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Roosevelt coin released on NPS anniversary

PAINTED CANYON VISITORS CENTER--The clouds and cold that cast a darkness over the Badlands lifted for a few hours Thursday morning--just long enough for people to celebrate Theodore Roosevelt National Park at the Painted Canyon Visitor Center.

Theodore Roosevelt impersonator Arch Ellwein raises his hat during a speech at the launch of the new Theodore Roosevelt National Park quarter at Painted Canyon Visitor Center on Thursday. (Press Photo by Sydney Mook)
Theodore Roosevelt impersonator Arch Ellwein raises his hat during a speech at the launch of the new Theodore Roosevelt National Park quarter at Painted Canyon Visitor Center on Thursday. (Press Photo by Sydney Mook)

PAINTED CANYON VISITORS CENTER-The clouds and cold that cast a darkness over the Badlands lifted for a few hours Thursday morning-just long enough for people to celebrate Theodore Roosevelt National Park at the Painted Canyon Visitor Center.

TRNP was immortalized as the 34th coin released through the United States Mint, America the Beautiful Quarter Program.

Coin collectors, nature enthusiasts, students, teachers, travelers and keynote speakers celebrated the 100th anniversary of the National Parks Service and the release of the coin.

U.S. Rep. Kevin Cramer, U.S. Sen. John Hoeven, NPS Deputy Regional Director Patricia Trap, TRNP Superintendent Wendy Ross, U.S. Mint Principal Deputy Director Rhett Jeppson and historian Clay Jenkinson leant their comments on the significance of the day to those in attendance.

"I hope that this quarter, as people look at it around the country and beyond, it makes them want to come out and see this," Hoeven said as he motions to the Badlands surrounding everyone. "This is magnificent. This is beautiful. I hope that this quarter encourages more people to see Theodore Roosevelt National Park."

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A few hundred students from Belfield, Medora, Richardton-Taylor and surrounding schools took a short field trip to be gifted a free coin and to take in the importance of national parks.

Cramer spoke to the students about the importance of the day, as well as to those adults in the crowd.

"Moments like these are especially important as we celebrate the 100th birthday of the National Park Service as well as to commemorate this beautiful coin dedicated to the Theodore Roosevelt National Park," he said. "Coins are collected. Moments are commemorated. Birthdays are celebrated but legacies, kids, legacies are continuous. This is a legacy."

Cramer said the legacy Roosevelt had on the NPS is not only on the impact he made on the NPS but for the legacy he will continue to build in the future.

"What is the future of the National Park Service," he asked. "How do we carry on this legacy and hand it to you kids? Because remember legacies are continuous."

Eight-year-old Chase Kling, of Belfield, said he liked the horse on the quarter and was going to show it to his mom when he got home later in the day.

"It's cool," he said before adding he was going to spend it on candy.

While the significance of the coin may have been lost on some of the younger people in attendance, Mark and Ellen Audet felt it was important enough to drive six hours for the ceremony and to get their hands on the quarter.

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The couple drove up from Woonsocket, S.D., to get a few rolls of coins to collect and share with family.

"You don't want to know how much I have in quarters," Ellen said. "I collected them to start giving them to the grandkids."

"There's a few bins of them in the house," Mark added. "She collects them and then trades them with her family."

Ellen is a numismatic, coin collector, which Jeppson said Theodore Roosevelt also shared a love for.

"He was also a coin collector as well as a stamp collector," Jeppson mentioned. "He also was instrumental in redesigning our coins."

Jeppson said that Roosevelt commissioned work for some of the most iconic images on American coins-including the standing statue of liberty.

Jenkinson said that he believes Roosevelt would be proud of the way he has been immortalized on the coin.

"It's a perfect coin," he said. "That image of him on the horse is exactly how he wanted to be known."

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Eileen Andes, chief of interpretation for TRNP, said the design of the coin and the planning of the event has been a process that has taken well over a year to implement.

With only five coins to produce each year through the America the Beautiful Quarter Program, this will be the only coin to ever be unveiled on the 100th anniversary of the founding of the NPS in 1916.

Ross said she picked Aug. 25 because of its significance to the national parks as the coin ceremony.

"I thought it was a great conjunction of Theodore Roosevelt, the Badlands, the park and all us," she said. "(It's) a celebration of everything that all of those combined bring us."

Related Topics: MEDORABADLANDSKEVIN CRAMER
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