“What park will you visit for Number One Hundred?” I was asked this in the fall as we passed the 80th park and the goal was coming in sight.
I hadn’t thought about it. It made sense that the 100th park should be a significant one. The season and the distance prevented me from choosing Yellowstone or Yosemite, or even Hot Springs, Ark., the first reservation of land to protect a natural resource. So I picked a site that honored a person that played a significant role in the establishment of our system of National Parks and Monuments.
The ranger at Edgar Allan Poe’s house told us that no one gets more than one park park “unless you are Lincoln or a Roosevelt”. Teddy Roosevelt spent much of his early life in the western territories of the US, and campaigned in the west, even visiting there while he was president.
When he was at the Grand Canyon, he expressed great love for the natural features of our country: “Leave it as it is. You cannot improve on 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, and for all who come after you, as the one great sight which every American… should see.”
So I chose for the 100th park Sagamore Hill NHS, Roosevelt’s home on Long Island. Unfortunately, the house has a “no pictures” policy to help preserve the items. You can see some interior photos on the website. The house is full of treasures that he collected himself or were given to him on his world travels.
TR was the first president to conduct significant amounts of government business in the summer away from Washington, so the house became the first “Summer White House”. The Library (shown in a website picture) served as his study, and the place where he worked. He could sit by the window and see any visitors that were arriving. On the wall hang pictures of men whom he admired: Abraham Lincoln, John Marshall, Ulysses Grant, George Washington, and his father.
#Continental Pete traveled to the site with us. We brought along a banner to celebrate the completion of 100 Parks in the 100th Year.