1894 – 1904

Preservation activities ramped up during this period, helmed by President Theodore Roosevelt, who launched the modern Wildlife Refuge System with a flurry of designations across the United States.

Hand-painted glass slide of Pelican Island refuge and happy pelicans (1903).


FOREVER WILD: “Forever wild” designation is made in the New York Constitution, the first permanent preservation of wilderness lands in the U.S.  Learn more.


MASSACHUSETTS AUDUBON SOCIETY: Massachusetts Audubon Society is formed. It focuses on elimination of trade in wild bird feathers, uses scientific information, and encourages women to play an active role.  Learn more.


WHITE PINE DECIMATED: 160 billion board feet of virgin white pine is cut in Michigan, leaving only 2 billion board feet remain standing. 98% of virgin white pine forest is gone.  Learn more.


LACEY ACT: Lacey Game and Wild Bird Preservation and Disposition Act establishes a Federal role in the enforcement of laws aimed at protection of wildlife.  Learn more.

ATLANTIC SALMON DISAPPEAR: Atlantic Salmon are gone from the Great Lakes.  Learn more.


BISON RANGE PRESERVATION: Wichita Forest and Game Preserve sets aside land suitable for a bison range.  Learn more.


RECLAMATION ACT: Reclamation Act creates reservoirs and irrigation systems to help populate and develop the West.  Learn more.


PELICAN ISLAND REFUGE: Under the Forest Reservation Creation Act, President Theodore Roosevelt designates Florida’s Pelican Island as a “preserve and breeding ground for native birds,” which would be designated the first unit of the modern Wildlife Refuge System – “Bully for mangroves!” In the following year, he would go on to designate 51 additional refuges in 17 states and the territories of Alaska, Hawaii, and Puerto Rico.  Learn more.