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Storm rolls over the grasslands © Judith Zimmerman/Danita Delimont
Today"s image of a thunderstorm moving over grasslands in Theodore Roosevelt National Park shows the power of nature and the power of conservation. In 1883, Teddy Roosevelt, then a New York State assemblyman, traveled to the North Dakota Badlands to hunt bison. During this trip, Roosevelt fell in love with the cowboy lifestyle and the freedom he experienced. Before heading back east, he became part owner of the Maltese Cross Ranch. A year later he was back in North Dakota and had built Elkhorn Ranch. Life in the West inspired Roosevelt, who began writing books and articles about it. He would go on to establish six national parks and 18 national monuments, greatly increasing the size of the National Park System.