June 11, 2022
Temperature 80 Degrees Mix of Sun and Clouds
Theodore Roosevelt National Park
This is the second reason we came to Medora, to tour Teddy’s Park. This was easy to accomplish since all one had to do was make a left out of the RV Park, and then make the second left afterward into the Park.
As is our usual practice we began our tour by stopping at the Visitor Center. However, before we even got inside we learned a few things. Such as:
Though Theodore Roosevelt is well-known for his lasting contributions to environmental conservation in the United States, it wasn’t until 1978 – or nearly 70 years after his presidency – that an entire park would be named after him. The park is divided into three units. There is the North Unit with a scenic 14-mile byway; his very own Elkhorn Ranch of which only the foundations exist today; and, the South Unit with it’s own 36 mile Scenic loop. We were going to spend time touring the South Unit after our stop at the Visitor Center. A question I asked of a ranger was Why three separate units? What about all the land between North and South? She explained that most property owners were unwilling to part with their land at the time the Park was being formed. In addition, the Government at the time was unwilling to spend the money for any more land than the three parts already set apart for the park.
This is the unit we would explore after our stop at the Visitor Center. The South Unit is the largest of the park’s 3 units. The Unit consists of 46,000 acres and 11 miles of the Little Missouri River.
Moving on, we entered the Visitor Center and were greeted with this incredible mural on the wall to our right.
The native tribes in the area referred to this land as Mako Shike – not good land. The cattlemen of the 1880’s saw the Badlands as the last frontier To Roosevelt it was a land of vast silent spaces – a place of grim beauty.
It is said that the grim beauty of the Badlands lured him back time and again as a rancher and as a leader. Here in the Badlands he found physical and spiritual renewal in times of trial. It was his experiences in this untamed wilderness that later made him the first President to champion conservation.
There was a display about Roosevelt and The Rough Riders
A display about Roosevelt as President.
As president, some of his accomplishments.
That is, indeed, Roosevelt at the controls of the steam shovel!
Remember, his face is on Mt. Rushmore primarily for his conservation efforts during his time in office as President.
Finally, there was this unique sculpture of Roosevelt on horseback. What is even more fascinating about this is that the objects which dress Roosevelt and his horse are authentic; they were owned and used by Roosevelt during his lifetime.
We are now finished with the Visitor Center and in the next blog we will more into the actual park. Until then, be well.
Thanks again for spending some time with us. It’s always great to be able to share our story with family and friends. Comments? Feel free to share them with me. And always remember, cherish every moment of every day that God gives you and live those moments to the fullest.
Our continuing mission remains the same: to explore as many new states as possible, to seek out new acquaintances and make new friends, to boldly go where we have not been before.