"Barren Buttes" by NPS/Mark Meyers , public domain

Theodore Roosevelt

National Park - North Dakota

Theodore Roosevelt National Park lies in western North Dakota, where the Great Plains meet the rugged Badlands. A habitat for bison, elk and prairie dogs, the sprawling park has 3 sections linked by the Little Missouri River. The park is known for the South Unit’s colorful Painted Canyon and the Maltese Cross Cabin, where President Roosevelt once lived. The Scenic Loop Drive winds past several overlooks and trails.

location

maps

Official Visitor Map of the North Unit of Theodore Roosevelt National Park (NP) in North Dakota. Published by the National Park Service (NPS).Theodore Roosevelt - North Unit

Official Visitor Map of the North Unit of Theodore Roosevelt National Park (NP) in North Dakota. Published by the National Park Service (NPS).

Official Visitor Map of the South Unit of Theodore Roosevelt National Park (NP) in North Dakota. Published by the National Park Service (NPS).Theodore Roosevelt - South Unit

Official Visitor Map of the South Unit of Theodore Roosevelt National Park (NP) in North Dakota. Published by the National Park Service (NPS).

Map of the U.S. National Park System. Published by the National Park Service (NPS).National Park System - National Park Units

Map of the U.S. National Park System. Published by the National Park Service (NPS).

Map of the U.S. National Park System with Unified Regions. Published by the National Park Service (NPS).National Park System - National Park Units and Regions

Map of the U.S. National Park System with Unified Regions. Published by the National Park Service (NPS).

Map of the U.S. National Heritage Areas. Published by the National Park Service (NPS).National Park System - National Heritage Areas

Map of the U.S. National Heritage Areas. Published by the National Park Service (NPS).

brochures

Brochure for the Coal Vein - A Guided Nature Trail - at Theodore Roosevelt National Park (NP)int North Dakota. Published by the National Park Service (NPS).Theodore Roosevelt - Coal Vein Trail

Brochure for the Coal Vein - A Guided Nature Trail - at Theodore Roosevelt National Park (NP)int North Dakota. Published by the National Park Service (NPS).

Brochure for the Ridgeline - A Guided Nature Trail - at Theodore Roosevelt National Park (NP)int North Dakota. Published by the National Park Service (NPS).Theodore Roosevelt - Ridgeline Trail

Brochure for the Ridgeline - A Guided Nature Trail - at Theodore Roosevelt National Park (NP)int North Dakota. Published by the National Park Service (NPS).

https://www.nps.gov/thro/index.htm https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Theodore_Roosevelt_National_Park Theodore Roosevelt National Park lies in western North Dakota, where the Great Plains meet the rugged Badlands. A habitat for bison, elk and prairie dogs, the sprawling park has 3 sections linked by the Little Missouri River. The park is known for the South Unit’s colorful Painted Canyon and the Maltese Cross Cabin, where President Roosevelt once lived. The Scenic Loop Drive winds past several overlooks and trails. When Theodore Roosevelt came to Dakota Territory to hunt bison in 1883, he was a skinny, young, spectacled dude from New York. He could not have imagined how his adventure in this remote and unfamiliar place would forever alter the course of the nation. The rugged landscape and strenuous life that TR experienced here would help shape a conservation policy that we still benefit from today. Theodore Roosevelt National Park is located in the Badlands of western North Dakota. There are three units to the park. The South Unit entrance is in the town of Medora, ND off of Interstate 94 exits 24 and 27. The North Unit entrance is on Highway 85 approximately 14 miles south of Watford City, ND. The remote Elkhorn Ranch Unit sits roughly in the middle of the North and South Units and is accessed via gravel roads. Consult park staff for directions to the Elkhorn Ranch Unit. North Unit Visitor Center A small visitor center is located at the park entrance for visitors to the North Unit. Speak with a ranger, receive assistance with any trip planning needs, obtain a backcountry permit, purchase a souvenir at the bookstore, or watch the park film, Refuge of the American Spirit. Restrooms are available at this location. The North Unit entrance is on U.S. Highway 85, approximately 14 miles south of Watford City, ND and 50 miles north of Belfield, ND. The distance by road from Medora to the North Unit is approximately 70 miles. I-94 travelers can access U.S. Highway 85 at Exit 42 in Belfield, ND. Painted Canyon Visitor Center Features: Panoramic views, wildlife viewing, hiking trails, staffed information desk, exhibits and displays, gift shop, picnic shelters, drinking fountain, vending machines, public telephone, and restrooms are wheelchair accessible. Take exit 32 from Interstate 94. The rest stop off of the highway includes two buildings. One is a visitor center and one includes restrooms, as well as a scenic overlook. South Unit Visitor Center Rangers staff the desk, assist visitors with trip planning, and issue backcountry permits. Theodore Roosevelt's Maltese Cross Cabin, located just outside, is open for self-guided tours year-round. Ranger-led cabin tours are offered in the summer. The park film, Refuge of the American Spirit, shows in the theater. A bookstore sells books, postcards, and more. A museum houses artifacts from Theodore Roosevelt's presidency and time in the badlands. The South Unit Visitor Center is located at the entrance to the park's scenic loop drive in the town of Medora, ND. Cottonwood Campground Cottonwood Campground lies inside the park, about 5 miles from Medora, ND. It is the South Unit's only campground. Half the sites are by reservation at recreation.gov while all remaining sites are first come, first served. Most sites are suitable for tents and RVs (no hookups). Cottonwood Campground fills to capacity each afternoon, mid-May through mid-September. Standard Campsite - Summer Rate 14.00 One night in a standard campsite, limited to 1 family or 6 people. Summer rates are in effect May through September. Standard Campsite - Summer Rate - Senior/Access Pass 7.00 One night in a standard campsite, limited to 1 family or 6 people. Summer rates are in effect May through September. This discounted rate applies to sites occupied by a person with a valid Senior or Access Pass. (Note: this does not include Interagency, TRNP, or Military Annual Pass holders.) Standard Campsite - Winter Rate 7.00 One night in a standard campsite, limited to 1 family or 6 people. Winter rates are in effect October through April. Standard Campsite - Winter Rate - Senior/Access Pass 3.50 One night in a standard campsite, limited to 1 family or 6 people. Winter rates are in effect October through April. This discounted rate applies to sites occupied by a person with a valid Senior or Access Pass. (Note: this does not include Interagency, TRNP, or Military Annual Pass holders.) Group Site Rate 30.00 One night in the Cottonwood Campground Group Site by groups of 7 to 20 people. By reservation only - see the Reservations section. Passholder discounts do not apply. Cottonwood Campground Site 53 A campsite beneath cottonwood trees with an open field and buttes in the distance. Primitive campsites offer opportunities to be immersed in nature. Cottonwood Campground campsite 12 A curved gravel parking pad lined with boulders and an adjacent campsite and picnic table. Sites in Cottonwood Campground range from full sun to full shade. Camp Host A bison stands next to an RV and behind a sign reading Campground Host No, he's not really your campground host. But bison do frequent the campground. Be sure to keep a safe distance. Cottonwood Site 74 A campsite in an open, grassy area with buttes and fall leaves in the background. Some sites receive full sun. Cottonwood Campground A quiet campground setting with tents and picnic tables beneath spindly cottonwood trees. Walk-to campsites in Cottonwood Campground Juniper Campground Juniper Campground is 5 miles from Hwy 85 and is the only campground in the park's North Unit. All sites are open to tent camping and most can also be used by vehicles/RVs (no hookups). All regular sites are first come, first served. The group site is by reservation only at recreation.gov. See the RESERVATIONS section below. Standard Campsite - Summer Rate 14.00 One night in a standard campsite, limited to 1 family or 6 people. Summer rates are in effect May through September. Standard Campsite - Winter Rate 7.00 One night in a standard campsite, limited to 1 family or 6 people. Winter rates are in effect October through April. Standard Campsite - Summer Rate - Senior/Access Pass 7.00 One night in a standard campsite, limited to 1 family or 6 people. Summer rates are in effect May through September. This discounted rate applies to sites occupied by a person with a valid Senior or Access Pass. (Note: this does not include Interagency, TRNP, or Military Annual Pass holders.) Standard Campsite - Winter Rate - Senior/Access Pass 3.50 One night in a standard campsite, limited to 1 family or 6 people. Winter rates are in effect October through April. This discounted rate applies to sites occupied by a person with a valid Senior or Access Pass. (Note: this does not include Interagency, TRNP, or Military Annual Pass holders.) Generally, winter rates are in effect October through April. (There are no set dates.) Camping - Group Site 30.00 One night in the Juniper Group Site (open May through September) for a group of 7 to 60 people. By reservation only - see Reservation section. Passholder discounts do not apply. Juniper Group Site A green lawn interspersed with spindly cottonwood trees with picnic tables, grills, and a restroom. The Juniper Campground Group Site has ample space for tenting. Juniper Campground Scenery A dense stand of dark, arcing tree trunks support bright green leaves in this sunny scene. Juniper Campground boasts great solitude and scenery. Be Prepared to Share A large bull bison lays beside a small tent. Bison are frequent visitors to park campgrounds. Be sure to keep a safe distance of at least 25 yards or more! Juniper Picnic Area A picnic shelter sits in a green lawn with picnic tables and large cottonwood trees. Juniper picnic area, near Juniper Campground, features open space, picnic tables, a restoom, and a picnic shelter. Juniper Group Site A dirt path recedes into a law interspersed with trees, picnic tables, and grills. The group site, like the rest of the campground, is a mix of sun and shade. Roundup Group Horse Camp Roundup is the park's only camping facility in which horses are permitted. This private campsite is located 12 miles from Medora, ND in the park's South Unit. It is reserved by one group at a time; space is not be shared among different parties. Reservations for Roundup begin each season on the first business day in March at 8:00 am MST. See the RESERVATIONS section below. Roundup can accommodate up to 20 people and 20 horses or 30 people if camping without horses. Roundup Group Campsite - Nightly Rate 40.00 Exclusive use of Roundup Group Horse Camp by one group of up to 20 people and 20 horses or 30 people without horses. Maximum stay is 5 nights. Roundup Group Horse Camp A wood pavilion and restroom at the edge of a curved gravel drive with green grass Roundup Group Horse Camp has ample space and parking. Roundup horse facilities A horse corral area with green hills in the background and a gravel drive in the foreground. Corrals, hitching posts, and horse mounting ramp are provided. Mike Auney Trail A dirt trail extends towards a grove of green trees with rolling badlands scenery behind. The Mike Auney Trail begins at Roundup Group Horse Camp and takes hikers and riders west across the Little Missouri River and into the Theodore Roosevelt Wilderness. Choose a Trail A trail post with brown sign labeling the direction of two trails. Two trails depart from Roundup, linking riders with trails on both sides of the Little Missouri River. River Bend Overlook, North Unit A colorfully striped butte in the foreground overlooks a dark green badlands landscape The River Bend Overlook offers one of the most popular views in the park's North Unit. A View from the Maah Daah Hey Trail the Little Missouri River under blue skies The Maah Daah Hey Trail follows the Little Missouri River for several miles before it enters the Theodore Roosevelt Wilderness. Ekblom Trail A muddy river bank lined with cottonwood trees and steep buttes The Ekblom Trail is the gateway to the Theodore Roosevelt Wilderness. All you have to do is make it across the river! Raise a Ruckus two bull bison collide heads in a dusty battle for dominance In the summer, bull bison wage furious battles over the right to breed. Milky Way the swirling, dusty looking milky way runs vertically though a starry night sky Though light pollution in the area is increasing, the night sky over Theodore Roosevelt National Park remains beautiful and inspiring. Bison Trail a string of bison are silhouetted against the backdrop of hazy blue and yellow badlands Bison roam the badlands from top to bottom, surprising visitors with their agility and ability to cross even the most rugged terrain. Sunset on Buck Hill a green prairie hilltop overlooks the badlands, shrouded in shadows A short climb to the top of Buck Hill in the park's South Unit rewards hikers with a sweeping panorama and a fantastic place to watch the sun rise or set. Fall Bugle A bugling bull elk and his harem of cows stand on the edge of a butte as the sunlight fades The ghostly bugles of bull elk can be heard wafting through the badlands in the fall. Hoodoos a strange looking sand and rock formation stands in a prairie of brown grass Theodore Roosevelt described the badlands as "so fantastically broken in form and so bizarre in color as to seem hardly properly to belong to this earth." Maltese Cross Cabin The rising sun casts light on Roosevelt's snow-covered cabin. Imagine waking up on a crisp winter morning in Roosevelt's Maltese Cross Cabin. It is no wonder that his heart was captured by the romance of life in the West. Park Air Profiles - Theodore Roosevelt National Park Air quality profile for Theodore Roosevelt National Park. Gives park-specific information about air quality and air pollution impacts for Theodore Roosevelt NP as well as the studies and monitoring conducted for Theodore Roosevelt NP. Sunset view from Wind Canyon Trail NPS Geodiversity Atlas—Theodore Roosevelt National Park, North Dakota Each park-specific page in the NPS Geodiversity Atlas provides basic information on the significant geologic features and processes occurring in the park. Links to products from Baseline Geologic and Soil Resources Inventories provide access to maps and reports. [Site Under Development] badlands overlook Plant Community Monitoring at Theodore Roosevelt National Park Theodore Roosevelt National Park is composed of three discrete units, each of which is a patchwork of mixed-grass prairie, clay buttes, bottomland forest, and open shrublands. The three park units are connected by the Little Missouri River. The park contains a great diversity of plants, but an increase in exotic plants could change this. We monitor plant communities here to better understand the current health of park ecosystems and to detect park-wide trends in vegetation. A tall plant growing in a clump with long flower spikes of pretty cream flowers Bison Bellows: Theodore Roosevelt National Park Meet the herd of Theodore Roosevelt National Park! A bison standing atop a green hill in grass up to its chest, a cloudy blue sky behind Origin of the Teddy Bear One of the world's most well-loved bears is part of the history surrounding President Theodore "Teddy" Roosevelt. Teddy Bear The Bull Moose in Winter: Theodore Roosevelt and World War I Roosevelt believed America should prepare for war. President Wilson wanted to keep America out of it. Theodore Roosevelt, seated Fertility control produces potential for feral horse management in park units A recent study done in Theodore Roosevelt National Park shows the potential of fertility control - or contraceptives - to manage feral horse populations in the park. Wild (feral) horses and foal in Theodore Roosevelt National Park. Landbird Monitoring at Theodore Roosevelt National Park The Northern Great Plains Inventory and Monitoring Network have been monitoring landbirds at Theodore Roosevelt National Park since 2012. The Little Missouri River winds through all three units of the park and attracts numerous bird species to its floodplain cottonwood forest. a bird with black body, white cheeks and chestnut neck patch, sitting on a strand of barbed wire. Theodore Roosevelt National Park Successfully Conducts Prescribed Fire After Years of Planning In May 2014, staff of Theodore Roosevelt NP completed the Beef Corral Wash prescribed fire in Billings County. Goals included reducing fuels, stimulating new growth, altering grazing patterns of bison and elk, reducing Rocky Mountain juniper encroachment, encouraging fire-dependent plant growth, and restoring fire to a fire-dependent ecosystem that has not seen documented fire in >100 years. The fire supported a main NPS goal to restore and maintain resilient landscapes. Smoke rises in multiple places from badlands. Wildland Fire in Ponderosa Pine: Western United States This forest community generally exists in areas with annual rainfall of 25 inches or less. Extensive pure stands of this forest type are found in the southwestern U.S., central Washington and Oregon, southern Idaho and the Black Hills of South Dakota. Recently burned ponderosa pine forest. Junior Web Ranger Activities for Ages 7-10 Welcome to Theodore Roosevelt National Park. We have online activities for 7 - 10 year olds that include a virtual tour, wildlife watching, keeping your own journal, and more. Join us for these fun activities and a reward at the end. Badlands reveal layers of ancient rock. Population Viability Study This study confirms that management of DOI bison herds in isolation promotes the loss of genetic diversity within all herds. More importantly, this study demonstrates that increased herd size and targeted removal strategies can reduce rates of diversity loss, and that adopting a Departmental metapopulation strategy through facilitated periodic movement of modest numbers of bison among DOI herds (i.e., restoring effective gene flow) can substantially reduce the... Bison Population Viability Study Series: Geologic Time Periods in the Cenozoic Era The Cenozoic Era (66 million years ago [MYA] through today) is the "Age of Mammals." North America’s characteristic landscapes began to develop during the Cenozoic. Birds and mammals rose in prominence after the extinction of giant reptiles. Common Cenozoic fossils include cat-like carnivores and early horses, as well as ice age woolly mammoths. fossils on display at a visitor center Series: Wildlife in the Badlands Ever wonder what kind of wildlife could survive the harsh climate of the Badlands? Two small, grey young lambs walk down brown badlands slope. Series: Research in Badlands National Park Scientists often look to the Badlands as a research subject. Many studies have been conducted in the park on a variety of topics, including paleontology, geology, biology, and archaeology. Learn more about these research topics in this article series. two researchers converse over a sheet of paper while a woman to their right uses a microscope. Series: Plant Community Monitoring in Northern Great Plains Network Parks Plant communities are essential components of all major ecosystems. Plants are the ultimate source of food for other organisms and the main source of organic material in soil and water. They also influence climate and provide the scenery that park visitors enjoy. The NPS Northern Great Plains Network monitors the number, identity, and relative abundance of plant species, as well as their horizontal cover and vertical structure, to determine the health of park ecosystems. Two people sitting on the ground looking at plants Series: Park Air Profiles Clean air matters for national parks around the country. Photo of clouds above the Grand Canyon, AZ Quaternary Period—2.58 MYA to Today Massive ice sheets advanced and retreated across North America during much of the Quaternary, carving landscapes in many parks. Bering Land Bridge National Preserve contains geologic evidence of lower sea level during glacial periods, facilitating the prehistoric peopling of the Americas. The youngest rocks in the NPS include the lava of Hawaii Volcanoes National Park and the travertine at Yellowstone National Park, which can be just a few hours old. fossil bone bed and murals of mammoths Paleogene Period—66.0 to 23.0 MYA Colorful Paleogene rocks are exposed in the hoodoos of Bryce Canyon National Park and the badlands of Badlands and Theodore Roosevelt national parks. Extraordinary Paleogene fossils are found in Fossil Butte and John Day Fossil Beds national monuments, among other parks. fossil skull with teeth expsoed Cenozoic Era The Cenozoic Era (66 million years ago [MYA] through today) is the "Age of Mammals." North America’s characteristic landscapes began to develop during the Cenozoic. Birds and mammals rose in prominence after the extinction of giant reptiles. Common Cenozoic fossils include cat-like carnivores and early horses, as well as ice age woolly mammoths. fossils on display in a visitor center Changing Patterns of Water Availability May Change Vegetation Composition in US National Parks Across the US, changes in water availability are altering which plants grow where. These changes are evident at a broad scale. But not all areas experience the same climate in the same way, even within the boundaries of a single national park. A new dataset gives park managers a valuable tool for understanding why vegetation has changed and how it might change in the future under different climate-change scenarios. Green, orange, and dead grey junipers in red soil, mountains in background Plan Like A Park Ranger: Top 10 Tips for Visiting Theodore Roosevelt National Park Learn more about how to Plan Like a Park Ranger for the next trip to your National Park! Ranger hat on grass with binoculars and booklets. Things to Do in North Dakota Find things to do in North Dakota. View of seven bison on on a ridge with ridges stretching into the distance behind. Series: Things to Do in the Midwest There is something for everyone in the Midwest. See what makes the Great Plains great. Dip your toes in the continent's inland seas. Learn about Native American heritage and history. Paddle miles of scenic rivers and waterways. Explore the homes of former presidents. From the Civil War to Civil Rights, discover the stories that shape our journey as a nation. Steep bluff with pink sky above and yellow leaves below. Volcanic Ash, Tephra Fall, and Fallout Deposits Volcanic ash, pumice, and tephra ejected in volcanic eruptions ultimately falls back to Earth where it covers the ground. These deposits may be the thin dustings or may be many tens of feet (meters) thick near an eruptive vent. Volcanic ash and tephra can present geohazards that are present great distances from the erupting volcano. photo of a bluff with exposed fine-grained volcanic ash and pumice. Series: Geologic Time—Major Divisions and NPS Fossils The National Park System contains a magnificent record of geologic time because rocks from each period of the geologic time scale are preserved in park landscapes. The geologic time scale is divided into four large periods of time—the Cenozoic Era, Mesozoic Era, Paleozoic Era, and The Precambrian. photo of desert landscape with a petrified wood log on the surface 50 Nifty Finds #38: A Germ of an Idea A lot of articles have been written about the history of the National Park Service (NPS) arrowhead emblem. Many recycle the same content and outdated information that has largely come from the NPS itself. Challenging the traditional story has revealed new sources of information—and two previously overlooked arrowhead designs—that rewrite the arrowhead origin story. Wooden arrowhead plaque on stand
National Park Service U.S. Department of the Interior Theodore Roosevelt National Park Coal Vein A Guided Nature Trail Hel p res us sav our e Plea ces the se retu ! rn bo xw hen this bro ch you Wa fnis ure to nt h hi See a cop y? D king bac kp . age ownlo ad for it! det ails . Be aware of the following: Cliff Edges Stairs Rattlesnakes Wildlife Poison Ivy Beautiful layers of rock tell a story of the 60-million-year geologic history of the badlands. From ancient swamps to recent coal fres, this landscape is constantly changing. Learn about badlands geology by following the numbered trail posts. Stay to the left to follow the posts in numerical order. 1. Layers Each layer of rock has its own origin story, told by its color. Brick-red Clinker forms when coal veins catch fre and bake the rock above, changing it into this much harder, red rock. Black Coal is the remains of ancient plants and animals that lived in Evergladeslike swamps. Brown and Tan Sandstone, siltstone, and mudstone are sediments washed down from the Rocky Mountains. Blue-grey Bentonite clay is made of ash from distant volcanoes. 2. Collapse In this area there was a 12-foot-thick coal vein deep underground. In 1951 it caught fre and burned for 26 years. As it burned away, the rocks above were left unsupported and the surface collapsed, forming the depression you are about to enter. Before the fre, the land was level with the top of the stairs. 3. Bentonite Notice the sediment on either side of the trail. Fifty-fve million years ago, volcanoes in the Rockies spewed out ash that blew east. At that time, this area was a vast, tropical swamp. The ash settled in wet areas and became bentonite clay. Bentonite looks like popcorn when dry (below), but becomes sticky, slick mud when wet. It can absorb up to fve times its weight in water. Known as the mineral of one thousand uses, it is used to seal landflls and ponds, to make cat litter, and much more. Stay to the left to continue on the guided nature trail. Take the right on the cutoff trail to avoid a section of trail with very steep stairs. You will rejoin the guided nature trail near post #11. 4. Caprocks Rocks in the badlands are generally soft and easily eroded by rain and streams. Some are harder than others, and become caprocks. A caprock acts like a helmet, shielding softer rock underneath. When the rocks underneath fnally erode away, large pieces of caprock break of and fall. The large pieces of sandstone behind you were once caprocks at the top of the hill. Left: An example of a caprock found elsewhere in the park. 5. Dry Climate The dry climate of western North Dakota keeps the badlands from eroding away more quickly — if rain were more common, the soft rocks would have washed away long ago. The lack of moisture allows only the hardiest plants to survive. The trees here are Rocky Mountain juniper. They, and all the other shrubs, grasses, and wildfowers you fnd here, are adapted to survive in this land of extreme temperatures and little moisture. 6. Seasonal Pool Low spots like this one formed when the ground collapsed during the coal vein fre. They fll with water in the wet springtime and after summer rains. These seasonal ponds are important 7. Burn Out Just ahead and to the right is where the coal vein fre burned out after 26 years (1951-1977). Visitors could see smoke, glowing coals, and sometimes fames. They even roasted marshmallows over the fre! Right: This photograph was taken in the 1970s as the burning coal fre crept toward its end. Caution! Steep cliff edges ahead. habitats for western chorus frogs which must lay their eggs in standing water. Listen for the chirping of the male chorus frogs near seasonal pools from April to June. 8. Hills Overlook The trail goes to the right. To your left is an overlook. Be careful; the edge drops of sharply. From the overlook, you can see how the terrain afects plant life. The slopes you see face north. They receive very little direct sunlight which helps retain moisture, allowing juniper to thrive. South-facing slopes receive a lot of direct sunlight. They are very dry and support only hardy grasses and a few drought-tolerant shrubs. 9. Clinker Feel the red rock next to the post. It is locally called scoria, but its true name is clinker. Clinker is created when a burning coal seam bakes the rock layer above it. Baking rock is like putting clay into a kiln to make pottery — the rock hardens as it bakes. Because clinker is one of the hardest rocks in the badlands, it functions as a caprock atop many buttes. 10. Seasonal Stream Just ahead, stairs lead to the valley of a seasonal stream. As you descend, notice the cool, moist air against your skin. Because it is protected from the sun, this area stays moist and cool. Note the plants you see here and compare them to the plants you have encountered in open grassland. What are the diferences? Continue straight ahead to follow the guided nature trail. 11. Ignitio
National Park Service U.S. Department of the Interior Theodore Roosevelt National Park Ridgeline A Guided Nature Trail save s u Help urces! e to reso chur o ing. is br n th h hik r s i u n t e f ou se r en y Plea d it! x wh o nloa ls. b w e o h D t ? etai opy e for d tac g Wan ack pa b See Be aware of the following: Cliff Edges Stairs Rattlesnakes Wildlife Poison Ivy Ridgeline Nature Trail Lakota people called this land mako shika, or “land of no good.” French explorers called it les mauvais terres á traverser, “bad lands to travel through.” The English name is badlands. It is dry, maze-like, and rugged. Survival can be tough. Even so, many plants and animals do survive and even thrive here. Learn more as you follow the numbered trail posts. 1. Look deeper As you hike this trail, look closely. The juniper trees surrounding you now are hard to miss. Also notice the many other plants, including chokecherry, crisply scented silver sagebrush, and many grasses and small fowers. Animals eat most of these plants and Silver sagebrush ( Artemisia cana) Choke cherry (Prunus virginiana) American Indians have long used them for food or medicine. Some plants are toxic. In order to survive, people and animals had to learn which plants could help or harm them. Prairie wild rose (Rosa arkansana) Purple conefower (Echinacea angustifolia) 2. Mako shika Imagine traveling across the Great Plains in a covered wagon and coming upon this scene. The name badlands is understandable. Next, imagine yourself as a hunter on foot—butte tops become good lookouts and valleys become good places to travel undetected. Now imagine yourself as prey, using the lookouts and hiding places to evade predators. Once you get to know the badlands, you can use the rugged landscape to your advantage. Continue straight ahead to follow the guided nature trail. 3. Grasslands Grasslands look simple at frst glance, but upon closer inspection are complex. Hundreds of species of plants live in the park, most of them grasses and wildfowers. Grasslands support grazers, animals that eat mostly grass, such as bison. In fact, grasslands depend on grazers. Grazers fertilize the soil with their manure. Their pointed hooves pierce the soil allowing rainwater to fnd its way into the ground. By grazing selectively, they help many plant species thrive. 4. Shrubs Shrubs, like the silver sagebrush in front of you, provide cover for small mammals and birds and are also food for browsers (animals that eat shrubs such as deer, elk, and pronghorn.) Silver bufaloberry (Shepherdia argentea) Browsers and fres keep shrubs from overtaking the grasslands. Without them, tree and shrub cover increases, shading out smaller plants and reducing the prairie’s diversity. Rubber rabbitbrush (Chrysothamnus nauseosus) Golden currant (Ribes aureum) Continue straight ahead to follow the trail posts in numerical order. 5. Expressway Travel through the badlands is much faster since the construction of Interstate 94 in the 1960s. Increased travel to and through the badlands Caution! Steep cliff edges ahead means more chances of introducing plants and animals that aren’t originally from this area. Some introduced species are damaging; others are not. 6. New Neighbors Not all of the plant species you see were here 200 years ago. Those that were here before European settlement are called native species. The prairie depends on native species to play their part in the environment–as food or shelter for animals, or as protection and nutrients for soil. Plants that have been introduced are called non-native species. Many non-native species blend into the environment and do not pose a threat; others become a problem. These problem species are called invasive species. 7. Invaders Invasive plants, such as Canada thistle, often spread quickly and take over large areas, crowding out native species. Some invasive plants, like leafy spurge, slow the growth of nearby plants by releasing toxic chemicals from their roots. Many invasive plants Canada thistle (Cirsium arvense) cannot be eaten by native wildlife. Their spread reduces the amount of food available for grazers. Theodore Roosevelt National Park is actively fghting to keep invasive species from overtaking the native prairie. Leafy spurge (Euphorbia esula)) Smooth brome (Bromus inermis) Continue straight along the ridge to the next post. 8. Variety As you look out across the landscape, notice its diversity: some areas have trees; some are grassy; and some are almost bare. This is the infuence of terrain on plant life. Do you see the pattern? Trees grow where they can get enough water, usually along streams or northern sides of hills where the sun doesn’t dry up moisture as quickly. Grasses are adapted to dry areas like the tops and southern sides of hills. 9. Cooling Down You are entering the north slope of the ridge you’ve been walking along. Notice there are fewer grasses and more trees and shrubs. Grasses t

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