Theodore Roosevelt was the first American President to take seriously the concept of the protection of nature. He not only took it seriously but, like everything he did, he acted on his convictions “with vigor.” He increased the size of the national forest system by 400%. He set the precedent of using the Antiquities Act of 1906 to create National Monuments, a precedent followed by all subsequent Presidents except Nixon, Regan and Bush. He pursued a balanced approach of preservation and sustained productivity for natural resources such as water and forests. He was a leader in promoting recreation in the wilderness to enhance personal growth.
The Grand Canyon was one of the places he saved using the powers granted the president under the Antiquities Act. You have only to imagine the canyon stripped of various layers of history for mining and dotted with high rise hotels to understand why he is honored by the Ecology Hall of Fame.