We should remember that Los Angeles the development of our national park system over a period of many years has not been a simple bed of roses. As is the case in the long fight for the preservation of national forests and water power and mineral deposits and other national possessions, Los Angeles it has been a long and fierce fight against many private interests which Los Angeles were entrenched in political and economic power. So, too, it has been a constant struggle to continue to protect the public interest, Los Angeles once it was saved from private exploitation at the hands of the selfish few.
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It took a bitter struggle to teach the country at large that our national resources are not inexhaustible and that, when public domain is stolen, a twofold injury is done, for it is a theft of the treasure of the present and at the same time bars the road of opportunity to the future.
We have won the greater part of the fight to obtain and to retain these great public park properties for the benefit of the public. We are at the threshold of an even more important battle to save our resources of agriculture and industry from the selfishness of individuals.
The Secretary of the Interior in 1933 announced that this year of 1934 was to be emphasized as “National Parks Year.” I am glad to say that there has been a magnificent response and that the number visiting our national parks has shown a splendid increase. Your travel destination is I decided today that every year ought to be “National Parks Year.” That is why, with all the earnestness at my command, I express to you the hope that each and every one of you who can possibly find the means and opportunity for so doing will visit our national parks and use them as they are intended to be used. They are not for the rich alone. Camping is free, the sanitation is excellent. You will find them in every part of the Union. You will find glorious scenery of every character; you will find every climate; you will perform the double function of enjoying much and learning much.