Current MURP student Winthrop Roosevelt recently had an op-ed published in the Daily Beast an excerpt of which appears below. Visit the Daily Beast to read the full article.
“My great-great-grandfather Theodore Roosevelt has the accurate reputation of being one of our country’s greatest conservationists. Images of TR embracing the great American outdoors by roping cattle on his ranch, hunting buffalo on the plains, and standing next to the Grand Canyon are just as ubiquitous in American history as the images of him working behind his desk in the Oval Office. His love for the natural world became one of his crowning policy achievements as president. To put it in context, the U.S. Forest Service once calculated that he preserved 230 million acres of land, or 84,000 acres for each day he was president.
“TR seems to have been drawn to the natural world almost from birth, but it took the Badlands of North Dakota where he lived from 1884 to 1886 to finalize his transformation from a sickly child born into urban wealth into a hardy individual with a lifelong passion for conservation. As he put it: “I have always said I would not have been president had it not been for my experience in North Dakota.”
“In recognition of TR’s great work as a conservationist and his commitment to the natural world, Theodore Roosevelt National Park was created in 1978 in western North Dakota. The park preserves the natural splendors of the Dakota Badlands and is a testament to the Western spirit that instilled in TR a lifelong commitment to the great American outdoors. But, in a twist of bitter irony, the recent Bakken oil boom in North Dakota threatens to consume the integrity of a national park that has been referred to as the birthplace of the American conservation movement.
“That is why I felt it was important to narrate a short documentary video produced by the Center for American Progress. In the video, we explore the ways in which Theodore Roosevelt National Park has already felt the impacts of nearby drilling in progress. The serious impacts of this drilling include disruptions from truck traffic on the road to the park, the sound of diesel-generated pumpjacks reverberating in the campgrounds, and the dozens of lights from drilling rigs and cell towers ruining the park’s deep night skies.