-- charlie leidig--had picked out. man as charlie leidig: around the campfire, roosevelt and muir talked far into the night regarding muir's glacial theory of the formation of yosemite valley. they also talked a great deal about the protection of forests in general and yosemite in particular.
i heard them discussing the setting aside there was some difficulty in their campfire conversation because both men wanted to do the talking. coyote: they awoke the next morning covered by a light snow that had fallen in the high country during the night. rather than feeling inconvenienced the president couldn't have been more delighted. "we slept in a snowstorm last night," he exclaimed to the crowds that had been patiently waiting for him on the valley floor. "this," he said, "has been the grandest day of my life." after camping one more night alone with muir, the president was picked up and escorted back to the train station for the resumption of his cross-country tour. and when he spoke at the state capital in sacramento
a day later, roosevelt's words sounded as if they could have come from the lips of john muir. man as theodore roosevelt: lying out at night under those sequoias was lying in a temple built by no hand of man. a temple grander than any human architect could by any possibility build and i hope for the preservation of the groves of giant trees simply because it would be a shame to our civilization to let them disappear. they are monuments in themselves. i want them preserved. we are not building this country of ours for a day. it is to last through the ages. coyote: within 3 years the california legislature and united states congress approved the transfer of the yosemite valley
and mariposa big trees back to the federal government. man as john muir: i am now an experienced lob ist. my political education is complete. have attended the legislature, made speeches, explained, exhorted, persuaded every mother's son of the legislators newspaper reporters, who would listen to me. and now that the fight is finished and my education as a politician and lobbyist is finished i am almost finished myself. coyote: yosemite national park now encompassed almost everything muir had been fighting for. "sound the timbrel," he wrote a friend, "and let every yosemite tree and stream rejoice." johnson: i remember one day i was walking
in the cook's meadow which is the meadow in the central part of yosemite valley, and there was a woman there, and she was just looking up and around her and she just kept saying "oh. oh, my. "oh, my." i looked at her, i said, "ma'am, are you all right?" she said, "yes, i'm just fine. i just--oh." i didn't have to talk to her about the transcendent experience. she was having one, and it wasn't a transcendent experience because it was a national park. it was transcendent because it was yosemite valley. but because it had become a national park, she could have that transcendent experience. and that's commonplace in yosemite. and where else can you get an experience like that? [bird cawing]
woman: in other parts of the world there are certain areas that are preserved because some rich nobleman out of the goodness of his heart decided to decree it. but in the united states you don't have to be dependent on some rich guy being generous to you. to me that's what national parks mean. it's a symbol of democracy democracy when it works well. at its best. coyote: back in 1870 a 15-year-old boy in kansas was idly reading the newspaper that had been used to wrap his lunch. he came across an article about a mysterious sunken lake in oregon and he vowed to visit it one day. it would take william gladstone steel 15 years to get there. man as william steel: imagine a vast
mountain, 6 by 7 miles through at an elevation of 8,000 feet with the top removed and the inside hollowed out, then filled with the clearest water in the world and you have a perfect representation of crater lake. coyote: when a volcanic eruption witnessed by the ancestors of the klamath indians blew the top off a mountain peak in the cascades 7,700 years ago, the hole that was left began slowly filling with each year's rainfall and snowmelt. the result was crater lake-- at 1,942 feet, the deepest lake in america. because it is filled almost entirely by snowfall, the lake is also the world's clearest. an 8-inch disc lowered into its sky-blue waters is still visible 142 feet below the surface.
william steel resolved that it should be protected forever just like yellowstone and the other parks. that quest took him another 17 years of tireless promotion and lobbying before he finally succeeded in 1902, when crater lake became the nation's sixth national park. and it had all happened because of this accidental lunchtime reading 32 years earlier. duncan: the parks, they're the greatest spots on earth, wonderful natural places but the story of national parks really isn't a story about the place. it's--it's the story of people who fell in love with those places, people who became so devoted to them that they wanted to do anything they could to save them.
smith: richard wetherill. he's broadening out from mesa verde. he wants to make people aware that we have such a treasure such a heritage here and yet here's this cowboy. a cowboy, and we all know what cowboys are. we read in our dime novels. they can't be doing anything scholarly. coyote: despite his lack of formal education, richard wetherill wanted to be taken seriously as an archaeologist. he had left mesa verde and began scouring the southwest in search of other ruins. his journey took him from colorado to utah and arizona and finally to new mexico, to a place called chaco canyon. another eerily silent set of ruins left behind by the ancient puebloans. with walls of remarkable workmanship,
some rising 5 stories, pueblo bonito, the biggest ruin, contained remnants of an enclosed plaza 35 circular kivas, more than 2 acres honeycombed by 650 rooms connected by small passageways and doors. the religious and cultural hub of the civilization that had dominated the surrounding region between 850 a.d. and 1200 a.d. by itself, pueblo bonito was several times larger than anything at mesa verde and it sat in the midst of an array of nearly a dozen other significant ruins. wetherill moved there with his wife marietta filed a homestead claim, and hired nearly 100 navajos to help with the excavations. though wetherill tried to carry on his work as carefully and scientifically as possible,
professional archaeologists still dismissed him as a pothunter. and as the relics he was unearthing reached eastern museums, 50,000 pieces of turquoise 10,000 pieces of pottery 5,000 stone implements and much more, they clamored for the government to do something to stop him. smith: richard wetherill was very careful identifying everything he found. a he was ahead of the professional archaeologists, which is an oxymoron at that time but he was ahead of them and i think they were jealous of him. there's a snobbishness. educated easterners can't believe that a western cowboy could possibly be doing these things. coyote: for his part wetherill said he would gladly turn over any portions of chaco canyon if the federal government would simply do something to protect them. but the criticism of wetherill's work
would not go away. [bird cawing] coyote: meanwhile, back at mesa verde the ruins wetherill had first discovered were in danger. thieves, pot hunters and tourists were flocking to the site, looting the artifacts, damaging the ancient struc sometimes even setting off sticks of dynamite simply to frighten awa now a new group had taken up the cause of protecting its treasures. woman: mesa verde seems to be set apart for a park and to make and keep it as such is the aim of the colorado cliff dwellings association of women. virginia mcclurg. coyote: virginia mcclurg was a well-known lecturer with a seemingly boundless determination
to leave her mark on the world. she gathered a group of women into the colorado cliff dwellings association, organized petitions, wrote personal letters to the president held rummage sales and solicited 10-cent contributions from other women's groups across the country. and it was working. support for protecting mesa verde had become a national cause. but just when congress seemed ready to act, it became clear to those around her that virginia mcclurg had a different vision of how mesa verde should be preserved. woman as virginia mcclurg: i do not see why this small and compact tract in the proposed park should not be under the protective care of a body of 125 women with hereditary membership who know more about the matter and care about the matter than anyone else.
virginia became so engrossed in it that it suddenly was not our park as a nation it was her park. coyote: twice mcclurg even negotiated leases between her group and the ute indians only to have the federal government remind her that private citizens cannot make treaties. the uproar she created threatened to derail the bill in congress at the very moment it seemed headed for passage. even some of her closest allies now suspected that virginia mcclurg had lost sight of the real goal. lucy peabody, the asn'ciegioats vice regent, had preferred to get results rather than grab headlines. she believed that only as a national park could mesa verde be properly saved for future generations and now felt compelled to resign from the association.
wien hpo wert many other members including some of the group's most nationally prominent women. mcclurg, once the darling of the press found herself disparaged in newspaper editorials. smith: there was a sadness in all this. at the moment of your greatest achievement, you lose it. i--i think it's a normal reaction. this becomes so possessive with her that to have it within your grasp, right there, and it's gone. coyote: on june 29, 1906 president roosevelt signed the law creating mesa verde national park, the first of its kind, meant to celebrate not majestic natural scenery but a prehistoric culture and its people. with mesa verde protected,
anger over richard wetherill's excavations at chaco canyon in new mexico boiled over and set in motion events that would change the course of park history. smith: the bill for mesa verde was just for mesa verde, bu there's sites all over the southwest, and the same thing's happening there. coyote: once more, representative john f. lacey came to the rescue of places nowhere near and nothing like his native iowa. he sponsored a new bill to make any unauthorized disturbance of any prehistoric ruin a federal crime. the act for the preservation of american antiquities also granted the president of the united states an extraordinary power: the exclusive authority without any congressional approval to set aside places that would be called not national parks but national monuments.
man: john f. lacey gave the president the greatest power a president could ever have for the preservation of nature which allowed the president to do something as simple as pick up a pen and declare an area of the public domain a national monument, and since teddy roosevelt happened to be the president at the time, was that a gift or what? bully. delighted. teddy roosevelt picked up that pen and started creating national monuments and the country would never be the same again. coyote: roosevelt quickly put his new powers to use. he proclaimed the first national monum a unique mass of grooved rock sacred to several indian tribes rising nearly 900 feet above the plains of eastern wyoming. it was called devil's tower.
then he named el morro national monument in new mexico, a rock abutment bearing prehistoric indian petroglyphs as well as the inscriptions of early spanish expeditions that had come north from mexico 300 years earlier and founded a colony 15 years before the pilgrims landed at plymouth rock. and on march 11, 1907, he did exactly what richard wetherill had wanted and created chaco canyon national monument. roosevelt would also use the antiquities act to protect an endangered grove of coastal redwoods north of san francisco named in honor of the man who had first introduced roosevelt to the giant trees-- muir woods. man as john muir: the man of science, the naturalist, too often loses sight of the essential oneness
of all living beings in seeking to classify them in kingdoms orders, species, etc. while the eye of the poet, the seer never closes on the kinship of all god's creatures. and his heart ever beats in sympathy with great and small alike as earth-borne companions and fellow mortals equally dependent on heaven's eternal love. coyote: in 1905, john muir's life had been beset by sorrow. his devoted life louie died of lung cancer and he buried her next to her parents near an orchard on their farm. president roosevelt, who had lost his first wife as a young man and then found solace in the open spaces of the west sent his personal condolences.
"get out among the mountains and trees, friend," he wrote. "they will do more for you than either man or woman could." but the aging mountaineer went instead w the eserts of arizona, tn where it was hoped his daughter helen might recover fromne ponia. in his grief, he began exp and discovered that in fact he was, once again in a majestic forest only this one was 200 million years old and all of the trees had long ago fossilized into solid rock. it was the petrified forest. ehrlich: i think parks represent the wildness inside us. they're the place where we can be lonely where we can experience solitude.
they're a place we go to as refuge, as sanctuary. it's a place we go out to to come back in. it's the only place perhaps left in many people's lives where that's possible. coyote: soon, muir was himself again, sometimes taking total strangers on long walks through the tumbled and broken stone trees. in what he now called "these enchanted carboniferous forests," he loved nothing more than to sit near the trunk of a petrified tree and inspect it minutely with a magnifying glass. but even this forest was endangered. scavengers used dynamite in hopes of finding amethyst crystals inside them. boxcar loads of petrified wood were being shipped east
to be made into tabletops and mantelpieces. an enormous stone crusher was being constructed to pulverize the logs for use as industrial abrasives. for years, john f. lacey had been trying to protect the area by making it a national park. congress would not go along. but john muir knew somebody who now could save his enchanted forest with a stroke of his pen. president roosevelt invoked the antiquities act again, and petrified forest national monument was created. man as theodore roosevelt: there is nothing more practical than the preservation of beauty, than the preservation of anything that appeals to the higher emotions of mankind. i believe we are past the stage of national existence
when we could look on complacently at thendividual who skinned the land and was content for the sake of 3 years' profit for himself to leave a desert for the children of those who were to inherit the soil. jenkinson: if government doesn't protect the weakest elements of humanity and the weakest elements of nature... the whole game is lost. that was an incredible breakthrough for a man who grew up in a profoundly republican household in an age of j.p. morgan and john rockefeller. there's a paradox at the very center of american life. we are meant to be the most materially happy, wealthiest, most privileged people who ever lived on earth. that's one version of the american dream. we are also thoreau's americans and jefferson's americans,
and roosevelt's grand canyon americans. we want that, and somehow we've gotten it into our heads that we can have both, and maybe we can. but roosevelt understood that we can only have both if we severely restrain our acquisitive energies for some parts of this continent. that's the key. udall: we used to talk about teddy roosevelt having distance in his eyes... and that's what's important, is to have this strong, powerful part of our heritage vivid so that people can understand it and appreciate it. coyote: before his presidency was over he would create 5 new national parks 51 federal bird sanctuaries, 4 national game refuges, 18 national monuments, and more than 100 million acres worth of national forests.
now roosevelt wanted one more national park added to his list, the place he had urged the citizens of arizona to leave as it is-- the grandest canyon on earth. developers were already erecting buildings miners were filing claims, and ranchers were grazing cattle all along the south rim. but even theodore roosevelt could not persuade congress to act. local sentiment and vested interests were just too powerful. the president looked for some way, any way to prevent the canyon from becoming another commercialized niagara falls. he found his solution in the antiquities act. cronon: it was written basically to try to prevent the destruction of indian archaeological sites
in the american southwest, the idea being that there were people going in and robbing these graves and that that needed to be stopped. and so a law is written that says the president can very quickly set aside a tract of land as a national monument and that's a fairly narrow purpose. but there were no restrictions in the law, and teddy roosevelt quite quickly realized that you could set aside land for reasons other than archaeology and the great beneficiary of that law would be the grand canyon. coyote: the wording of the antiquities act referred to protection "objects of historic and scientific interest," and though it had contemplated only small-sized parcels up to then, no more than 5,000 ac it did not absolutely restrict the number of acres a president could set aside. on january 11, 1908, declaring the grand canyon
"an object of unusual scientific interest, "being the greatest eroded canyon "within the united states," roosevelt set aside 806,400 acres as a national monument. it would not enjoy the same protections as a national park but it was a step in the right direction. politicians in arizona were outraged and threatened to challenge roosevelt in court. members of congress complained that the president had overstepped his authority. he ignored them all. udall: a lot of westerners powerful westerners, congressmen, senators, were opposed and critical... and that was part of teddy roosevelt's power that he could overwhelm the wishes of local people and dared to do it. jenkinson: well, there was furor.
there is always furor when these things happen. short-term. but roosevelt understood that short-term controversy over nature leads to long-term benefit. roosevelt's view was that an intact environment is infinitely more valuable spiritually and economically than an extracted one. udall: but history always vindicates, always vindicates what they did. there's not a single person in arizona today who would say the grand canyon was a mistake. man as john muir: the very first reservation that ever was made in this world, the garden of eden contained only one tree. the smallest reservation that ever
was made. yet no sooner was it made than it was attacked by everybody in the world-- the devil, one woman and one man. this has been the history of every reservation that has been made since that time, that is, as soon as a reservation is once created, then the thieves and the devil and his relations come forward to attack it. duncan: he said, "nothing dollarable is safe"... and it's like this insight into human beings, but particularly americans. he understood this relentless grasp of american commerce. it wants to reach into everything. and he realized that if a dollar value could be attached to in his mind, a sacred place,
it was vulnerable. coyote: since the start of the 20th century, the city of san francisco had been looking for a better supply of water to fuel its growth and it had set its sights on the tuolumne river and the hetch hetchy valley as the perfect place for a dam and reservoir, a narrow valley remote enough to assure that the waters trapped from the yearly sierra runoff would stay pure. the fact that it was within the boundaries of yosemite national park only added to its attractiveness to city planners. no competing claims to water rights existed. the only land owner to deal with was the federal government. damming and flooding hetch hetchy would be cheaper and easier than finding alternative sites. man as john muir: that anyone would try to destroy such a place seems incredible, but sad experience shows that there are people
good enough and bad enough for anything. coyote: to john muir allowing a dam in any national park would betray the very purpose of parks and even worse in his eyes set a dangerous precedent for the future. hetch hetchy was among his favorite places in yosemite. he called it "one of nature's rarest "and most precious mountain temples." with its own majestic waterfalls and massive granite faces, it had all the beauty of the more famous yosemite valley 20 miles tthe south, he said without the clutter of tourist hotels. when he had helped draw the boundary lines for the national park back in 1890 he had deliberately included hetch hetchy. man as john muir: these temple destroyers,
devotees of ravaging commercialism seem to have a perfect contempt for nature and instead of lifting their eyes to the god of the mountains, lift them to the almighty dollar. dam hetch hetchy. as well, dam for water-tanks the people's cathedrals and churches for no holier temple has ever been consecrated by the heart of man. coyote: at first muir's view had prevailed. theodore roosevelt's interior secretary turned down san francisco's application 3 different times. then on april 18, 1906 a tremendous earthquake had shaken san francisco bringing down hundreds of buildings and ignitisi fires that consumed most of the city killing thousands.
with san francisco reduced to ashes politicians redoubled their efforts for a reservoir at hetch hetchy, claiming falsely that its water supply could have prevented the destruction. in a referendum, san franciscans voted 7-1 in favor of the dam. the city's mayor launched a campaign attacking muir's character for trying to obstruct the project. even muir's own sierra club split over the issue with some prominent members advocating the dam. man: they loved yosemite but they loved yosemite in a kind of additive way. it wasn't at the core of their understanding of america. and for them in san francisco, the city came first. coyote: meanwhile, an old adversary of muir's stepped forward on the city's behalf-- gifford pinchot.
as the nation's top forester and president roosevelt's trusted adviser, pinchot had become one of the most powerful men in washington. at his urging, roosevelt had reserved millions of acres of western land as national forests in the face of congressional opposition. pinchot steadfastly believed that conservation meant wise use of nature not preserving it for its own sake and he had never been a wholehearted supporter of national parks, let alone john muir's unbending vision of protecting and expanding them. when a new interior secretary joined the administration, pinchot began lobbying him in support of the dam. in response, muir once again took his case to the man with whom he had shared 3 magical nights in the park back in 1903-- the outdoorsman he considered a friend and kindred spirit.
man as john muir: april 21 1908. dear mr. president a few promoters of the present scheme all show forth a proud set of confidence that comes from a good, sound, substantial irrefragable ignorance. hetch hetchy is one of the most sublime and beautiful and important features of the park, and to dam and submerge it would be hardly less destructive and deplorable than would be the damming of yosemite itself. faithfully and devotedly yours john muir. man as theodore roosevelt: my dear mr. muir pinchot is rather favorable to the hetch hetchy plan. i have sent him your letter with a request for a report on it. i will do everything in my power to protect not only the yosemite
which we have already protected, but other similar great natural beauties of this country. but you must remember that it is out of the question permanently to protect them, unless we have a certain degree of friendliness toward them on the part of the people of the state in which they are situated. cronon: what makes the conflict between muir and pinchot so bitter, so personal is that 2 really wonderful visions of the human good, both of which are worth celebrating, are on a collision course, and that collision course meets in hetch hetchy valley in yosemite national park. for one man, muir, that valley and that park are a cathedral, and anything that might desecrate that cathedral is blasphemy. it is a--it is a sacrilege against god. for the other man, pinchot these are resources that serve the common good.