America's 26th president, Theodore Roosevelt, is considered a pioneer conservationist. Among his greatest accomplishments during his tenure in the White House from 1901-1909 was protecting lands for future generations, including five National Parks. Today, one of America's 388 National Parks bears his name. from a 58 kilometer-long scenic road that loops through the south unit of the park.
"We have introduced bison back into the park. Right now there are probably 450 bison in the south unit," Bruce Kaye says. "We have elk. There are wild horses. All of these animals were here when Theodore Roosevelt was here. Mule deer, white tail deer, pronghorn antelope, prairie dogs, coyotes, foxes - all of those were here."
Not all of those animals can be seen from the road, but many can -- especially prairie dogs, whose "towns" of inter-connected burrows tunnel throughout the park. If you stop your car to watch them as they poke their heads out of their holes, you can .
Although Theodore Roosevelt National Park may not be as well known as Yellowstone or the Grand Canyon, Bruce Kaye says half a million people come here every year to view the wildlife. Hundreds of those visitors come from outside the United States. Had Theodore Roosevelt not made that journey 120 years ago, that opportunity might not exist.