When President Franklin Roosevelt proclaimed a national monument in 1943 to protect lands that are now part of Grand Teton National Park, local commissioner Cliff Hansen was outraged. He even illegally drove 500 cattle across the monument in protest. But 20 years later, Sen. Hansen changed his mind. Speaking to a luncheon in New York in 1967, Hansen said, “I want you all to know that I’m glad I lost, because I now know I was wrong. Grand Teton National Park is one of the greatest natural heritages of Wyoming and the nation and one of our great assets.”

13 comments on this story

Without President Franklin Roosevelt’s proclamation, one of the most scenic places in America would have been lost to development.

Ten out of Utah’s 13 National Park System units were initially established by presidential proclamation.

Sometimes we need presidents to act with vision to protect places even when there is some local opposition. History shows that even local naysayers often change their mind.

As a fifth-generation Utahn who loves to camp and hike with my children and grandchildren, I hope presidents will continue to proclaim monuments in Utah. Protecting Greater Canyonlands would be a great next step.

James Thompson

Salt Lake City