National Monuments

Which commemorate history, conserve forests, and distinguish conspicuous examples of world-making dot other parts of the United States besides the colorful southwest. Their variety is great and the natural beauty of some of them unsurpassed.

Their number should be much greater. Every history-helping exploration of the early days, from Cortreal’s inspection of the upper Atlantic coast in 1501 and Ponce de Leon’s exploration of Florida eleven years later, from Cabrillo’s skirting of the Pacific coast in 1542 and Vancouver’s entrance into Puget Sound in 1792, including every early expedition from north and south into the country now ours and every exploration of the interior by our own people, should be commemorated, not by a slab of bronze or marble, but by a striking and appropriate area set apart as a definite memorial of the history of this nation’s early beginnings.

These areas should be appropriately located upon or overlooking some important or characteristic landmark of the explorations or events which they commemorated, and should have scenic importance suffident to attract visitors and impress upon them the stages of the progress of this land from a condition of wilderness to settlement and civilization.

Nor should it end here. The country is richly endowed, from the Atlantic to the Pacific, with examples of Nature’s amazing handicraft in the making of this continent, the whole range of which should be fully expressed in national reservations.

Besides these, examples of our northeastern forests, the pines of the southern Appalachians, the ever-glades of Florida, the tangled woodlands of the gulf, and other typical forests which perchance may have escaped the desolation of civilization, should be added to the splendid forest reserves of the national parks of the West, first-grown as Nature made them, forever to remain untouched by the axe.

Thus will the national parks system become the real national museum for today and forever.

There follows a brief catalogue of the slender and altogether fortuitous beginnings of such an exhibit.