Hike & Go Seek – Theodore Roosevelt National Park

A030, Theodore Roosevelt National Park, North Dakota, USA, 2001.jpg

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.
Rainbow over the badlands

The badlands in winter

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. 

Theodore Roosevelt National Park – North Dakota

A030, Theodore Roosevelt National Park, North Dakota, USA, 2001.jpg

Theodore Roosevelt National Park is an American national park comprising three geographically separated areas of badlands in western North Dakota. The park was named for U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt.  It has three sections: the North Unit, the South Unit, and the Elkhorn Ranch Unit.

The park’s larger South Unit lies alongside Interstate 94 near Medora, North Dakota. The smaller North Unit is situated about 80 mi (130 km) north of the South Unit, on U.S. Route 85, just south of Watford City, North Dakota. Roosevelt’s Elkhorn Ranch is located between the North and South units, approximately 20 mi (32 km) west of US 85 and Fairfield, North Dakota. The Little Missouri River flows through all three units of the park. The Maah Daah Hey Trail connects all three units.

History

Roosevelt first came to the North Dakota badlands to hunt bison in September 1883. During that first short trip, he got his bison and fell in love with the rugged lifestyle and the “perfect freedom” of the West. He invested $14,000 in the Maltese Cross Ranch, which was already being managed by Sylvane Ferris and Bill Merrifield seven miles south of Medora. That winter, Ferris and Merrifield built the Maltese Cross Cabin. After the death of both his wife and his mother on February 14, 1884, Teddy Roosevelt returned to his North Dakota ranch seeking solitude and time to heal. That summer, he started his second ranch, the Elkhorn Ranch, 35 miles north of Medora, which he hired two Maine woodsmen, Bill Sewall and Wilmot Dow, to operate. Teddy Roosevelt took great interest in his ranches and in hunting in the West, detailing his experiences in pieces published in eastern newspapers and magazines. He wrote three major works on his life in the West: Ranch Life and the Hunting Trail, Hunting Trips of a Ranchman and The Wilderness Hunter. His adventures in “the strenuous life” outdoors and the loss of his cattle in the starvation winter in 1886–1887 were influential in Theodore Roosevelt’s pursuit of conservation policies as President of the United States (1901–1909).

Both main units of the park have scenic drives, approximately 100 miles of foot and horse trails, wildlife viewing, and opportunities for back country hiking and camping. There are three developed campgrounds: Juniper Campground in the North Unit, Cottonwood Campground in the South Unit, and the Roundup Group Horse Campground in the South Unit.

One of the most popular attractions is wildlife viewing. The park is home to a wide variety of Great Plains wildlife including bison, coyotes, cougars, feral horses, badgers, elk, bighorn sheep, white-tailed deer and mule deer, prairie dogs, and at least 186 species of birds including golden eagles, sharp-tailed grouse, and wild turkeys. Bison may be dangerous and visitors are advised to view them from a distance. Bison, elk, and bighorn sheep have been successfully reintroduced to the park.

The scenery changes constantly in relationship with the seasons. The brown, dormant grass dominates from late summer through the winter, but explodes into green color in the early summer along with hundreds of species of flowering plants. Winter can be a beautiful scene as snow covers the sharp terrain of the badlands and locks the park into what Theodore Roosevelt called “an abode of iron desolation.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Theodore_Roosevelt_National_Park

 

For some great resources:

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