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  • Writer's pictureNorth Dakota Wildlife Federation

Conservation Note: On Legacies & Libraries

The Theodore Roosevelt Presidential Library will bring thousands of visitors to western North Dakota. The new attraction will bring people and money into local restaurants and bars, motels and campsites in nearby towns. But when tourists leave the Library, what will they see in the surrounding landscape? Will it be pump jacks and oil pads or the wild Badlands that Roosevelt himself experienced?

The Library has lofty goals with the design “setting an ambitious new standard for

environmental conservation and sustainability leadership,” but just outside the Library site, the very same Badlands that forged Roosevelt’s conservation legacy, face numerous threats. Development and infrastructure projects pose significant risks to the integrity of the last remaining roadless areas of the Badlands. Without permanent conservation protection, human development will irreversibly alter these last remaining acres of wild country, leading to habitat destruction, loss of biodiversity, and harm to one of the state’s largest tourism attractions.

Therefore, it’s time for the State to partner with the Library and call to protect those remaining acres as they were in Roosevelt’s sojourn. Theodore Roosevelt, through a lifelong journey of policy and legislation, turned America’s wild landscape into its most enduring treasure. It's time North Dakota took a history lesson from Teddy and conserve what we have left. Doing so can protect the remaining intact, roadless units, and enable more people to appreciate the Badlands of western North Dakota that shaped Roosevelt’s conservation vision.


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