Mr. Roosevelt was the first president of the Boone and Crockett Club, and continues actively interested in its work. He was succeeded in the presidency of the Club by the late Gen. B.H. Bristow.
[Illustration: Tourists and Bears]
The practical common sense of the American people has been in no way made more evident during the last few years than by the creation and use of a series of large land reserves—situated for the most part on the great plains and among the mountains of the West—intended to keep the forests from destruction, and therefore to conserve the water supply. These reserves are created purely for economic purposes. The semi-arid regions can only support a reasonable population under conditions of the strictest economy and wisdom in the use of the water supply, and in addition to their other economic uses the forests are indispensably necessary for the preservation of the water supply and for rendering possible its useful distribution throughout the proper seasons. In addition, however, to the economic use of the wilderness by preserving it for such purposes where it is unsuited for agricultural uses, it is wise here and there to keep selected portions of it—of course only those portions unfit for settlement—in a state of nature, not merely for the sake of preserving the forests and the water, but for the sake of preserving all its beauties and wonders unspoiled by greedy and shortsighted vandalism. These beauties and wonders include animate as well as inanimate objects. The wild creatures of the wilderness add to it by their presence a charm which it can acquire in no other way. On every ground it is well for our nation to preserve, not only for the sake of this generation, but above all for the sake of those who come after us, representatives of the stately and beautiful haunters of the wilds which were once found throughout our great forests, over the vast lonely plains, and on the high mountain ranges, but which are now on the point of vanishing save where they are protected in natural breeding grounds and nurseries. The work of preservation must be carried on in such a way as to make it evident that we are working in the interest of the people as a whole, not in the interest of any particular class; and that the people benefited beyond all others are those who dwell nearest to the regions in which the reserves are placed. The movement for the preservation by the nation of sections of the wilderness as national playgrounds is essentially a democratic movement in the interest of all our people.
[Illustration: “Oom John.”]