Theodore Roosevelt National Park

"I never would have been President if it had not been for my experiences in North Dakota.”
-- Theodore Roosevelt

In September 1883, Theodore Roosevelt traveled from New York to the Dakota Territory. He planned to shoot a buffalo.

He discovered that most of the great bison herds were already gone—killed for their valuable hides. Roosevelt also saw the devastation caused by over-grazing, which destroyed wildlife habitats.

He purchased stakes in two cattle ranches on the Little Missouri River, and launched a lifelong conservation campaign that would eventually preserve more than 230 million acres of public land.

Theodore Roosevelt National Park was established in 1947 to commemorate the president’s dedication to preserving the country’s natural beauty. The park’s two units cover more than 70,000 acres and encompass his Elkhorn Ranch and the log cabin he built on Maltese Cross Ranch.

The Maltese Cross cabin contains period furnishings, including a hutch, rocking chair, and trunk that belonged to Roosevelt. A self-guided auto tour takes you around a scenic 36-mile loop. Drive out to Painted Canyon Visitor Center for a view of the North Dakota badlands. The North Unit also hosts a scenic driving tour and panoramic view from Oxbow Overlook.

More than 100 miles of trails wind through Theodore Roosevelt National Park. You’ll also find bison there.

NPCA at Work in the Parks

One of the biggest threats to Theodore Roosevelt National Park is the rapid rate of oil and gas development in western North Dakota; fracking wells can already be seen and heard from inside the park. There are currently more than 6,000 oil wells in the region, with up to 45,000 predicted in the next two decades. In April 2013, NPCA's Center for Park Research released National Parks and Hydraulic Fracturing, a report that explores the impacts of fracking on national parks and how to best safeguard the environment and public health; the report features Theodore Roosevelt National Park as one of its in-depth case studies. For more information, read our recent blog story.

View the Slideshow

Check out our slideshow with beautiful images from this park

Read More in NPCA's Park Advocate Blog

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Threats

Air pollution is another serious threat to this park. The National Park Service has established the NPS air quality webcam network to show “live” digital images of more than a dozen parks. Click here to see current air conditions at Theodore Roosevelt National Park.

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WHAT DO YOU THINK?

Bobby

May 15, 2014

my family and I are going here in June

Geof

June 15, 2013

Looking forward to coming to the park. I am interested by - and worried about - the damage caused by fracking and the oil industry. Lindsey thinks that the park is god's creation. Well, I am not sure about that, since I first want to see if s/he is doing a reasonable job protecting it. And if not we would have to take over the job ourselves!

Lindsey

May 14, 2013

The park is very good for taking time to reflect on God's creation! It is not very crowded like most of the parks and the animals run free including a lot of wild horses! The colors are spectacular and because it is pretty far north, it is cool enough at night to camp! The small town next to it is very hospitable. A great place!

kefcrowe

July 17, 2012

Our family just backpacked in the north unit of the park last weekend and while it is indeed a beautiful site, we were surprised just how much haze there was. And while we loved watching the sun rise on the trail early Saturday morning, we were saddened at all the oil and gas well flares dotting the horizon. As we pumped water from the natural spring in the park, I wondered how long it would be before it is too contaminated to drink. If we are to see any reminders of energy production from national parks, let it be pollution-free wind turbines!

eggzakly

July 5, 2012

There is no longer any reasonable doubt that "fracking" does long-lasting, and in most cases, permanant damage to the water table. I can't believe that we (the People) allow this blight to continue at all, let alone within the borders of our Mational Parks. The parks were created for all American's use and enjoyment, yet I don't recall being consulted before they started fracking on my/our land. Something needs to be done to prevent this freeloading by greedy corporations and polititians before they ruin our National Heritage.

Curious in Miami

March 1, 2012

Wonderful park. Is NPCA involved in protecting it against effects of Bakken oil development?

Anonymous

November 10, 2011

We were absolutely astounded by the beauty, abundant wildlife, and interesting hikes at Theodore Roosevelt National Park. Our key phrase for our visit was "Who Knew?"

Chuck

November 10, 2011

We have visted this twice and were very impressed. We saw two herd a buffalo come over a hill. (How the indianas must have missed that) We also camped there and found that a herd moved through the camping area through a creek bed in the dead of night. It was delightful !

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