Happy anniversary, you little minx. What does one give in celebration of 100 years?
Today we celebrate the anniversary of the official designation of Grand Canyon National Park in 1919. Now globally recognized as one of America’s crown jewels, the big ditch was not an overnight success.
It was already 30 to 70 million years old before we got around to recognizing it officially.
Congress tried to grant the area protections as early as the 1880s, but could never quite seal the deal. Along came the great conservationist, President Theodore Roosevelt. Even as a highly quotable dude, some of his most impassioned pleas were at the behest of the Grand Canyon. Notably: “Let this great wonder of nature remain as it is. You cannot improve on it.”
With powers granted by his own Antiquities Act, Roosevelt established the Grand Canyon National Monument in 1908. A big leap, to be sure, but it still took another 11 years before Woodrow Wilson was finally able to secure national park designation in 1919.
If you’re in the neighborhood, the Park Service is planning a big centennial celebration. Details are in progress, and will updated on the Park’s event calendar. One thing is certain: there will be cake.
Photo by W. Tyson Joye