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Wilderness Royalty: 5 Leaders in American Conservation [PICS]

Wikimedia Commons

Conservation is a popular buzz word in hunting and fishing. Have you ever wondered who helped make conservation so prominent?

We as a people have always been aware of our impact on the environment, though many did not take action. Here, we’re celebrating five folks we have to thank for the beautiful existence of some of our favorite outdoor places.

1. Daniel Boone (1756-1813)

It doesn’t get much more iconic than Daniel Boone, the frontiersman. Don’t let that furry coat and wig fool you, Boone was an outdoorsman to the core. He is claimed to be the first to explore what would later become the State of Kentucky and served valiantly in the Revolutionary War.

Boone made his money as a hunter, trapper, and furtrader, and would become one of the first true folk heroes the United States had to offer. Boone has left behind a blurred legend of his exploits as well as several towns, counties, and forests along his frontier trail in his namesake.

The biggest of these is the Daniel Boone National Forest, a more than 2 million acre wildland in the State of Kentucky.

2. John Muir (1838-1914)

Photo Credit: Four Lakes Sierra Club

Although born across the pond in Scotland, John Muir is a well-known preservationist of the American wild. Founder of the Sierra Club, Muir spent much of his life fighting for a National Parks bill that would later create Yosemite National Park.

Muir’s writings on the wilderness, and more importantly on man’s place in the wild, are still studied today. Muir leaves behind his namesake’s claim on such places as the John Muir Trail, John Muir College, and the Muir Glacier.

By the way, killer beard, John!

3. Theodore “Teddy” Roosevelt (1858-1919)

Photo Credit: Wikipedia

Known widely as the “Conservationist President”, ole Teddy was truly a man who fought for the preservation of all things wild. Roosevelt lived and breathed the sportsman’s life, even from an early age. With commercial hunting taking it’s toll on many of the West’s big game (Elk, Bison, etc), Roosevelt sought to protest wildlife and public access to such by setting aside land after becoming president in 1901. Roosevelt is credited with 150 national forests, 51 bird reserves, 4 national game preserves, 5 national parks, and 18 national monuments. In total, Roosevelt protected more than 230 million acres of public land for us to enjoy.

4. Aldo Leopold (1887-1948)

Photo Credit: Twin Cities

Who hasn’t read “A Sand County Almanac?”? Aldo Leopold is noted by many as the founder of wildlife management. Living in a time of fast growth, the invention of automobiles, and human expansion, Leopold saw the value in having wild places and keeping them wild.

Old Aldo also knew that managing wildlife populations appropriately would ensure future use and enjoyment.

Fun fact: the book for which Aldo Leopold is most famous was actually published after his death. His book has sold more than two million copies since its first printing in 1949.

5. Margaret “Mardy” Murie (1902-2003)

Photo Credit: Wikimedia

Our sole female on the list, the Grandmother of Conservation, as titled by the Sierra Club was a main player in the conservation of Alaska’s wild places. Along with her husband Olaus, Margaret campaigned during the Eisenhower years to set aside and conserve more than 8 million acres of land now known as the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

Murie has won countless awards for her conservation efforst including the John Muir Award and the Audubon Medal.

So next time you are out hiking on your favorite trail, hunting your favorite piece of public land, or simply traveling within this nation’s great wild places, make sure you remember those who fought to make it all available to you today, years down the line.

All images provided by Wikimedia Commons/Library of Congress.

NEXT: Conservation Officers: The Unsung Heroes of the Outdoors [VIDEO]

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Wilderness Royalty: 5 Leaders in American Conservation [PICS]