Dean M. Chriss
Cottonwood Grove, Theodore Roosevelt National Park
(Click image to enlarge)
Theodore Roosevelt National Park is a diverse place. The terrain varies from
steep cliffs in sharply eroded badlands to shady cottonwood groves along the
edge of the Little Missouri River, like the one shown in the image above.
President Theodore Roosevelt first came to this place badlands in 1883. He later
said "I never would have been President if it had not been for my experiences in
North Dakota". In subsequent years he witnessed the destruction of wildlife
habitat from overgrazing as some big game species nearly vanished from the area.
During his Presidency, Roosevelt established the US Forest Service and signed
the 1906 Antiquities Act
under which he proclaimed 18 national monuments. He also established 5 national
parks, 51 wildlife refuges and 150 national forests. This Republican president
told the nation that "We have fallen heirs to the most glorious heritage a
people ever received, and each one must do his part if we wish to show that the
nation is worthy of its good fortune". Between 2016 and 2020 President Donald
Trump removed federal protection from more land than Theodore Roosevelt
protected. I wonder what Roosevelt might think about the lack of regard for our
environment exhibited by his party today.