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North Dakota's Best Idea — Theodore Roosevelt National Park

Spring 2016 Newsletter

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Friends Welcome Four New Members to the Board

Eric C. Brevik

Eric is a Professor of Geology and Soils at Dickinson State University. He grew up in Minot and his first trip to Theodore Roosevelt National Park was a field trip with his 8th grade Earth Science class. Eric completed his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in geology at UND before attending Iowa State University to obtain his Ph.D.


Theodore Roosevelt National Park was a major inspiration to Eric in choosing his life’s profession, and has continued to be a special place for him. From 2001-2007 Eric was on the GeoSciences faculty at Valdosta State University in Georgia, and in 2003 he brought students all the way from Georgia to ND to study the state’s geology, including time in TRNP. Eric returned to ND in August 2007 and each spring volunteers to provide geology training for seasonal rangers at TRNP. In addition, Eric served as a geology content expert for the National Park Service geologic resource inventories of Knife River Indian Villages and Fr Union Trading Post.


Eric calls Theodore Roosevelt National Park “a jewel in western North Dakota’s crown”.

Denise Steinbach

Denise is a native North Dakotan who grew up on a farm near New Rockford. She recently returned to ND after living seven years in Colorado. Denise obtained both her graduate and undergraduate degrees from UND and has spent most of her professional life in health promotion and community service related professions. She is currently the Client Services Director for the Community Action Partnership in Dickinson where she now resides.


In Colorado, Denise participated in a friends group for a neighborhood park. She learned to appreciate the power and philosophy of a friends group and the sense of pride and ownership in the park.


Denise feels that our national park is “an incredible treasure and should be visited often”.

Lorrie R. Pavlicek

Lorrie grew up in Dickinson and enjoyed many family outings to Theodore Roosevelt National Park. She obtained her bachelor’s degree from University of Mary in Bismarck. She currently resides in Jamestown.


Lorrie has over 30 years of work experience focusing on business and human resource management. She is certified as a Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR) and a Society for Human Resource Management-Senior Certified Professional (SHRM-SCP). Currently she is a human resource consultant and owner/partner in Upper Midwest Investment, Inc.


Lorrie visits TRNP to “experience the beauty, wildlife and quiet of the badlands.”

Donald E. Frye

Don is originally from Pittsburgh, PA but attended Huron College in SD.


Don served three terms as Mayor of Carrington after terms on the Carrington City Council and Park Board. He currently serves on a number of regional and statewide boards. From 1989- 2011 he was the ND development director for Otter Tail Power Company.


Don is one of the founders and current president of Crossroads Community Advisors, LLC, an organization that assists communities, businesses and development organizations in addressing issues and problems.


Don resides in Jamestown with his wife, Lorrie Pavlicek. Don believes that the Friends organization “is an important part of the efforts to preserve and remember our past and develop our future”.

The Board of Directors welcomes these four new members who will be strong advocates of the Theodore Roosevelt National Park.

Hello to all Friends of Theodore Roosevelt National Park- Spring is here early and it looks like 2016 is going to be a good year in the North Dakota badlands of Theodore Roosevelt National Park. The Friends of TRNP are gearing up for what promises to be a busy summer. We have several new members of the Friends board: Don Frye and Lorrie Pavlicek of Jamestown, Eric Brevik of Belfield and Denise Steinbach of Dickinson. Alice Nix’s term as president and six years on the board has expired. We thank Alice for her years of service and hard work. She will continue to handle membership so that is in good hands. Marlene Frei has also left but we hope to get her back as soon as she recovers her health. Marlene, Naomi Thorson, and Valerie Naylor are taking some time off and we thank them for their service as members of the Board of Directors.


It is going to be an event packed summer. Watch for notices in your e-mail. We have updated the web page – http//friendsoftr.org. Also go to our Facebook page- Friends of Theodore Roosevelt National Park and like us. This year is the Centennial of the founding of the National Park Service. The park plans to celebrate with a number of events and FOTRNP will be assisting and participating alongside park staff.


Let’s start the summer off with a hike in the park. To celebrate National Trails Day on June 4 we will plan a park hike so get your hiking shoes ready. We will probably hike in the Petrified Forest—details will come later. We also plan to march in the July 4th parade in Medora. We need kids to carry the Friends banner so round up your kids and grandkids and get them to Medora on the 4th. The big event of the summer will be August 25th. This is always Founders Day, the anniversary of the founding of the National Park Service in 1916. This year it will also be the release day of the Theodore Roosevelt National Park quarter in partnership with the United States Mint. The park will celebrate with a ceremony at the Painted Canyon Visitor Center. The new quarter features Theodore Roosevelt on a horse overlooking the Little Missouri River and the North Dakota badlands. New coins will be available for children and collection purposes. FOTRNP will be helping the park service with the logistics so we need volunteers. At the end of summer, come and view the stars and planets at the 4th annual Dakota Nights Astronomy Festival September 23-25th. This has become a very popular event. Stay tuned for other events and volunteer opportunities to be announced as the season unfolds.


Theodore Roosevelt National Park was #5 on the New York Times list of the 2016 52 Places in the World to Visit. It was the only US national park on the list and Theodore Roosevelt’s contributions to public land preservation was showcased in the write-up. We are so fortunate to have this gem in North Dakota and to have the opportunity to share it with the world. Show your love for the park with active participation and support. We look forward to celebrating with you. You may use this email to volunteer for above named events (E-mail: lheilmann3535@gmail.com).


Come and spend some time in Theodore Roosevelt National Park. It is going to be a fun summer!


Larry Heilmann, President

A Magical March Day

Friday, March 11, 2016 promised to be a lovely day to hike in TRNP: the sun was passing in and out of the clouds, the temperature was nearing 60, and, best of all, it was March, so I figured we would have the place to ourselves. My prediction of solitude turned out to be only partially true. Of the three spots at which we stopped to hike, only at Wind Canyon did we encounter other visitors. For what we did, in fact, encounter, in reverse proportion to the number of humans we saw, were an unprecedented number and variety of wildlife.


I have been visiting the park since I was a small child, and in over three decades’ worth of memories, I cannot remember a day such as this. Shortly upon entering the park, we saw herd after herd of bison, but then, over the course of a few hours, there were also quail, wild horses, western magpies (gorgeous birds!), antelope, wild turkey, and, to our surprise, as we were leaving the park, two herds of mule deer. My children, ages 3 and 7, have already developed an appreciation for the intricacies of the natural world, but seeing so many animals up close and in person thrilled them (I didn’t list the prairie dogs, which were most thrilling to my 3 year old daughter).


The wilderness that we have set aside for posterity through our National Parks system is an incredibly important resource for educating young and old alike about nature and the environment. It is an important contributor to our health, as well: although my physical health benefited from the hikes we did on Friday, it was my mental, emotional, and spiritual health that benefited most. Making eye contact with a creature from the animal kingdom is good for the soul. Let us celebrate and support our National Parks system in this, its 100th year, for all it has given, and will continue to give, to us.


Sarah Nix

North Adams, MA

By Pat Ashley


My husband and I have hiked in TRNP for over 35 years and have always enjoyed the scenery and the animals, but this past January we had a very memorable experience. We started up the Big Plateau Trail from Peaceful Valley Ranch. As we approached the Big Plateau we saw a lone bison above, silhouetted against the sky, but when we got up onto the plateau we turned and saw a huge bison herd! About 75-100 bison were gathered together, some lying down, others grazing. They were at least a quarter mile from us, so we hiked on up the trail away from them.


About halfway across the plateau we turned around and at first thought we saw the herd running toward us, but after watching for a few seconds we realized they were moving parallel to the trail a safe distance away. We stood quietly watching and listening to them. Some glanced over at us, but they did not seem agitated by our presence. The bison went on by us, some running, some walking and others stopping to graze once in a while, before they wandered onto the trail and on up to the Petrified Forest Plateau. The herd had packed down the few inches of snow on the ground and made that section of the trail much easier for us to walk on. We turned onto the Maah Daah Hey Trail and looped back to our car seeing deer and coyote tracks in the snow, but no more wildlife.

Celebrate the Centennial at Theodore Roosevelt National Park!

With its centennial, the National Park Service Invites a new generation to discover the special places that belong to us all.


Theodore Roosevelt National Park is part of a national movement encouraging Americans to make or renew their connection with public lands and to launch the National Park Service’s second century of service.


We are celebrating 100 years preserving the nation's natural resources and cultural heritage. Theodore Roosevelt National Park seeks to engage new audiences and people not familiar with the National Park Service and public lands to find their park.


In 2016, the park will offer special programs and events targeting both longtime supporters and new audiences including boy/girl scouts, educational facilities, and community organizations.


Introducing people to parks and public lands builds relevancy, creates amazing memories, and leads to the sustained support of future generations.


Amy McCann

Centennial Coordinator

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Photos courtesy of David Nix

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