You are here

Theodore Roosevelt National Park (TRNP), North Unit

-A A +A
1933 established. Scenic Dr. at U.S. 85
  • (Photograph by Steve C. Martens)

The North Dakota Badlands landscape was formed geologically by erosion of the Little Missouri River. Separate North and South units of Theodore Roosevelt National Park comprise North Dakota’s only national park. The North Unit of the park has several geological features that contrast with the Badlands landscape of the South Unit, near Medora. In the 1930s, State Historical Society of North Dakota superintendent Russell Reid played a substantial part in developing the Badlands landscapes for tourism through his imaginative role in overall development of state parks and historic sites. Working collaboratively with the Historical Society, landscape architects employed by the National Park Service used local materials to integrate design and construction into historic, naturalistic settings, “improving” and interpreting a natural landscape without visitors realizing that a designed intervention has been made. Construction work was carried out by CCC laborers from CCC camp SP-7 based nearby, along the banks of the Little Missouri River at the U.S. 85 crossing. In 1939, CCC activities in the North Unit were turned over to FERA and WPA crews, and one hundred and seventy CCC men from Company 2772 were transferred to Camp NP-1 in the South Unit. Among the architectural features in the park are the stone entrance portal, picnic shelters, and a shelter that affords dramatic scenic views.

Writing Credits

Steve C. Martens and Ronald H. L. M. Ramsay


What's Nearby


Steve C. Martens and Ronald H. L. M. Ramsay, "Theodore Roosevelt National Park (TRNP), North Unit", [Watford City, North Dakota], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—,

Print Source

Cover: Buildings of North Dakota

Buildings of North Dakota, Steve C. Martens and Ronald H. L. M. Ramsay. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2015, 153-153.

If SAH Archipedia has been useful to you, please consider supporting it.

SAH Archipedia tells the story of the United States through its buildings, landscapes, and cities. This freely available resource empowers the public with authoritative knowledge that deepens their understanding and appreciation of the built environment. But the Society of Architectural Historians, which created SAH Archipedia with University of Virginia Press, needs your support to maintain the high-caliber research, writing, photography, cartography, editing, design, and programming that make SAH Archipedia a trusted online resource available to all who value the history of place, heritage tourism, and learning.