Theodore Roosevelt:
President & Environmental Visionary

Theodore Roosevelt was the 26th President of the United States, serving from 1901-1909 - a special achievement that tops a long list of major accomplishments throughout his eventful life. He achieved many "firsts" as president, including: being the first president to fly in an airplane; be submerged in a submarine; own a car; have a telephone in his home; travel outside the U.S. borders while still in office; and win a Nobel Prize (in any of the six categories).

An Unlikely Cowboy
Born into a wealthy New York City family on October 27, 1858, Theodore Roosevelt, known as "TR," overcame persistent childhood sicknesses to lead an extremely active life filled with physical adventures. In 1883, Roosevelt ventured to the Dakota Badlands to hunt wild game. His first experiences there drew TR to pursue life as a cowboy and rancher in the rugged West. He invested in two cattle ranches - the Maltese Cross Ranch and the Elkhorn Ranch. He actively participated in the ranching business over the next several years, returning often to the badlands to ride with the cowboys, write books and admire the vast beauty of the land before him.

A Cowboy At Heart - Politician By Trade
Roosevelt's public service career began in 1881, when he was elected a New York State Assemblyman - becoming the youngest man ever to do so. TR also served as Governor of New York, Deputy Sheriff in the Dakota Territory, New York City Police Commissioner, U.S. Civil Service Commissioner and Assistant Secretary of the Navy. One of his most memorable posts may have been as Colonel of the "Rough Riders," the First U.S. Volunteer Calvary, a diverse group of rugged men from the Southwest Territory that fought in the U.S. war against Spain in 1898.

In 1901, when he was Vice President, Roosevelt assumed the office of president when William McKinley was assassinated, making TR the youngest man to become president. Roosevelt was then elected to a full term in office in 1904 with a landslide victory. As president, he excelled at international policy, steering the U.S. more actively into world politics. TR also became known as a "trust buster," forcing the great railroad combination in the Northwest to break apart.

Conservation Focused
The years Roosevelt spent in the Dakota Territory shaped his views on conservation, an issue that was a major focus of his presidency. Roosevelt became known as the "Father of Conservation" and signed legislation that established five national park units and a total of 18 national monuments. He formed the U.S. Forestry Service in 1905, and consequently increased the U.S. forest reserves from 43 million acres to 194 million acres while he was president.

After the end of his second term as president, Roosevelt remained active in politics, even running again for the presidency on the Progressive Party ticket in 1912, a race he lost. He continued to be physically active and write many books and letters (he wrote over 150,000 pieces of correspondence, it is reported), until he died in his sleep on January 6, 1919.

Theodore Roosevelt left a legacy as a published author, a noted naturalist and a leader of scientific expeditions and research, as well as being known as the "Conservation President" who was dedicated to preserving the beauty of the U.S. for the generations that would follow him.

Bruce Kaye, Theodore Roosevelt National Park, 701-623-4466 (
Jen Larson, National Park Foundation, 202-530-1487 (
Sue Waldron, National Park Service, 202-208-5477 (

Jill Sharp or Kim Scher, Lord, Sullivan & Yoder, 614-846-7777 (;