Theodore Roosevelt: An Autobiography

By Theodore Roosevelt | Go to book overview
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CHAPTER XI
THE NATURAL RESOURCES OF THE NATION

WHEN Governor of New York, as I have already described, I had been in consultation with Gifford Pinchot and F. H. Newell, and had shaped my recommendations about forestry largely in accordance with their suggestions. Like other men who had thought about the national future at all, I had been growing more and more concerned over the destruction of the forests.

While I had lived in the West I had come to realize the vital need of irrigation to the country, and I had been both amused and irritated by the attitude of Eastern men who obtained from Congress grants of National money to develop harbors and yet fought the use of the Nation's power to develop the irrigation work of the West. Major John Wesley Powell, the explorer of the Grand Cañon, and Director of the Geological Survey, was the first man who fought for irrigation, and he lived to see the Reclamation Act passed and construction actually begun. Mr. F. H. Newell, the present Director of the Reclamation Service, began his work as an assistant hydraulic engineer under Major Powell; and, unlike Powell, he appreciated the need of saving the forests and the soil as well as the need of irrigation. Between Powell and Newell came, as Director of the Geological Survey, Charles D. Walcott, who, after the Reclamation Act was passed, by his force, pertinacity, and tact, succeeded in putting the act into effect in the best possible manner. Senator Francis G. Newlands, of Nevada, fought hard for the cause of reclamation in Congress. He attempted to get his State to act, and when that proved hopeless to get the Nation to act; and was ably assisted by Mr. G. H. Maxwell, a Californian, who had taken a deep interest in irrigation matters. Dr. W J McGee was one

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