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New gift for the proposed Theodore Roosevelt Library — and a proposal to redo the Painted Canyon Visitor Center

ND Tourism

In his “State of the State” address to North Dakota Legislators, Gov. Doug Burgum made a ‘surprise” announcement – regarding the proposed Theodore Roosevelt Presidential Library, scheduled to be built in Medora.

"I have the honor to make the public announcement, that Harold Hamm has completed a gift of $50 million to the Theodore Roosevelt Presidential Library Foundation," Burgum said, to a round of applause in the House chamber.

Hamm is the chair of Continental Resources – and is credited with helping to unlock the Bakken oil play.

Theodore Roosevelt Presidential Library Foundation chairman Ed O’Keefe called the gift a “game changer.”

The North Dakota Legislature approved a $50 million endowment for the Library, contingent on raising $100 million from private sources. The Foundation said that goal was met – and O’Keefe said Hamm’s gift is a major boost for the project.

Painted Canyon Visitors Center

Burgum said he also wants to update the “Painted Canyon Visitors Center” at the eastern entrance to Theodore Roosevelt National Park.

Calling it “North Dakota’s most visited place,” Burgum – in his “State of the State” speech – said it was built in the 1960s.

"This outdated, cinder-block rest stop, run on National Park Service land, looks a lot like my grade school in Arthur," Burgum said.

Burgum said his budget proposal has money for rebuilding and updating that center.

"We have a vision for a Painted Canyon Visitors Center that will inspire visitors of the Theodore Roosevelt National Park to learn more about why only one of the 63 National Parks is named after a person, versus a place," Burgum said.

Burgum said the Center will also illustrate Roosevelt's vision of National Parks was for the benefit and enjoyment of the American people.

"As partners in this project, with the National Park Service and the National Park Foundation, North Dakota will have an opportunity to tell the North Dakota story to the millions of visitors, stopping to enjoy one of the most spectacular, unspoiled views in America," Burgum said.

The Center is closed in winter. But Burgum said he would like to see it open year-round – as it was after it was first built.

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