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Teddy Roosevelt National Park


Teddy Roosevelt first came to the Badlands of the Little Missouri River in North Dakota in 1883.  He returned and became involved with the cattle business.  The Elkhorn Ranch became his residence.  After observing the damage that had been done to the wildlife and prairies, Roosevelt became a major force in conservation.  When he became president he established the US Forest Service, 18 national monuments, five national parks and fifty-one wildlife refuges. 

The national park is made up of two units, north and south.  The south unit is close to the historic town of Medora and Interstate 94. The Painted Canyon Overlook off of I-94 provides an introduction to the park and off in the distance you might be able to sight a bison. The visitor center there provided lots of information about Teddy Roosevelt.

The major feature of the southern unit is a paved 36 mile scenic loop road.  There are many busy prairie dog towns and badland scenery.  Several bison were grazing off in the distance hillsides.  There are 300 + bison in this unit of the park along with elk and a herd of feral horses. 

The northern unit is about 70 miles from the south unit.  There is some of the same wildlife and scenery.  It is further away from any civilization and more like the wilderness of Teddy's Roosevelt's time.  We did not have the time to go to the north unit but I was told it is very scenic.