“[T]he time has come to inquire seriously what will happen when our forests are gone, when the coal, the iron, the oil, and the gas are exhausted, when the soils have been still further impoverished and washed into the streams, polluting the rivers, denuding the fields, and obstructing navigation. These questions do not relate only to the next century or to the next generation. It is time for us now as a nation to exercise the same reasonable foresight in dealing with our great natural resources that would be shown by any prudent man in conserving and widely using the property which contains the assurance of well-bring for himself and his children. (At Conference on the Conservation of Natural Resources, Washington, May 13, 1908).
“There can be no greater issue than that of conservation in this country.” (Before Progressive National Convention, Chicago, Aug. 6, 1912)
“I desire to make grateful acknowledgement to the men, both in and out of the Government service, who have prepared the first inventory of our natural resources. They have made it possible for this Nation to take a great step forward. Their work is helping us to see that the greatest questions before us are not partisan questions, but questions upon which men of all parties and all shades of opinion may be united for the common good. Among such questions, on the material side, the conservation of natural resources stands first. It is the bottom round of the ladder on our upward progress toward a condition in which the Nation as a whole, and its citizens as individuals, will set national efficiency and the public welfare before personal profit…
The function of our Government is to insure to all its citizens, now and hereafter, their rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. If we of this generation destroy the resources from which our children would otherwise derive their livelihood, we reduce the capacity of our land to support a population, and so either degrade the standard of living or deprive the coming generations of their right to life on this continent. (Message to Congress, Jan. 22, 1909).
“Now there is a considerable body of public opinion in favor of keeping for our children’s children, as a priceless heritage, all the delicate beauty of the lesser and all the burly majesty of the mightier forms of wildlife. We are fast learning that trees may not be cut down more rapidly than they are replaced; we have taken forward steps in learning that wild beasts and birds are by right not the property of the people merely alive to-day, but the property of the unborn generations, whose belongings we have no right to squander; and there are even faint signs of our growing to understand that wild flowers should be enjoyed unplucked where they grow, and that it is barbarism to ravage the woods and fields, rooting out the mayflower and breaking branches of dogwood as ornaments for automobiles filled with jovial but ignorant picnickers from cities.” Outlook, Jan. 20, 1915.
“[S]elected portions of [the wilderness] have been kept here and there 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 its wonders unspoiled by short-sighted vandalism.” Outdoor Pastimes of an American Hunter, 1905
“I can no more explain why I like ‘natural history’ than why I like California canned peaches; nor why I do not care for that enormous brand of natural history which deals with invertebrates and more than why I do not care for brandied peaches. All I can say is that almost as soon as I begin to read at all I began to like to read about the natural history of beats and birds and the more formidable or interesting reptiles and fish.” American Museum Journal, May 1918
“If in a given community unchecked popular rule means unlimited waste and destruction of natural resources - soil, fertility, water-power, forests, game and wild-life generally - which b y right belongs as much to subsequent generations as to the present generation, then it is sure proof that the present generation is not yet really fir for self-control; that it is not yet really fit to exercise the high and responsible privilege of a rule which shall be both by the people and for the people. “ Ranch Life and the Hunting Trail, 1888.
“It is an incalculable added pleasure to any one’s sum of happiness if he or she grows to know, even slightly and imperfectly, how to read and enjoy the wonder-book of nature." Outdoor Pastime of an American Hunter, 1905.
“The modern ‘nature-faker’ is of course and object of derision to every scientist worthy of the name, to every real lover of the wilderness, to every faunal naturalist, to every true hunter or nature-lover. “ Everybody’s Magazine, Sept. 1907
“The great book of nature contains many pages which are hard to read, and at times conscientious students may well draw different interpretations of the obscure and least-known texts. “ Outdoor Pastimes of an American Hunter, 1905
“I fully intended to make science my life-work. I did not, for the simple reason that at that time Harvard, and I suppose our other colleges, utterly ignored the possibilities of the faunal naturalist, the outdoor naturalist and observer of nature. They treated biology as purely a science of the laboratory and the microscope, a science whose adherents were to spend their time in the study of minute forms of marine life, or else in section-cutting and the study of the tissues of the higher organisms under the microscope….There was a total failure to understand the great variety of kinds of work that could be done by naturalists, including what could be done by outdoor naturalists...My taste was specialized in a totally different direction, and I had no more desire or ability to be a microscopist and section-cutter than to be a mathematician. Accordingly I abandoned all thought of being a scientist.” The Winning of the West
“It is deeply discreditable to the people of any country calling itself civilized that as regards many of the grandest or most beautiful or most interesting forms of wild life once to be found in the land we should now be limited to describing, usually in the driest of dry books, the physical characteristics which when living they possessed, and the melancholy date at which they ceased to live.” Outlook, Jan. 20, 1915