Theodore Roosevelt National Park is found in the state of North Dakota. This is the only national park in the United States dedicated to a former American president. Theodore Roosevelt was the 26th president of the United States, interestingly his distant cousin, Franklin Roosevelt, was the 32nd president, but there is not a National Park named after him.
Theodore Roosevelt National Park in North Dakota covers 110 square miles (285 km2) of prairie and badlands and is home to some amazing animals. Before I start talking about the animals native to this area let me first explain to you about the ‘badlands’. Badlands are a type of dry terrain* where rocks and dirt have been eroded away, by wind and rain, creating canyons and ravines. This type of terrain is very difficult to travel through by foot, wagon, or even car, which is likely where the name, ‘bad’ lands or badlands, comes from. Even though it is difficult to navigate these canyons many people love to go into them (on foot, car, or 4×4 vehicle) because they are amazingly beautiful. Often the eroded rock and dirt exposes beautiful colors ranging from black to bright red.
Although the landscape of the badlands in Theodore Roosevelt National Park is beautiful it was not this landscape that originally drew the former president here. He first went to the prairie and badlands of North Dakota for the animals. Specifically, he went to hunt bison. Roosevelt went to North Dakota to hunt and be a rancher, and then he fell in love with its beautiful landscape. Now of course there is no hunting or ranching in this area because the park is protected land. The hundreds of bison that live in this park still amaze all the tourists who visit, just like they amazed Roosevelt when he was there more than a hundred years earlier. Above is a picture of the iconic** buffalo of this park. The words bison and buffalo are used synonymously in English. I have been told there is a technical difference between bison and buffalo, but in everyday vernacular*** the words are used the same. There are other interesting animals in this park though, other than buffalo. This park is home to wild horses, elk, bighorn sheep, deer, eagles, and prairie dogs. There is a picture of a prairie dog below. Prairie dogs don’t look much like dogs to me. They are small cute animals that live underground. They don’t bark like a dog either, they make a high pitch chirping sound more like a bird. Like bison, prairie dogs are native only in North America.
Given the beautiful scenery and many animals to see, the main attractions of Theodore Roosevelt National Park are the scenic drives, foot and horse trails. On the drives and trails both the wildlife and the badlands can be viewed and explored. While I was camping at this park this past summer the wildlife explored us to! Wild horses and buffalo walked right through the campgrounds.
*terrain = an area of land
**iconic = a person or thing regarded as a representative symbol of something
***vernacular = the language or dialect spoken by the ordinary people in a particular country or region