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Sullys Hill Preserve

Theodore Roosevelt created the first National Park in North Dakota. It was just weeks old on this date in 1904 -- one of five national parks added by Roosevelt.

The relatively small 780 wooded acres near Devils Lake suffered a rough start in size, funding and management. Roosevelt never visited the park, named for a controversial Civil War general who brutally fought the Lakota/Dakota in 1864.

In 1931 the national park designation was rescinded, the park becoming a game refuge under the aegis of the National Wildlife Refuge System.

Today, Sullys Hill National Game Preserve has expanded to over 16-hundred acres of prairie and woodland as a fascinating and picturesque home to a controlled number of bison and elk, a large herd of roaming deer and a steady, impressive array of migratory birds. Both the car route and the two-mile mostly wooded hiking trail offer a beautiful trek.

Those daring to make the steep climb up the actual Sully’s Hill are treated to one of the state’s remarkable views of a memorable nature preserve that TR believed in with his every fiber.

“It will be a real misfortune if our wild animals disappear from mountain, plain and forest, to be found only in game preserves. It is to the interest of all of us to see that there is ample and real protection for our game as for our woodlands. A true democracy really alive to its opportunities will insist upon such game preservation, for it is to the interest of our people as a whole. Conservation and rural life policies are really two sides to the same policy and at bottom lies the fundamental law that neither man nor nature can prosper unless, in dealing with the present, thought is steadily given to the future!”

Dakota Datebook: Remembering Theodore Roosevelt is written and performed by Steve Stark. Funding provided by the Theodore Roosevelt Medora Foundation.

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