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North Dakota's Best Idea — Theodore Roosevelt National Park

“I grow very fond of this place, and it certainly has a desolate, grim beauty of its own, that has a curious fascination for me.” - Theodore Roosevelt

Annual Dakota Nights Astronomy Festival to Be Held at Theodore Roosevelt National Park and Historic Medora


The fifth annual Dakota Nights Astronomy Festival will be held September 15 - 17 in Theodore Roosevelt National Park and the town of Historic Medora. This year’s guest speakers are astronomer and NASA Ambassador Lynn Powers; Dr. Paul Barnhart of the Department of Natural Sciences at Dickinson State University; and NASA Solar System Ambassador and educator Chris Milford.

Founders Day 2016

Spring 2017 Newsletter


The Founders Day celebration in 2016 was extra special as it coordinated with the US Mint officially releasing the Theodore Roosevelt National Park quarter. The Mint released the quarter at a special ceremony at Painted Canyon. The scenic overlook provided a dramatic background for the event that was attended by dignitaries and area school children.

Theodore Roosevelt National Park gears up for a busy year: "TRNP is anticipating a sizable boost in visitors thanks to both centennial events and North Dakota Tourism’s nationwide marketing push" — Read more at The Dickinson Press.


Our Mission


The mission of this non-profit organization is to support the natural, cultural, and scenic resources, and the spirit and sense of place of the three units of Theodore Roosevelt National Park and the Little Missouri River that unites them in the badlands of North Dakota.


This will be accomplished by advocating for the park, raising public awareness, engaging youth, and raising funds for projects that support the park's mission and Theodore Roosevelt's conservation legacy.


Friends of Theodore Roosevelt National Park is eager to help Theodore Roosevelt National Park with friend-raising. Our first donation of park support was to be a sponsor of the North Dakota sneak preview (September 17, 2009) of the Ken Burns Film: The National Parks - America's Best Idea. One of the Friends Group board members, Clay Jenkinson, was featured as a scholar in two episodes of the Ken Burns film series.

Our Goals


Many North Dakotans love their national park, but few are truly engaged with the park and its issues. Young people have not been well engaged, but in the past year the park has seen more youth and families visit. The Friends Group hopes to help capitalize on both the recent Ken Burns film and the resurgence of family visitors and help to inspire other young people to get to know the park.


In addition, we hope to help the park reach other under-served groups, including those who often take Theodore Roosevelt National Park for granted.

The 2017 Board of Directors


President - Larry Heilmann

Vice President - Tama Smith

Secretary - Lisa Omlid

Treasurer - Paul Barnhart


Additional Board Members


Mike Hanson

Mindi Schmitz

Eric Brevik

Denise Steinbach

Lorrie Pavlicek

Don Frye

Deb Zillich

Ruth Molm

David Schwalbe


Park Liaisons


Wendy Ross, Superintendent, Theodore Roosevelt National Park - Medora, ND


Eileen Andes, Chief of Interpretation, Theodore Roosevelt National Park - Medora, ND

TRNP Special Programs 2016

Night at Museum March 19, 6:00 p.m.  South Unit Visitor Center

Jr. Ranger Day April 16 All Day South Unit Visitor Center

National Park Week (Fee Free Week) Apr 16-23 All Day TRNP

National Trails Day June 4 All Day TRNP

62nd Annual Bird Walk (Hosted by TRNHA) June 5 6:30 a.m. Campground

BioBlitz (Hosted by DSU) June 24-25 (Time Varies) Peaceful Valley

Teddy Bear Picnic (Hosted by TRNHA) July 10 (Time TBA) South Unit Picnic Area

Terry Tempest Williams (Hosted by TRNHA) July 24 (Time TBA) Cottonwood Campground

Founders Day (Quarter Release) Aug 25 10:00 a.m. Painted Canyon

Dakota Nights Sept 23-25 (Time Varies) TRNP South Unit

Photo Award Display (Presented by TRNHA) Dec 3 All Day South Unit Visitor Center

Bird Count Dec 18 8:00 a.m. South Unit Visitor Center

We wish to thank the following for their generosity

in helping the Friends of Theodore Roosevelt National Park preserve and protect our park:


The Theodore Roosevelt Medora Foundation

The Home Merchant

The Buffalo Gap Gift Shop and Stitchery

Don Carey

Valerie Naylor

Joe and Katherine Satrom

David Schwalbe

Larry Heilmann

Naomi Thorson

Hoeschler-O’Brien Fund of the Saint Paul Foundation

The Alice M. O’Brien Foundation by request of Terry and Kristen O’Brien


(701) 623-4466

Friends of Theodore Roosevelt National Park

All Rights Reserved 2016

Photos courtesy of David Nix

Website by Makoché Media