Nov 082013

What an interesting picture. It looks almost otherworldly! Can you guess where it was taken? Not surprisingly it was taken in one of our national parks. This is a picture of what the Theodore Roosevelt National Park looks like during the snowy winter months.

On November 10, 1978, approximately 70,000 acres of beautiful wilderness in North Dakota were set aside and named after our sixteenth president. The park was named for President Roosevelt because his hunting cabin is located on the property. Although it has been moved from its original location on the President’s Maltese Cross ranch, you can still visit the cabin today. His first hunting trip to the area was in 1883, and he developed several ranches in the area after the death of this wife and mother.

The park is home to three separate units of badlands. What is a badland? It is an area that has been layered for many years with sand, mud, and a variety of minerals. As rivers flow through the area, erosion carves through the layers creating a wonderful multicolored layer effect. In this area, volcanic ash drifted into the region from South Dakota, Montana, and Idaho by air and water during the Paleocene period. Erosion commenced during the Pliocene period. At the end of the period, a river flowed in nearly the same place as what we now refer to as the Little Missouri River. Interestingly, the river flowed northward to merge with the Yellowstone and then the Missouri River. During the Pleistocene period, ice sheets gradually moved down from Canada to the northern boundary of the park. As the ice receded, the rivers rose, and cut the beautiful badlands we can enjoy today.

Another prominent feature of the park are the large mammals which freely roam through it. Wild horses, bison, bighorn sheep, and elk are amongst the most prominent animals in the park. The park has been fenced, so the animals freely roam about the hiking trails that cover the area. There are a variety of smaller animals and more than 180 different types of birds who live or migrate through the area. Given the photo of the area during the winter, it is no surprise that large mammals with thick coats abound the area rather than the reptiles that call Death Valley or Big Bend National Parks their home!

I have placed a number of interesting pictures about the park on:

Please take a moment to enjoy this amazing picture and think about the wonderful resources and wild lands we have in our country. They are truly a part of What IS Right With America!


Susan C. Rempel, Ph.D. 


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