1s02044 - President Roosevelt amid "Nature's Wonders" - driving through Wawona, Big Trees of California
"I am, oh, so glad to be here, to be in this majestic and beautiful grove, to see the wonderful redwoods, and I thank you for giving me the chance, and I do hope that it will be your object to preserve them as nature made them and left them, for the future." Theodore Roosevelt, Santa Cruz, Ca.
Theodore Roosevelt fell for the redwood tree at first sight. Before meeting John Muir for their famous 1903 Yosemite camping trip, Roosevelt had his first glimpse of a sequoia in Santa Cruz, California. Afterwards, he requested that seeing more redwoods be added to his itinerary.
On May 15th, during the first day of their adventure, Muir and Roosevelt went to Mariposa Grove of Big Trees to see the sequoias. Roosevelt and his party did the usual picture taking among the giant trees. Here, Roosevelt can be seen standing as the tour car enters a living tree.
The first sequoias Roosevelt saw had placards with ads and other information nailed into the majestic trees. In a speech he made in Santa Cruz, he asked the crowd to "Take those cards pinned up on that tree; they give an air of the ridiculous to this solemn and majestic grove. To pin those cards up there is as much out of place as if you tacked so many tin cans up there."
After his two week California trip to promote conservation, Roosevelt urged Congress to protect as many redwoods as possible via the National Park system. Due to Roosevelt's efforts, the boundaries of the Yosemite National Park now include Mariposa Grove.