It’s Presidents’ Day! We hope you’re making the most of this cherished mid-winter holiday and celebrating it – where else? – in the state parks. Are you wondering why we’re writing about presidents on the PBN blog? (No, it’s not because the great outdoors is “president” of our hearts, or we should say, not only because of that.) We want to honor America’s most nature-loving presidents, those Commanders in Chief who we feel are PBN’s kindred spirits. Without further ado, here are the six outdoorsy presidents who we think would be most likely to carry a Pocket Ranger® app along in their knapsacks.
1. Theodore Roosevelt
When you think of outdoorsy presidents, Theodore Roosevelt is probably the first who comes to mind. This rugged naturalist was known for his cowboy persona, which he began to cultivate as a sickly, asthmatic child in an attempt to overcome hardship through strenuous exercise and nature study. The ambitious and nature-loving Teddy established the Roosevelt Museum of Natural History in 1867 when he was only 8 years old! A few years later, he studied natural history at Harvard.Roosevelt earned more notice for his environmental work than any other U.S. president by making conservation a central part of his policy. He was known for often lobbying Congress to pass measures to conserve water, soil, forests and wildlife. Although Roosevelt’s reputation as a devoted outdoorsman has led to the mistaken but popular belief that he created the National Park Service (which was actually established by President Wilson), he did create the National Wildlife Refuge System, which grew to 230 million total acres during his presidency. We think it’s awfully too bad that Teddy isn’t around to make use of our Fishing, Hunting & Wildlife Guides, because we know he would have loved them!
2. Franklin D. Roosevelt
Hot on his distant cousin’s heels on our list of outdoorsy presidents is FDR. If you assumed Roosevelt’s polio-related handicap kept him indoors, guess again. Roosevelt loved outdoor activities including fishing, sailing, riding, tennis, golf and hunting. He was also a lifelong birder, a hobby he practiced even during his presidency.FDR’s legacy reflects his love of the great outdoors and interest in conservation and the environment. As Governor of New York during the Great Depression, he put the unemployed to work improving forests with the Temporary Emergency Relief Administration. As president, he created a number of environmental projects to battle unemployment while conserving America’s natural resources, including the Farm Security Administration, the Tennessee Valley Authority and the Civilian Conservation Corps. These agencies put people to work planting trees, building dams, preventing soil erosion and generating public power. If you like to visit the state or national parks, forests and wildlife refuges, you’ve probably experienced the results of FDR’s efforts yourself. Many Civilian Conservation Corps structures are still on display today in the parks built by the group.
3. Harry S. Truman
Poor Harry Truman. It sure sounds like his busy schedule of being president and living in the White House kept him away from the country’s beloved recreation areas. He had to make do with what he had and installed the very first horseshoe court on the White House lawn.Truman also built two bowling lanes in the White House basement. We guess if you can’t make it to the parks, bringing the parks to you is probably the next best thing. Hopefully Mr. Truman found more time in his post-presidency years to visit the parks. They might not have bowling lanes, but many of them sure had horseshoes! Modern day Trumans can locate parks offering any horseshoes or any other desired activity by using the Pocket Ranger® app‘s Explore feature to search By Activity.
4. John Quincy Adams
Well, here’s something you might not know about our 6th president: he was a skinny dipper! Apparently Mr. Adams made good use of the White House’s proximity to the Potomac River by enjoying a nude swim every morning. We’re glad to know we’re not the only ones who enjoy waking up with an invigorating swim, although we don’t think taking a nude dip à la Adams would go over so well in the state and national parks.Luckily, our Pocket Ranger® apps include the state park system’s Rules and Regulations, which makes it easy to keep our clothed bums out of trouble. Perhaps the states should consider updating those policies, though, since it seems President Adam’s quirky workout regimen may be good for the health; he lived to the ripe old age of 80!
5. Barack Obama
Michelle Obama’s enthusiasm for White House Vegetable Garden and advocacy of healthy eating have perhaps earned her a more nature-loving reputation than her husband’s. However, President Obama proved himself an equally strong supporter of all things nature with his America’s Great Outdoors (AGO) Initiative, with which he sought to create a conservation and recreation agenda for the 21st century. AGO holds that the American people share the responsibility for protecting and conserving the great outdoors, and looks to local communities for grassroots conservation and policy efforts.We hope Mr. and Mrs. Obama head to the state parks together to see the results of this initiative in action. They could probably make good use of the app‘s Friend Finder on their joint outings and spread their message far and wide with the social share features!
6. George W. Bush
Did you know Dubya was a runner? When George W. Bush became the 43rd president, he was the first ever marathon runner to enter the office. His running record is pretty impressive too; he finished the Houston Marathon in less than 4 hours! We wonder if he is excited about our partnership with American Hiking Society? Hey, W., if you’re reading: use your Pocket Ranger® app‘s GPS map to track and record your progress the next time you hit the trails for a run and share them with the PBN team. We’d love to feature you on our blog!Which is your favorite of the outdoorsy presidents? Is there any president you think should have made the list? Share your thoughts down below!