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Special activities planned at Theodore Roosevelt National Park next two weekends

MEDORA -- Theodore Roosevelt National Park is starting to show signs of spring with birds chirping, bison calves being born and the plants beginning to bloom. Visitors to the park can experience all of those things for free over the next two week...

Theodore Roosevelt National Park will have free admission April 15-16 and 22-23 for National Park Week. Press File Photo
Theodore Roosevelt National Park will have free admission April 15-16 and 22-23 for National Park Week. Press File Photo

MEDORA - Theodore Roosevelt National Park is starting to show signs of spring with birds chirping, bison calves being born and the plants beginning to bloom. Visitors to the park can experience all of those things for free over the next two weekends.

National Parks Week kicks off on Saturday and entrance fees will be waived April 15-16 and 22-23.

"It's a nice time for people to come to the park and see what's coming up this spring, and I think after a long winter people really want to get out and be outside and enjoying this nice weather," said Eileen Andes, TRNP chief of interpretation.

Beginning at 9:30 a.m. on Saturday at the South Unit Visitors Center, Junior Rangers can be a part of "Eggs 101" and learn which eggs belong to which animals, color their own egg and build a nest. There will be an Easter egg hunt at 11 a.m. at Chimney Park presented by the Chateau de Mores State Historic Site.

An afternoon hike led by a park ranger begins at 1 p.m. Participants will meet at the Jones Creek trailhead and a hike will commence regardless of the weather. Those going are encouraged to bring water, snacks and appropriate clothing for the conditions.

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For those interested in going to the park's North Unit, there will be a guided hike on April 23 along the Caprock Coulee Nature Trail with a park ranger to conclude National Park Week. Hikers will meet at the trailhead at 2 p.m.

Andes said she's seen the park start to come alive the past couple of weeks.

"The songbirds are coming back. They are nest-building and mating now. So just in the last few weeks, I've been hearing more bird sounds," she said. "The geese came several weeks ago and we've been hearing cranes. It's during this time of year, particularly if you go down by the river by either campground, that's good habitat to look for birds, whereas in the winter it's kind of quiet. Now it's kind of noisy with bird sounds."

Photo contest opens

The annual Picture Yourself in Theodore Roosevelt National Park photo contest kicks off Saturday. Amateur or professional photographers can submit their photos for a chance to have their photo featured on the 2018 Annual Park Pass.

The Theodore Roosevelt Nature and History Association sponsors the event, which will be open until Aug. 31. All photos submitted are required to have been taken between Sept. 1, 2016, and Aug. 31, 2017.

Tracy Sexton, TRNHA executive director, said the organization decided to try things a little differently this year.

"In the past, we've always just done one grand prize winner and 12 finalists," she said. "This year we are asking people to submit to different categories."

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It was decided to have four categories instead of just one, so there can be multiple winners, she said.

This year, the categories are Landscape, Animals of TRNP, Share your Adventure and Macro (Larger than Life).

The photos are beneficial for Sexton's organization to use for products in the bookstores, and also for TRNP to use for marketing materials.

"It's a benefit for everyone involved," she said. "We enjoy doing it."

For a complete list of rules visit trnha.org.

Related Topics: DICKINSONMEDORA
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