Explore the Oil and Gas Development That Threatens Theodore Roosevelt’s Backyard

Theodore Roosevelt National Park

When a young Theodore Roosevelt owned and operated a cattle ranch in the badlands of western North Dakota in the 1880s, the landscape was a remote wilderness. Sixty years later, when the area around his ranch was protected as part of Theodore Roosevelt National Park, it quickly became a destination for travelers looking for unspoiled vistas and abundant wildlife.

Today, things are different. Western North Dakota is experiencing a boom in oil and natural gas production, and the landscape around Theodore Roosevelt National Park is seeing a massive influx of rigs, well pads, trucks, pipelines, and roads. The oil and gas boom has altered the experience of visiting Theodore Roosevelt, and threatens the values for which it was protected.

This past summer, journalist Tara Lohan toured the country to witness the impacts of oil and gas development firsthand, and spent time in western North Dakota. Her photographs and experiences have been collected here in a GeoStory–an interactive platform that combines maps with stories and photos so that viewers can visually explore places and issues. See the impact of energy development on the area around Theodore Roosevelt National Park, and learn more about how the national park air, water, wildlife, and visitor experience are threatened by widespread oil and gas development.


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About the Author

Landscape Conservation Program Manager Nick Lund

Nick Lund is senior manager of NPCA's Conservation Programs.

  • Anonymous

    Theodore Roosevelt National Park is just one of the many regions dealing with the threat of fracking to natural habitats and vistas. I am often caught considering the values of our nation, especially when those values place resource extraction and short term gains over the conservation of our natural world. Individuals who see a natural area purely for its resource extraction values and monetary gains need to rethink their priorities. There is no amount of money that can recreate the wonders created in nature and once they are gone they can never be replaced at the same quality. Fracking operations are threatening natural ecosystems and need to be reined in to less intrusive levels (I am not crazy enough to think it can all just go away, unfortunately that just isn’t going to happen any time soon).

  • AnonymousRPT640

    The park’s loss of scenic beauty is tragic. It is shocking that this national park is just one of many that are faced with situations such as this. It’s heartbreaking to know that generations after mine will not be able to appreciate nature as I do. I understand that the world undergoes many important changes for our economy and such but such changes are destroying homes of animals and the nature scene.