North Dakota Outdoors - Winter in Roosevelt Park
It is here, it is beautiful, and it is hardly
used. That's a shame. It is Teddy Roosevelt Park in the winter.
In the summer, it has more than 500,000 visitors.
In the winter there's barely a soul. The roads are deserted and the skyline
is empty of people. There is nothing in the park except it's true inhabitants
- the wildlife. That's the point.
On a winter day you might see Bighorn Sheep
balanced on a rocky crest.
A wild stallion guarding his band of mares.
A coyote catching a mouse along the road.
He will regard you, of course, as the intruder you are.
Cedar waxwings plucking berries off the trees.
Mule deer dancing along the skyline.
You might spot a herd of elk, briefly, disappearing over a far ridge.
And you might catch the very embodiment of
the west, buffalo - American Bison - asserting their timeless authority
over this landscape and place.
You won't see all of these creatures in single
trip, of course. Any you might not see any of them at all. But that is the
point of watching for wildlife. The watching, the waiting, the careful glance,
the stocking with your eyes. Absorbing the landscape, separating ears, antlers,
the shape of a wild head, from grass and rock and limb. And then the sudden
discovery, all your waiting and watching rewarded. And sometimes not. Sometimes
nothing but the empty, almost ominous, pregnant landscape starring back
at you. Full of wild things you know are there, but haven't chosen to reveal
themselves. Not this time. Wait until next time, there is always a next
So come on out. Not too many of you,
just a few - enjoy a rare winter treat. This is Lex Hames for the North
Dakota Game and Fish Department out in Teddy Roosevelt National Park in the wintertime.
For another description of Theodore Roosevelt National Park, click here.
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Last modified Jan. 6, 1996