Theodore Roosevelt: An Autobiography

By Theodore Roosevelt | Go to book overview

APPENDIX A
CONSERVATION

As foreshadowing the course I later, as President, followed in this matter, I give extracts from one of my letters to the Commission, and from my second (and last) Annual Message. I spent the first months of my term in investigations to find out just what the situation was.

On November 28, 1899, I wrote to the Commission as follows:

". . . I have had very many complaints before this as to the inefficiency of the game wardens and game protectors, the complaints usually taking the form that the men have been appointed and are retained without due regard to the duties to be performed. I do not wish a man to be retained or appointed who is not thoroughly fit to perform the duties of game protector. The Adirondacks are entitled to a peculiar share of the Commission's attention, both from the standpoint of forestry, and from the less important, but still very important, standpoint of game and fish protection. The men who do duty as game protectors in the Adirondacks should, by preference, be appointed from the locality itself, and should in all cases be thorough woodsmen. The mere fact that a game protector has to hire a guide to pilot him through the woods is enough to show his unfitness for the position. I want as game protectors men of courage, resolution, and hardihood, who can handle the rifle, ax, and paddle; who can camp out in summer or winter; who can go on snow-shoes, if necessary; who can go through the woods by day or by night without regard to trails.

"I should like full information about all your employees, as to their capacities, as to the labor they perform, as to their distribution from and where they do their work."

Many of the men hitherto appointed owed their positions principally to political preference. The changes I recommended were promptly made, and much to the good of the public service. In my Annual Message, in January, 1900, I said:

"Great progress has been made through the fish hatcheries in

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