MEDORA, ND (KFGO) – The Theodore Roosevelt Presidential Library Foundation announced today that it has completed its purchase of 90.3 acres of land from the U.S. Forest Service. The Roosevelt family donated the funds for the $81,000 package to Billings County. The family’s total contribution to the Foundation was $100,000.
The transaction completes an 18-month process that began when the Foundation received congressional approval to acquire the land for building the library in western North Dakota. The Foundation will hold a public meeting in Medora to present its plan for comment within 90 days.
Terms of sale include preservation of grazing rights and Animal Unit Months (AUM) on the land. Foundation director Ed O’Keefe says they made the effort as a nod to Teddy Roosevelt’s history as a rancher. He said the library’s plan is to use the land around it for grazing, as an “ecology theater, to show real-life animal husbandry and grazing practices.”
O’Keefe also announced that a native species and habitat restoration project has begun on the property. He says NDSU students, volunteers and conservationists are collecting seeds throughout the Little Missouri Badlands, including Roosevelt’s own Maltese Cross cabin and Elkhorn Ranch, as part of a native plant project aimed at restoring native species to the earth.
“The library is truly the landscape, and the project aims to collect and grow seeds to increase the diversity of species native to the prairies of the North Dakota Badlands, including rare and endangered plants,” O’ said. Keef.
Construction is expected to begin in 2023, and the official opening of the library is scheduled for July 4, 2026 – the 250th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence.