With the angling/hunting community consumed with frantically trying to convince itself that the tag team of Zinke and Trump could become the next Theodore Roosevelt, we have failed to recognize one historic development – the greatest conservation president we’ve had since TR is leaving office this week. Yep, that guy – the black dude from Chicago who doesn’t hunt and looks goofy with a fly rod in his hands. While President Barack Hussein Obama doesn’t resemble the rugged, brooding archetype of America’s conservation icons, he has cemented his legacy as the greatest conservation president since Roosevelt and boasts a record that far outshines any of the gun-slinging, fishy white guys that preceded him in the Oval Office.
You might love the guy, or you might hate him. You might despise his foreign, economic, and social policies or you might agree with every aspect of his agenda. You might think he is a Kenyan terrorist hell-bent on destroying America, or you might believe he’s the greatest president of all time. But if you care about wild places and want to maintain access to them, you need to recognize that Obama has been the best friend you’ve ever had in the White House. Maybe that message rings true or maybe it runs counter to everything you’ve felt for the last eight years. Regardless of how that statement sits with you, it is an unimpeachable fact.
Don’t believe us? We’ll let the numbers speak for themselves:
During his eight years in office, President Obama has protected more than 550 million acres – that’s more than double the amount Roosevelt protected (230 million acres) and more than any other President in U.S. history.
Since TR signed the Antiquities Act into law in 1906, 16 Presidents have used it a total of 156 times to create and expand national monuments. Of those 156 actions, 34 of them were taken by President Obama. Meaning in just eight years, Obama is responsible for 22 percent of the national monuments created and expanded by the Antiquities Act. How does that compare to other presidents since World War II?
Obama – 34
Clinton – 19
Carter – 15
G.W. Bush – 6
Eisenhower, Kennedy – 2
Truman, Johnson – 1
Nixon, Ford, Reagan, H.W. Bush –