(photo credit here)
My run this week along the Potomac River (see yesterday's post) took me up to Theodore Roosevelt Island, opposite Rosslyn, VA. There I got a very needed trail running fix, albeit only 2 miles (of the 10 total on this run). But running in the woods, however short, is always worth it, especially so close to Washington, DC—Roosevelt Island is only about 2-3 miles on foot from the White House.
This land is owned by the National Park Service, and the memorial to TR is comprised of water features (pools and fountains), a large statue of TR, and stone inscriptions of some of his famous sayings, all in a woodland setting. Per the NPS site:
One of Theodore Roosevelt’s greatest legacies was his dedication to conservation. Today, this island stands as a fitting memorial to the outdoorsman, naturalist, and visionary who was our 26th President.
But here in early June, the water features are dry and full of winter’s debris. I assume that this is a casualty of budget cuts to the NPS.
In times of economic distress—or any distress, for that matter—I submit that we need more parks, not less. We need the soothing effects of the woods and of water features such as those on TR Island.
It breaks my heart that our national parks are underfunded and barely limping along in many cases. It pains me that the TR memorial is decrepit, largely ignored, and neglected. Yes, turning on the water features on TR Island will cost money, but you know what? Just pull the $$ from the Defense Department and pass it to the Department of the Interior. Sort of swords into plowshares.
Back to the title of this post—Teddy Roosevelt would be appalled, not at the neglect of his memorial, but at the larger issue of lack of funding for our historic and natural treasures protected for our children under the auspices of the National Park Service.