Congress Approves Legislation Enabling Theodore Roosevelt Presidential Library to Purchase Forest Service Land in Billings County

Agreement Ensures USFS Honors Medora Grazing Agreement, Provides for Local Control & Consultation

WASHINGTON – Senators John Hoeven and Kevin Cramer, Congressman Kelly Armstrong and Governor Doug Burgum issued the following statement after Congress approved legislation enabling the Theodore Roosevelt Presidential Library Foundation to purchase Forest Service land in Billings County to construct a library and museum honoring the life and legacy of President Teddy Roosevelt. 

Hoeven, Cramer and Armstrong worked with the Governor, local and state officials and the Medora Grazing Association to negotiate the legislation and find an agreement enabling the Theodore Roosevelt Presidential Library Foundation (T.R. Library) to purchase Forest Service land. Under the legislation, T.R. Library will pay the market value of the land, as well as all costs associated with the conveyance, including surveys and appraisals. 

“This presidential library will be a tremendous asset for Medora and western North Dakota,” said Senator Hoeven. “The legislation we passed transfers land to the T.R. Library Foundation subject to them paying fair market value. At the same time, the T.R. Library and Billings County have agreed to preserve local control and consultation on the project along with preserving important grazing rights, and the Forest Service has reaffirmed the existing Medora Grazing Association Agreement will remain in full force and effect for its full ten year term without any changes unless agreed upon by both parties. This was a team effort, and we also want to thank the other members of the delegation, Governor Burgum and Pat Weir for their work.”

“The year-end spending bill paves a way for the Theodore Roosevelt Presidential Library to be built in Medora, North Dakota, once the Foundation completes an appraisal and pays for the land,” said Senator Cramer. “It is unfortunate an icon like Teddy Roosevelt never received a Presidential Library. I appreciate the desire to create a destination where people from all across the globe can come to learn more about this great president and the iconic Roughrider Spirit he embodied.” 

“The Theodore Roosevelt Presidential Library will be a fitting tribute to our 26th President, right in the heart of the North Dakota badlands. Senators Hoeven and Cramer have been great partners to champion the library with and I would like to thank Senator Hoeven for taking the lead and working to get this language included. I look forward to seeing this project become a reality for all Americans to enjoy,” said Congressman Armstrong.  

“We’re deeply grateful to our state’s congressional delegation for supporting the land conveyance for this transformational project, especially Sen. Hoeven for his lead role in successfully navigating this language through the enormous complexities of year-end legislation. The Theodore Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum will honor one of our greatest presidents whose time ranching and hunting in the North Dakota Badlands changed him into a bold and fearless leader who went on to change our nation and world for the better,” said Governor Burgum. “Moving this land from federal to private jurisdiction is a win for local control and will accelerate the economic benefits to southwestern North Dakota and the entire state. We’re thankful for the ongoing collaboration among the Medora Grazing Association, local citizens, the U.S. Forest Service, the TRPL Foundation and the delegation, working together to advance this project and other important issues that will benefit North Dakotans for generations to come.”

“North Dakotans have ensured a legacy not just for their state but also for our nation and the world,” said Theodore Roosevelt V, a great-great-grandson and namesake of the 26th president. “I am pleased the Roosevelt family will be able to purchase the land for the T.R. Library, honoring the life and legacy of Theodore Roosevelt, and fulfilling the ambitious vision of the Theodore Roosevelt Presidential Library.”

The T.R. Library and Billings County have agreed to preserve local control for the project. Among other things, the library foundation will consult with the county government on the land purchase and project development, as well as hold a public meeting to present its plans to the local community and gather input. Additionally, the U.S. Forest Service will commit in writing to maintain the Medora Grazing Association contract for 10 years.