'Walden of the West' Faces Development Threat

Teddy Roosevelt's North Dakota ranch near potential gravel pit
By Liam Carnahan,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 7, 2012 5:19 PM CDT
'Walden of the West' Faces Development Threat
This June 3, 2012, photo provided by the National Park Service shows the site where Theodore Roosevelt's ranch house once stood.   (AP Photo/National Park Service, Valerie J. Naylor)

If you've ever wanted to see Teddy Roosevelt's beautiful North Dakota ranch, you'd better get a move on. The Elkhorn Ranch was the ex-prez's place of solitude, earning it the title "Walden Pond of the West." But developers are hoping to build a noisy gravel mine and accompanying big bridge nearby, which environmentalists and historians say will corrupt the peaceful plot, reports NPR. Supporters of the mine would likely protest any effort by the Obama administration to protect the land.

The ranch in the beautiful Badlands was "a place of extreme solitude and historical sanctity, a place where Theodore Roosevelt generated his ideas for his crusade to save wild and special places in the United States," says historian Douglas Brinkley (despite the fact that Roosevelt first came to the area to shoot one of the region's last buffalo.) Not much remains of the original ranch, and developers say the mine would be out of sight and earshot of the site. Studies to determine whether that's true have yet to be completed. There are other ways to honor the 26th president, however. (More Teddy Roosevelt stories.)

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