Theodore Roosevelt National Park

Theodore Roosevelt National Park is located in western North Dakota in the United States. The park contains 70,446 acres of land that is separated into three distinct badland areas known as the Elkhorn Ranch Unit, the South Unit, and the North Unit. Roosevelt  first visited the area in 1883, while hunting for bison, and is said to have “fallen in love” with the badlands. After investing a large sum of money into the Maltese Cross Ranch, Roosevelt had his own cabin built, which he later returned to after the death of his wife and mother. Roosevelt built Elkhorn Ranch, his second in the area, in 1884 and his time spent in the area fueled his conservation interests and actions as a President.

The establishment of Theodore Roosevelt National Park began after his death in 1919, when the Little Missouri Badlands area was explored for possible park sites. The Civilian Conservation Corps established campsites in many areas of the future park between the years of 1934 and 1941, in order to develop roads and other park structures. In 1935, the area was designated as Roosevelt Recreation Demonstration Area and in 1946, the area was established as Theodore Roosevelt National Wildlife Refuge. In 1947, it was renamed a third time as Theodore Roosevelt National Memorial Park, the first park of its kind to be designated as a memorial. This name was changed for a final time in 1978 to Theodore Roosevelt National Park, at which time the area was expanded by 29,920 acres.

Theodore Roosevelt National Park offers visitors many attractions including wildlife viewing. Many species reside in the park including feral horses, bison, bighorn sheep, golden eagles, and wild turkeys. Both the North and South units hold about one hundred miles of trails that can be used for horse riding or hiking. Camping can also be conducted in three well developed areas in these units and visitors can camp in back country areas with a permit that can be obtained at visitor centers in the North or South Units. Other popular activities in the park include visiting the Elkhorn Ranch and the town of Medora, which occurs at the edge of the entrance to the South Unit and provides visitors with a look at a western town, among other attractions.

Image Caption: Theodore Roosevelt National Park – Cannonball concretions pullout. Credit: MDuchek/Wikipedia (CC BY-SA 3.0)