Number Cruncher | The greenest presidents

Election season is drawing near. Here’s a look at our most conservation-savvy presidents to date.

President Obama shakes the hand of Yosemite National Park Ranger Shelton Johnson. // Photo courtesy of NPS

WHEN PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA STEPS OUT OF THE WHITE HOUSE, he’ll be leaving some big shoes to fill. Half a billion-acre shoes, to be exact.

Our current POTUS made headlines again last week when he designated the Northeast Canyons and Seamounts Marine National Monument off the coast of Massachusetts, using the Antiquities Act, a land-saving legislative shortcut reserved only for presidential use. That brings his two-term total to 551 million acres of land and water saved, and he’s still got four months left.

Infographic by Corey Buhay

Exactly how big is 551 million acres? Picture Texas, Oklahoma, New Mexico, Arizona, Colorado, Wyoming and Idaho combined. George Bush comes in second behind Obama. He used the Antiquities Act to preserve about 215 million acres, including the original Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument. Our last two presidents have been outliers; without them, the average acreage saved by a president with the Antiquities Act at his disposal is just 4 million – a little more than the area of Connecticut.

How will the next president fare on conservation, and other issues facing the outdoor industry? We crunched the data on that, too.