National Trust Urges Relocation of Proposed Gravel Mine Away from Theodore Roosevelt's Elkhorn Ranch

In an environmental assessment report, the U.S. Forest Service recently concluded that a 25-acre gravel mine proposed by private mineral rights holders would have “no significant impact” on Theodore Roosevelt’s Elkhorn Ranch National Historic District, even though the gravel pit would be located within the district itself. The following is a statement by David J. Brown, National Trust Executive Vice President and Chief Preservation Officer:

“While we recognize the constraints placed on the Forest Service and the right to develop privately owned minerals, we are concerned that the impact of a gravel pit on the Elkhorn Ranch National Historic District has not been fully examined. This historic district captures the beauty and serenity of the landscape that greatly influenced Theodore Roosevelt and his views on land conservation. The gravel pit would degrade the integrity of the landscape and the quality of visitors’ experience to this area. We must aim to preserve the legacy of President Roosevelt and this land for generations to come.

“We urge the Forest Service and the private mineral rights holders to execute a mineral rights exchange that would spare Elkhorn Ranch National Historic District from this intrusion. It is our collective responsibility to see that we are thoughtful stewards of this land and its contribution to our nation’s history.”

Theodore Roosevelt hunted, ran cattle, and explored this expansive ranch in the rugged North Dakota Badlands in the late 19th century. It was here that the 26th president of the United States developed a deep appreciation for the American West and for conservation. The integrity and serenity of the ranch, which lies on both sides of the Little Missouri River, is now threatened by mineral extraction and oil and gas development. This threat prompted the National Trust to name Elkhorn Ranch to its 11 Most Endangered Historic Places list in 2012 and to its portfolio of National Treasures. National Treasures are a portfolio of highly-significant historic places throughout the country where the National Trust makes a long-term commitment to finding a preservation solution. As the Presenting Partner of the National Treasures program, American Express has pledged $2 million to help promote and enable the preservation of these cultural and historic places.



The National Trust for Historic Preservation, a privately funded nonprofit organization, works to save America’s historic places., @SavingPlaces