This park is named in Honor of T. Roosevelt’s Conservation works while President of the United States. We were unsure exactly what to expect as the info available online about this park describes grass and some animals. Not usually terribly exciting, but we had some other reasons to visit:
1. Our plans changed, and we needed to cross back into Canada. We had stocked up on Alcohol in Nevada as it is one of the cheapest states. You are only allowed to bring a certain amount back to Canada. Two nights of camping should lighten our load. (Task accomplished)
2. $7 per night for a campsite was appealing
3. Being in the middle of nowhere, by ourselves was appealing (on a 37 Mile scenic drive thru the park, we saw 8 other vehicles)
Turns out, We loved this park.
We arrived later in the afternoon and wanted to get started on our Alcohol stash right away, so first stop was to find a campsite.
Unlike some Buffalo at Yellowstone National Park which were aggressive, this guy was pretty relaxed, coming within 15 feet of us. He essentially walked right thru our site, while we were sitting outside.
T. Roosevelt has a few “Prairie Dog Towns” where a conservative guess would be thousands+ Prairie Dogs reside. (in each town)
Coyote’s and birds of Prey were seen in the area. Obviously a popular lunch stop. In the park we also saw: Bighorn Sheep, Longhorn Steers and a Snake.
I confess: last time I saw a Prairie Dog was down the barrel of a .22
(Note: the car is in Drive, ready to speed away if this guy gets too interested in us) Buffalo can weight 2,000lbs and are not tame!
The park is split into two main area, the South unit which we visited first, and the more Wilderness North Unit. They are 80 miles apart. Both areas have campgrounds, so we moved up north for the second night.
We had a long chat with a Park Ranger during our stay in the North Unit (We were not getting in trouble!) He asked us if we wanted to see something dead. Turns out a Bull Buffalo had recently died up river. He gave us the coordinates and we went to investigate.
Tyler: “Ohhh gross, Don’t touch it”
Aya: “Have you ever touched a Buffalo before”
Interesting to note that this meat will go to waste as there are no Grizzly Bears and only a few Mountain Lions left. Coyote’s would love to clean up the scraps, but cannot rip the meat open as they lack the strength and claws. They need the Bears or Mountain Lions to start the process. Yes, we had a long chat with the Ranger about Humans’ impact on this park, and the animals.
I am sure some of you are squirming in your chairs right now, but this is life in the Badlands, every species relies on other species to complete the food chain. We went to bed the last night listening to an animal groaning, and a coyote howling in the distance. We would highly recommend this park.
If you visit find Park Ranger John Hissler- he loves to talk, and is extremely knowledgeable.
I never would have been President if it had not been for my experiences in North Dakota. -Theodore Roosevelt