EP 403 Leave It As It Is: You Can’t Improve It

One wag called it a ‘conservationist rom-com’, when the big personality of Theordore Roosevelt came into contact with the big hole, The Grand Canyon. It was there that he spoke the words which became the title of David Gessner’s new book, ‘Leave It As It Is’. Yet, it seems that Americans can’t leave well enough alone. As tourists, we want a closer look and amenities that take it from its natural state to something more tame(illustration: Niagara Falls)and as policymakers we are susceptible to the pressures and money provided by special interests to turn back protected lands for commercial purposes. Thankfully, places like Yellowstone and Yosemite were protected as parks and it took TR to do the same for the Grand Canyon. His passage of the Antiquities Act put in place one of the most important tools possible to protect our natural environment and yet there are constant challenges to its scope and intent up until this very moment. Mr. Gessner set out to re-create TR’s travels in the West and re-capture the beauty of the land, while also focusing on the challenges to keep it that way and the complex character of the man, who may have been the last president to truly love the outdoors and want to make its preservation his lasting legacy. In this podcast, we discuss the pressures on public lands, including the Arctic Wildlife Refuge in Alaska.