Theodore Roosevelt National Park
Photographs courtesy of National Park Service
The creation of this national park was first discussed shortly after the death of Theodore Roosevelt in 1919. Originally the National Park Service was not strongly in favor of the idea of a national park and would have preferred to see a national memorial for the 26th president.
A lot of the land came into the possession of the state government during the economic crisis in the 1930s and further political wrangling continued over the next few years before some of the countryside was allocated as a Regional Park.
Eventually this was transferred to the National Fish and Wildlife Service and became the Theodore Roosevelt National Wildlife Refuge in 1946. It was then made a National Memorial Park in the following year and the North Unit was added in 1948. Finally, the Theodore Roosevelt National Park was officially created in 1978.
Theodore Roosevelt's connection with the Little Missouri Badlands came in the 1880s when he bought two ranches in the area around Medora. The Elkhorn Ranch unit covers the site of one of those ranches, but only interpretive signs and blocks marking the foundations of the buildings remain. The other cabin is located directly behind the visitors' center in the South unit of the park.
The South unit of the Theodore Roosevelt National Park can be reached from the town of Medora, with two exits off I-94.
The Elkhorn Ranch unit is best reached via the dirt road heading north from the South unit. Check with the park headquarters before attempting this trip.
The North unit can be accessed near Watford City via highway 85.
The Theodore Roosevelt National Park offers various talks and tours as part of its visitor services. Ranger talks are given twice a day on different subjects in the summertime and tours of Roosevelt's Cabin are also available. Half-day hikes can be arranged into the more remote areas of the park.
Camping is permitted at three areas in the park.
Roosevelt National Park
P.O. Box 7
Medora, ND 58645-0007
South Unit: 701-623-4466
North Unit: 701-842-2333