Theodore Roosevelt National Park: North Dakota
This park was named for the U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt and is comprised of three main areas of land in North Dakota: The park covers a total of 70,446 acres spread out over the North Unit, the South Unit and the Elkhorn Ranch Unit. The only U.S. national park actually named after a person, the park drew over 749,389 visitors in 2018.
Way back in 1883, President Roosevelt first came to North Dakota to hunt bison and during that first short trip he fell in love with the local area. Here he had fallen for the rugged lifestyle and terrain along with the perfect freedom of the West. He invested $14,000 into his first ranch called the Maltese Cross Ranch and soon after started his second ranch called the Elkhorn Ranch which is located some 35 miles north of Medora. Roosevelt took great interest in his ranches as places to seek solitude and to enjoy hunting in the West. He has written three books detailing his adventures which had alot to do in developing his attitude and opinions regarding conservation policies for land out West.
Both main units of the park have scenic drives, approximately 100 miles of foot and horse trails, wildlife viewing and many spots for back country hiking and camping. The three developed campgrounds include Juniper Campground in the North Unit; Cottonwood Campground in the South Unit; and the Roundup Group Horse Campground in the South Unit.
Wildlife viewing is one of the more popular attractions to do while at the park. People from all walks of life come to view the local bison which can be dangerous so visitors are advised to view them from a safe distance.
The park is very popular for horseback riding and back country hiking. Permits for back country camping may be obtained at the North Unit and South Unit Visitor Centers. Over 100 miles of trail make it a fine hiking park, though water and shade are limited along trails. The park units are mostly surrounded by Forest Service grasslands. The area has very dark night skies with excellent star gazing and occasional northern lights.