Two crown jewels in the heart of North Dakota have recently been announced as historic places tied to President Theodore Roosevelt’s conservation legacy.
The Elkhorn Ranch and Greater Elkhorn Ranchlands are now on the National Register of Historic places as a national historic district. President Roosevelt made the Elkhorn Ranch his home and explored, hunted and wrote about the Greater Elkhorn Ranchlands.
“Teddy Roosevelt would be very pleased today,” said US Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell. “This designation officially puts Elkhorn Ranch on the map as a destination for Americans who want to visit and learn more about one of our true ‘cradles of conservation.’”
The Forest Service has nearly 4,000 historic sites listed on the national registry. Grey Towers, the ancestral home of Gifford Pinchot- the first chief of the Forest Service, under President Roosevelt’s administration – is also a historic site listed on the national registry.
The National Register is the official listing of the nation’s historic places worthy of preservation. National Register evaluation and nomination is a federal requirement under the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966.
The Elkhorn Ranch was owned and operated by President Roosevelt prior to the turn of the 20th Century. It was purchased by the Forest Service in 2007 for its historical significance, with the support of multiple partners including: the Boone & Crockett Club, Friends of Elkhorn Ranch, Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, Ducks Unlimited and some 20 other American wildlife conservation partners. Today, it symbolizes the multiple-use mission of the Forest Service by balancing protection of a historic property with local on-going land uses, values and practices.
Nomination efforts began in 2007 with field inventory and historical assessment. The National Register nomination went through several iterations to address concerns identified during the North Dakota State Historic Preservation Office and public review processes. The size of the historic district was reduced and now comprises 4,402 acres of National Forest, National Park Service and private lands. Land management activities on National Forest lands within the National Register district will not be restricted because of this largely honorific national designation.
The Forest Service is truly honored to have worked with a coalition of public and private partners to elevate this site’s legacy as a historic part of the American conservation movement.