During their historic journey to the Pacific, Lewis and Clark reported enormous herds of North American Bison in the midwest, so large that they “darkened the whole plains.” Wagon trains sometimes waited days for passage through herds numbering in the hundreds of thousands, if not millions. But by the early 1900’s the bison were reaching their low-point. Over-hunting, drought, and encroachment on their natural habitat by humans and cattle drove the population of bison down to only several hundred animals (the actual number is disputed) — the bison were almost extinct. …
We visited Theodore Roosevelt National Park in August of 2013 and photographed much of the scenery and the North American Bison that roam the park. This is just an additional batch of photos that we didn’t include in the original post.
These photos were taken in the south unit, near Medora, North Dakota. At the time of our visit, it was $10/vehicle to get into the park, and it occurred to us that you won’t find a better value for your money to experience the North Dakota Badlands.
This one had an itch that just had to be scratched.
“Hey! What are you looking at?”
Photos by Troy Larson and Terry Hinnenkamp, © 2016 Sonic Tremor Media
On our recent visit to North Dakota’s southwest corner, we spent some time in Theodore Roosevelt National Park in Medora, and we were reminded of the magic of the Badlands.
For anyone who lives in eastern North Dakota in the flat lands which were once the bottom of glacial Lake Agassiz, it’s easy to forget that North Dakota is not entirely flat. As Terry and I entered the Badlands and caught our first look at Painted Canyon from the highway, we were literally bouncing up and down with excitement in the car. We couldn’t wait to photograph the beautiful topography — gallery here.
Far and away, the highlight of our trip was getting to see the animal that brought Teddy Roosevelt to North Dakota in 1883 — North American Bison. We mounted a video camera on top of my car and let it roll as we came upon the bison. If you have a nice fast connection, make sure you check it out in HD, fullscreen. There’s a photo gallery of the bison here. Enjoy.
Photos and video copyright Sonic Tremor Media LLC
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Frontier Village is a tourist attraction just off Interstate 94 in Jamestown and includes a number of attractions including the “World’s Largest Buffalo” (a concrete bison statue named Dakota Thunder,) Frontier Village (a re-creation of a pioneer town featuring actual historic buildings which have been moved to the site from all over the state,) and the National Buffalo Museum.
The photo doesn’t quite do justice to the scale of Dakota Thunder… a tall person can stand beneath the two front legs of this statue with a couple feet to spare. It’s big, and really a thrill to see in person.
The store on the right is a working souvenir and snack shop with an ATM.
Do you have our hardcover coffee table book Churches of the High Plains?
There is no admission charge to get into Frontier Village or to see Dakota Thunder, and a small fee to the National Buffalo Museum, totally worth the price for the opportunity to see North American Bison in a family-friendly environment. You can even get a ride in a real stagecoach. Next time you’re driving by on Interstate 94, stop in for a visit!
Photos by Troy Larson, copyright Sonic Tremor Media LLC