President Roosevelt Arriving At Big Meadows
Photo courtesy of the National Park Service

Shenandoah National Park was finished under the supervision of U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt, who was an enthusiastic supporter of the park and the Skyline Drive. His Civilian Conservation Corps established six camps in the park area whose workers constructed roads, improved forest landscaping and wildlife conditions, and fought fires. Roosevelt also agreed to an extension of the drive southward, linking up the Shenandoah and Great Smoky Mountains national parks with a road that eventually became the Blue Ridge Parkway. In the photo above, President Roosevelt, along with Virginia Governor George Peery, arrive at the park's dedication on July 3, 1936.

We seek to pass on to our children a richer land - a stronger nation. I, therefore, dedicate Shenandoah National Park to this and succeeding generations of Americans for the recreation and for the re-creation which we shall find here.

View the entire speech | View the newspaper account (The Daily Progress, Charlottesville)

More photos of the dedication are on this National Park Service Archive page.


Click Here For Audio Clip
  The audio clip at left is the actual dedication speech in 1936. It was purchased from the National Archives Presidential Library. The voice is distorted because of the medium it was recorded on plus the age of the recording doesn't allow for modern technology to clean it up very well. However, Steve Beet, developer of Mono-a-Mono distortion/noise removal software, worked with the audio file and greatly improved it. Download the text of the speech to help you follow along with the recording.