On January 11, 1908, U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt made the massive Grand Canyon in northwestern Arizona a national monument, declaring “You cannot improve upon it.” Roosevelt, an avid hunter and naturalist, loved the American west. He made environmental conservation a priority during his presidency.

The Grand Canyon is a gorge created by tectonic uplift of the Colorado Plateau. The Colorado River cut through the canyon’s striking red rock as the area was uplifted by geologic forces deep underground. Over the past 17 million years, the flow of the river’s water has carved the canyon to a depth of more than 1,829 meters (6,000 feet), and is still eroding the rock today. Roosevelt’s declaration of the area as a national monument ensured that more than 323,748 hectares (800,000 acres) of canyonland would remain untouched by human development. This means that future generations might enjoy it as he did.

avid
Adjective

enthusiastic.

Noun

deep, narrow valley with steep sides.

carve
Verb

to cut or slice through.

Noun

management of a natural resource to prevent exploitation, destruction, or neglect.

development
Noun

construction or preparation of land for housing, industry, or agriculture.

ensure
Verb

to guarantee.

Noun

act in which earth is worn away, often by water, wind, or ice.

geologic
Adjective

having to do with the physical formations of the Earth.

Noun

deep, narrow valley with steep sides, usually smaller than a canyon.

Grand Canyon
Noun

large gorge made by the Colorado River in the U.S. state of Arizona.

national monument
Noun

federal land set aside to protect objects of scientific and historical interest.

naturalist
Noun

person who studies the natural history or natural development of organisms and the environment.

Noun

large region that is higher than the surrounding area and relatively flat.

priority
Noun

something having more importance than others.

tectonic uplift
Noun

movement of plates beneath the Earth's surface that causes one part of the landscape to rise higher than the surrounding area.

Theodore "Teddy" Roosevelt
Noun

(18581919) 26th president of the United States.

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