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North Dakota Camping in the Badlands Around Theodore Roosevelt National Park
In western North Dakota there is a park that shaped President Theodore Roosevelt’s life, one named after the very man it so inspired - Theodore Roosevelt National Park. This park is a beautiful and diverse place with everything from badlands and forests to prairies and rivers. The wildlife that lives within varies from elk, bison, feral horses, prairie dogs, long horn sheep, over 185 species of birds, turtles, lizards and snakes. A young Roosevelt spent a lot of time in North Dakota’s rugged back country and established two ranches in the area that is now Theodore Roosevelt National Park. The lessons he learned in the wild lead him to be a strong conservationist once he became President. The area was first designated Roosevelt Recreation Demonstration Area in 1935. It was upgraded to Theodore Roosevelt National Wildlife Refuge in 1946. President Truman declared it the first and only, Memorial Park in 1947. The area was finally granted full status as a National Park in 1978. The beautiful and rugged land is a terrific North Dakota camping destination.
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Theodore Roosevelt National Park is open year round, although some areas are closed during the winter due to snow and ice. Summer is May through September, and tends to be warm with highs in the 70’s and 80’s. Winter begins in November, and the coldest months tend to be December through February with temperatures often in the single digits. It is pretty windy year round, and conditions can change quickly so be prepared for any kind of weather. Thunderstorms come in the summer, as are blizzards in winter. There is a $10 entrance fee for the park which is valid for 7 days. An annual pass costs $20. An inter-agency pass that grants access to most national parks is $80.
There is plenty to do while visiting the Theodore Roosevelt National Park. There are ample hiking trails, great fishing spots, rivers to canoe or kayak, wonderful wild life viewing opportunities, and more. Hiking trails are just as varied as the park. There are easy strolls and strenuous hikes, hikes over hills, through valleys, and along rivers and creeks. With over 100 miles of hiking trails, there is plenty of room to adventure. Another one of the most popular activities in Theodore Roosevelt National Park is wild life viewing. The wildlife that live within the park include bison, mule deer, elk, wild horses, coyotes, golden eagles, wild turkeys, big horn sheep, and more. Most of these animals can be found throughout the park, but caution should be used especially with bison as they can be dangerous. Cross country skiing and snowshoeing are popular winter activities. There are no groomed cross country skiing trails so skiers have to blaze their own way through the wilderness. With all the diverse activities, animals, and land, Theodore Roosevelt National Park makes for terrific North Dakota camping.
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