Superintendent's Compendium

Header of the compendium with Superintendent Angela Richman's signature

National Park Service
Department of the Interior
Theodore Roosevelt National Park
315 2nd Avenue PO Box 7 Medora, ND 58645
701-623-4466 phone
701-623-4840 fax

/s/ Angela Richman, Superintendent
Date: 05/31/2023


1. Superintendent’s Compendium Described

The Superintendent’s Compendium is the summary of park specific rules implemented under 36 Code of Federal Regulations (36 CFR). It serves as public notice, identifies areas closed for public use, provides a list of activities requiring either a special use permit or reservation, and elaborates on public use and resource protection regulations pertaining specifically to the park administration. The Superintendent’s Compendium does not repeat regulations found in 36 CFR and other United States Code and CFR Titles, which are enforced without further elaboration at the park level.

The regulations contained in 36 CFR, Parts 1-7, are the basic mechanism used by the National Park Service (NPS) to preserve and protect the natural and cultural resources of the park and to protect visitors and property within the park. Parts 1 through 6 are general regulations applicable to all areas of the National Park system, and Part 7 contains special regulations specific to individual parks. Each of these Parts has many sections and subsections articulating specific provisions. Within some of these Part 1-7 sections and subsections, the Superintendent is granted discretionary authority to develop local rules to be responsive to the needs of a specific park resource or activity, park plan, program, and/or special needs of the general public.

As an example, 36 CFR 1.5(a) Closures and Public Use Limits provides the Superintendent certain discretion in allowing or disallowing certain activities. It may only be used where specifically provided for in a particular section of the regulations in this chapter.1 The authority granted by the Section, however, requires the Superintendent to comply with the Administrative Procedures Act (6 USC Section 551), which requires public notice on actions with major impact on visitor use patterns, park resources or those that are highly controversial in nature.

Another example is 36 CFR 1.6 Permits, which allows the Superintendent to require a permit for certain uses and activities in the park. This Section, however, requires that a list of activities needing a permit (and a fee schedule for the various types of permits) be maintained by the park.

A final example is 36 CFR 2.1(c) (1) Preservation of Natural, Cultural and Archeological Resources, which provides the Superintendent the authority to designate certain fruits, nuts, berries, or unoccupied seashells which may be gathered by hand for personal use or consumption. This activity can occur, however, only if a written determination shows that the allowed activity does not adversely affect park wildlife, the reproductive potential of a plant species, or otherwise adversely affect park resources.

This Compendium should be used in conjunction with Title 36 CFR, Parts 1-7, to understand the regulations governing the use and enjoyment more fully of all the areas of the National Park System.

A copy of Title 36, CFR, can be purchased from the U.S. Government Printing Office (
OR by mail request at:
Superintendent of Documents
P.O. Box 371954
Pittsburgh, PA 15250-7954
The CFR is also available on the Internet at:

2. Laws and Policies Allowing the Superintendent to Develop This Compendium

The National Park Service (NPS) is granted broad statutory authority under Title 54 United States Code (U.S.C.) §100101(a) (formerly 16 U.S.C. 1a-1, “Organic Act”) to “….regulate the use of the National Park System by means and measures that conform to the fundamental purpose of the System units, which purpose is to conserve the scenery, natural and historic objects, and wildlife in the System units and to provide for the enjoyment of the scenery, natural and historic objects, and wildlife in such manner and by such means as will leave them unimpaired for the enjoyment of future generations.” In addition, Title 54 U.S.C. §100751(a) allows the NPS, through the Secretary of the Interior, to “prescribe such regulations as the Secretary considers necessary or proper for the use and management of System units.”

In 1970, Congress amended the NPS Organic Act to clarify its intentions as to the overall mission of the NPS. Through the General Authorities Act of 1970, Congress brought all areas administered by the NPS into one National Park System and directed the NPS to manage all areas under its administration consistent with the Organic Act of 1916.

In 1978, Congress amended the General Authorities Act of 1970 and reasserted System-wide the high standard of protection defined in the original Organic Act by stating “Congress further reaffirms, declares, and directs that the promotion and regulation of the various areas of the National Park System, as defined by Section 1 of this Title, shall be consistent with and founded in the purpose established by Section 1 of this Title, to the common benefit of all people of the United States.”

In addition to the above statutory authority, the Superintendent is guided by established NPS policy as found in the NPS Management Policies (2006). The Superintendent is also guided by more specific policies promulgated by the Director, National Park Service, in the form of Director’s Orders. As stated in the Management Policies, the primary responsibility of the NPS is to protect and preserve our national natural and cultural resources while providing for the enjoyment of these resources by visitor and other users, as long as use does not impair specific park resources or overall visitor experience. The appropriateness of any particular visitor use or recreational experience is resource-based and will vary from park to park; therefore, a use or activity that is appropriate in one park area may not be appropriate in another. The Superintendent is directed to analyze overall park use and determine if any particular use is appropriate. Where conflict arises between use and resource protection, where the Superintendent has a reasonable basis to believe a resource is or would become impaired, then that Superintendent is obliged to place limitations on public use.

3. Consistency of This Compendium with Applicable Federal Law and Requirements

The Superintendent’s Compendium is not considered a significant rule requiring review by the Office of Management and Budget under Executive Order 12866.In addition, this Compendium will not have a significant economic effect on many small entities nor impose a significant cost on any local, state or tribal government or private organization, and therefore does not fall under the requirements of either the Regulatory Flexibility Act or the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act.

The actions and requirements described in this Compendium are found to be categorically excluded from further compliance with the procedural requirements of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) in Department of the Interior (DOI) Guidelines 516 DM 6 and as such, an Environmental Assessment will not be prepared.

4. Development of the Requirements of the Superintendent’s Compendium

As outlined above, the NPS has broad authority and responsibility to determine what types of uses and activities are appropriate in any National Park System area. The requirements of the Superintendent’s Compendium are developed through an analysis and determination process. The decision criteria used during this process are:
  • Is the use or activity consistent with the NPS Organic Act and NPS policy?
  • Is the use or activity consistent and compatible with the park’s enabling legislation, management objectives, and corresponding management plans?
  • Will the use or activity damage the park’s protected natural and cultural resources and other protected values?
  • Will the use or activity disturb or conflict with wildlife, vegetation, and environmental protection actions and values?
  • Will the use or activity conflict with or be incompatible with traditional park uses and activities?
  • Will the use or activity compromise employee or public safety?

5. Applicability of the Compendium

The rules contained in this Compendium apply to all persons entering, using, visiting or otherwise present on Federally owned lands, including submerged lands, and waters administered by the NPS within the legislative boundaries of the park. This includes all waters subject to the jurisdiction of the United States, including all navigable waters.

6. Enforcement of Compendium Requirements

NPS Law Enforcement Park Rangers enforce the requirements of the United State Code, 36 CFR, and this Superintendent’s Compendium.

7. Penalties for Not Adhering to the Compendium Requirements

A person who violates any provision of the regulations found in 36 CFR, Parts 1-7, or provisions of this Compendium, is subject to a fine as provided by law (18 U.S.C. 3571) up to $5,000 for individuals and $10,000 for organizations, or by imprisonment not exceeding six months (18 U.S.C. 3559), or both, and shall be adjudged to pay all court costs associated with any court proceedings. You may receive a list of fines associated with any particular provision by contacting the Chief Ranger at the park address found below.

8. Comments on the Compendium

The Compendium is reviewed annually and revised as necessary. The park welcomes comments about its program and activities at any time.
Written comments on the Compendium may be submitted to:
Theodore Roosevelt National Park
PO Box 7
Medora, ND 58645-0007

9. Effective Date of the Superintendent Compendium

The Superintendent’s Compendium is effective on the approval date listed on the first page of this document and remains in effect until revised for a period up to one year.

10. Additional Information

Some of the terms used in this Compendium may have specific meaning defined in 36 CFR 1.4

Definitions. None to follow.
Some of the terms used in this Compendium may have specific meaning defined in 36 CFR 1.4

11. Availability

Copies of the Compendium are available at 315 2nd Avenue, Medora, ND 58601

Copies may also be found at:


In accordance with regulations and the delegated authority provided in Title 36, Code of Federal Regulations (“36 CFR”), Chapter 1, Parts 1-7, authorized by Title 54 U.S.C. §100751, the following provisions apply to all lands and waters administered by the National Park Service, within the boundaries of Theodore Roosevelt National Park. Unless otherwise stated, these regulatory provisions apply in addition to the requirements contained in 36 CFR, Chapter 1, Parts 1-7.

Written determinations, which explain the reasoning behind the Superintendent’s use of discretionary authority, as required by Section 1.5(c), appear in this document identified by italicized print.


(a)(1) The following visiting hours and public use limits are established for all or for the listed portions of the park, and the following closures are established for all or a portion of the park to all public use or to a certain use or activity:

Visiting Hours:
  • The park is open 24 hours a day, year-round.
  • Headquarters Building: open all year, Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., except federal holidays.
  • Medora Visitor Center: Open daily all year 9:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. MT with extended hours during the summer. Closed Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day, and New Year's Day.
  • Painted Canyon Visitor Center: Open May - October, Hours 8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. MT with extended hours during the summer.
  • North Unit Visitor Center: Open daily approximately Mid-May - October, Hours 9:00 a.m.- 4:30 pm CT. Open as staffing allows remainder of year. Closed Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day, and New Year's Day.
  • Hours and dates for all three visitor centers are subject to change due to budgetary constraints and operational needs.
  • All off-road portions of Theodore Roosevelt National Park are closed to use of mechanical equipment including carts, wagons, on-road vehicles, and off-road vehicles except for administrative or emergency purposes or as authorized by the Superintendent.
Determination: The highly erodible landscape and abundance of wildlife would be un-duly affected by the use of mechanical equipment off of established roadways.

  • Backcountry trails may be temporarily closed when trail conditions are such that use may be hazardous to the visiting public (e.g. rockslides, flooding, fire). Visitors shall be advised of such closures by the posting of signs at trailheads, trail junctions, or other appropriate locations.
  • Other portions of Theodore Roosevelt National Park are subject to closure or restriction of public activities if the Superintendent or his/her designated representative determines that such closure or restriction is necessary to avoid risk to public safety or damage to the natural, cultural, scenic, or aesthetic resources of the park. Such closures will be lifted upon conditions resuming to normal operations.
Determination: Temporary closures are needed to protect human life and address safety issues.

  • Park Facilities: The following park facilities are closed to public entry:
    • Fenced pastures or corrals containing park horses or longhorn steers
    • Wildlife handling facilities located north of exit 36, Interstate 94, on Fryburg Road in the South Unit. Wildlife handling facilities located south of Scenic Drive on National Park Service Road between Longhorn Pullout and Slump Block Pullout in the North Unit. Entering, playing upon, walking upon or within corrals intended for wildlife management is prohibited.
    • The drainage settling pond located in the South Unit northeast of Building #111,
    • 440 2nd Avenue, is closed except for servicing.
    • Sewage lagoons located southeast of Painted Canyon Visitor Center in the South Unit, in the North Unit south of government housing, and in the North Unit east of Juniper Campground
    • Scavenging in government refuse containers is prohibited
Determination: Corralled horses, wildlife handling facilities, and longhorn steer locations are closed to the public to address human life and safety issues. Large animals of this size can cause substantial injury to visitors. Drainage and sewage lagoons present public health, sanitation, and safety issues and are closed to public entry. Scavenging in refuse containers can lead to park liabilities if individuals are harmed or injured during this activity; additionally, most of the park's large refuse containers are within gated facilities.

  • Coal Veins:
    • Entering in or upon any actively burning coal vein fire or within 100 feet of any actively burning coal vein fire is prohibited except upon established roadways or designated trails. Actively burning coal vein fires can be recognized by a sulphureous odor, smoke emanating from beneath the ground, flames when subsurface activity breaks through the overlying vegetation layer, and/or visible areas of a subsurface coal vein fire.
Determination: The unstable nature of the ground surface due to voids created by burning coal veins causes geological instability in and around the area of an active coal vein fire. Approaching or entering such areas has been determined to be unsafe due to the potential for ground collapse into an area of active fire.

  • Park Roads:
    • Service and administrative roads that are designated by signs or locked gates are closed to all vehicle traffic except those on official government business.
    • All park roads are subject to temporary closure to vehicles during periods of adverse weather, natural disaster, emergency, or implementation of management responsibility, as indicated by signs, locked gates, or other means of notification. Roads closed to vehicle traffic due to winter or snow conditions remain open to non-vehicular use such as hiking, skiing, or snowshoeing.
    • The South Unit Scenic Loop Drive is closed to visitor use from mile marker 24 to mile marker 28. Visitors may cross the roadway to access lands on the opposite side but may not travel down the length of the roadway or the shoulder of the roadway.
Determination: The Superintendent has the authority to close any park facility or park operated site for a range of reasons including health and life safety. Closures will be announced to the public and signs will be posted reporting the closure. Operational closures may include sensitive cultural, historic, or archaeological sites, fire prescribed locations, animal reduction programs, active development of resource management plans and activities for long term management and protection.

  • Picnicking:
    • Picnicking is prohibited within the developed headquarters area except where tables are provided for public use.
    • Picnicking is prohibited within the residential areas.
    • Picnic areas are closed in the park from 10:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m. daily.
Determination: Picnicking is allowed in most of the park, with the above exceptions. These locations are considered private residential quarters and employee workstations. Picnic areas are closed in the evening to allow for quiet times for park campers and to prevent these areas from being used as illegal camping locations.

  • Wildlife Attractants:
    • The entire park is closed to the use of calls, calling devices, audio attractants, or other artificial or natural means of attracting or disturbing wildlife, including rattling antlers or verbal animal imitations.
Determination: Wildlife attractants such as calling devices can attract animals into dangerous situations such as along roadways or cause human interactions. Additionally, audio animal imitations can lure animals for illegal poaching activities. Calling devices used for park sanctioned studies of fauna are permitted.

Prohibited Activities:
  • All areas of the park are closed, except for the main park housing areas, to the use of flying kites, remote controlled devices (including cars, planes, rotorcraft, robots, etc.), and to helium-filled latex or mylar balloons unless they are tethered or released indoors.
  • All areas of the park are closed, except for the main park housing areas, to the playing of softball, volleyball, badminton, horseshoes, and other lawn games.
Determination: Prohibited activities using flying devices or items being thrown create a disturbance to the park's natural and tranquil atmosphere and have been found to cause distress to the native wildlife, especially nesting birds, as these activities can replicate predatory animal behavior.

Unmanned Aircraft:
  • Launching, landing, or operating an unmanned aircraft from or on lands and waters administered by the National Park Service within the boundaries of Theodore Roosevelt National Park is prohibited except as approved in writing by the Superintendent.
Definition: The term “unmanned aircraft” means a device that is used or intended to be used for flight in the air without the possibility of direct human intervention from within or on the device, and the associated operational elements and components that are required for the pilot or system operator in command to operate or control the device (such as cameras, sensors, communication links.) This term includes all types of devices that meet this definition (e.g., model airplanes, quadcopters, drones) that are used for any purpose, including for recreation or commerce.

Determination: Until the NPS can determine whether specific uses of unmanned aircraft are appropriate and will not cause unacceptable impacts on park resources and values, Theodore Roosevelt National Park is closed to the use of these devices. The use of unmanned aircraft within the boundaries of Theodore Roosevelt National Park has the potential to harm visitors, disturb wildlife, impact viewsheds, cause excessive noise, and interfere with other visitors' enjoyment of the area. This closure is being implemented as an interim measure while this new use can be properly evaluated. A less restrictive approach is not appropriate at this time due to the impacts the devices could potentially present to visitor safety, park values, and to park resources. The interim closure will safeguard these values while the NPS considers how to address this new use on a long-term basis.

(a)(2) The following areas have been designated for a specific use or activity, under the conditions and/or restrictions as noted:

Backcountry Use:
All lands and waters within the boundaries of Theodore Roosevelt National Park are designated as backcountry use areas except for the following front country areas:
  • Areas contained within both paved and unpaved two-wheel drive road corridors open for general use by all categories of passenger vehicles. Dimensions for these corridors shall be 300 feet from the centerline on paved roads and 50 feet from the centerline of non-paved two-wheel drive roads unless a topographic feature provides a closer and more functional natural boundary. Designated two-wheel drive roads are identified on the Theodore Roosevelt National Park brochure, publication number GPO: 2015-388-437/30596 (or subsequent revision).
  • Developmental zones directly accessed from two-wheel drive roads as identified on the Theodore Roosevelt National Park brochure.
  • Please refer to §2.10 for detailed camping area designations.

The following restrictions and/or conditions are in effect for the specific uses or activities noted:

Disturbing Wildlife: All wildlife in the park is wild and potentially dangerous.
  • Except for inadvertent or casual encounters with wildlife in areas where traffic is required or essential, willfully approaching, remaining, viewing, or engaging in any activity within 25 yards to bison, elk, and feral horses or closer to any other wildlife including nesting birds, or within any distance that disturbs, displaces, or otherwise interferes with the free unimpeded movement of wildlife, or creates or contributes to a potentially hazardous condition or situation, is prohibited.
  • Failure to remove oneself to a prescribed distance during inadvertent, accidental, casual or surprise encounters with wildlife.
  • Failure to comply as directed by NPS staff (employees, volunteers, or agents) engaged in administering wildlife management operations or managing wildlife viewing opportunities.
  • The prohibitions in this paragraph do not apply to persons who are in compliance with written protocol approved by the Superintendent; or park personnel acting within the scope of approved management activities.
Determination: The superintendent has established these public use limits and regulations for public safety and the protection of wildlife. These restrictions also provide park staff with the flexibility to manage dynamic wildlife situations.

Possess, Use, and Transport of Feed and Grain:
  • Possessing, storing, or transporting any feeds, hay, straw, grain, or mulch that is not certified as being "noxious weed free" or “noxious weed seed free" according to the North American Weed Management Association (NAWMA) Standards for Certified Weed Seed Free Feed is prohibited
  • Use of pelletized feed is allowed if it meets NAWMA guidelines.
  • Transporting feeds, straw, hay, grain, or mulch on through-roads and to ranches adjacent to Theodore Roosevelt National Park is allowed.
Determination: The park staff has made great strides in removing invasive plants. With the heavy visitor use of the park’s Roundup Horse Campground, there has been great concern about the spread of noxious weeds from horse feed. Stationary feed sources within the campground can easily distribute seeds which spread to promote undesired weeds. Horses in the backcountry create additional concerns as seed can germinate from horse feces.

These backcountry locations are difficult to inventory and treat once invasive plants have taken root. However, the transporting of feed, straw, hay, and grain to locations via the major roads is allowed, as it is less likely to spread to remote locations before being identified by the Invasive Plant Management Team and treated.

Firewood Restriction Due to Invasive Insects (Emerald Ash Borer):
  • Firewood, regardless of the species, may only be brought into Theodore Roosevelt National Park (park) or transported through the park if the tree from which it is derived originally stood within the state boundary of North Dakota. The possession of any firewood originating from any location for which a federal or state firewood quarantine is in effect is prohibited. This closure prohibits the movement of firewood into the park from areas for which a federal or state quarantine is in place even if the quarantine allows for movement within the area. See exception below. (“Buffer” areas are not considered quarantined.)
  • Firewood in violation of the above must be burned immediately by the camper in established fire grates/rings. Failure to comply with this action may result in a citation and/or seizure of firewood.
  • Theodore Roosevelt National Park considers firewood to be any wood cut, sold or intended for use as firewood, including chips, limbs, branches, etc. with or without bark. Kiln-dried, finished and cut lumber or lumber scraps from which the bark has been removed during the milling process like that purchased from a hardware store or discarded at construction sites, is not considered firewood.
  • Exception: Firewood which is in the original packaging and is accompanied by a certificate or limited permit issued and attached in accordance with 7 C.F.R. § 301.53-5 and 7 C.F.R. §301.53-8 is allowed even if purchased from a vendor in a quarantined area.
Determination: This closure is intended to prevent or slow the introduction of invasive insects or diseases into Theodore Roosevelt National Park. The emerald ash borer (EAB) has already killed tens of millions of trees in those states that have been infested. As a result, the movement of firewood within and from infested areas is regulated by the states and the federal government. The USDA has documented that several other harmful insects can be transported in firewood. Therefore, it has been determined that this action is necessary to protect the natural resources of the park. The National Park Service strongly discourages the movement of any firewood and encourages campers to burn wood where they buy it.

Information about firewood quarantines is distributed in affected areas by states and the Federal Government via a wide variety of media.

Passenger Carrying Busses and Semi Trucks:
  • Operators of diesel and gasoline powered motor vehicles are prohibited from idling their engines for longer than five minutes in parking lots in developed areas.
Determination: The idling of engines adds unnecessary exhaust fumes to the air and diminishes the enjoyment by visitors of the peace and tranquility of the park, including limiting auditory ability of park visitors attending park programs.

Use of Segways and Similar Devices by Persons with Mobility Disabilities:
  • Except for their use by mobility-impaired individuals, the use of Segways and motorized scooters is prohibited on all park roads, trails, sidewalks, and walkways. Persons who are mobility-impaired, however, may use a Segway or motorized scooter in the park including in park structures and facilities, and on sidewalks and paved walkways when such devices are used for the sole purpose of mobility assistance.
  • Use of any mobility assistive devices, as outlined above, must also adhere to the following conditions:
    • Mobility assistive device shall be operated in a safe and responsible manner; maximum speed will not exceed 8 m.p.h.
    • A person operating a mobility assistive device shall have all the rights and legal responsibilities applicable to a pedestrian, except that a mobility assistive device operator must yield to pedestrians.
Determination: The park is committed to making all reasonable efforts to make its programs, facilities, and services accessible to people with disabilities. Allowing the use of Segways and motorized scooters by mobility-impaired individuals in park areas where motorized wheelchairs are allowed is part of this effort.

Use of Electric Bicycles (e-bikes):
  • The term “e-bike” means a two- or three-wheeled cycle with fully operable pedals and an electric motor of less than 750 watts (1 h.p.).
  • E-bikes are allowed in Theodore Roosevelt National Park where traditional bicycles are allowed. E-bikes are prohibited where traditional bicycles are prohibited. Except where use of motor vehicles by the public is allowed, using the electric motor to move an e-bike without pedaling is prohibited.
  • A person operating an e-bike is subject to the following sections of 36 CFR part 4 that apply to the use of traditional bicycles: sections 4.12, 4.13, 4.20, 4.21, 4.22, 4.23, and 4.30(h)(2)-(5).
  • Except as specified in this Compendium, the use of an e-bike within Theodore Roosevelt National Park is governed by State law, which is adopted and made a part of this Compendium. Any violation of State law adopted by this paragraph is prohibited.
Determination: The parks intent is to allow e-bikes to be used for transportation and recreation in a similar manner to traditional bicycles. Except on park roads and other locations where use of motor vehicles by the public is allowed, operators may only use the power provided by the electric motor to assist pedal propulsion of an e-bike.


Contact the Chief Ranger for permit information and applications:
Theodore Roosevelt National Park
Chief Ranger
PO Box 7
Medora, ND 58645-0007
(701) 623-4466 phone
(701) 623-4840 fax

(f) The following is a compilation of those activities for which a permit from the superintendent is required:

§2.5(a) Specimen collection: Taking of plants, fishes, wildlife, rocks, or minerals
§2.10(a) The following camping activities:
  • Frontcountry camping in developed campgrounds
  • Backcountry camping
§2.50(a) Conducting a sports event, pageant, regatta, public spectator attraction, entertainment, ceremony, and similar events.

§2.51(a) Public assemblies, meetings, gatherings, demonstrations, parades, and other public expressions of views by groups of more than 25 people.

§2.52(c) Sale or distribution of printed matter that is not solely commercial advertising by groups of more than 25 people.

§5.1 Advertisements: Displaying, posting, or distributing.

§5.3 Engaging in or soliciting any business (Requires a permit, contract, or other written agreement with the United States, or must be pursuant to special regulations).

§5.5 Commercial filming, still photography, and audio recording:
(a) Commercial filming and still photography activities are subject to the provisions of 43 CFR Part 5. All commercial filming requires a permit. Still photography does not require a permit unless:
  • It uses a model, set, or prop
  • It takes place where members of the public are not allowed
  • The park would incur costs to provide onsite management to protect resources or minimize visitor use conflicts
(b) Audio recording does not require a permit unless:
  • It takes place at locations where or when members of the public are generally not allowed
  • The equipment requires mechanical transport
  • It requires an external power source
  • The activity requires monitoring
  • The activity impacts resources



(a)(4) Dead wood on the ground may be collected for use as fuel for campfires within the park in the following areas:
  • Cottonwood Campground and Picnic Area
  • Roundup Group Horse Campground
  • Juniper Campground, Group Site and Picnic Area
(c)(1), (c)(2) The following fruits, nuts, berries, or unoccupied seashells may be gathered by hand for personal use or consumption, in accordance with the noted size, quantity, collection sites and/or use or consumption restrictions:
Up to one quart per person per day of the following fruits, berries, and mushrooms may be gathered for personal use or consumption:
  • Buffaloberry
  • Choke cherry
  • Currant berry
  • Juneberry
  • Juniper berry
  • Wild mushroom
  • Plum
  • Rose hip
  • Skunkbush Sumac berry
  • Wild strawberry
Determination: Small amounts of mushrooms, fruits and berries as listed should have little effect on the resources. If conditions change or public demand increases, further restrictions to the number of items collected will be considered.


(d) The transporting of lawfully taken wildlife through the park is permitted under the following conditions and procedures:
  • Lawfully taken and tagged wildlife may be transported through the park only on East River Road in the South Unit.
  • All wildlife carcasses must be properly tagged and fully compliant with applicable state laws.
  • Transportation may not include any stops except for emergencies.
  • Wildlife carcasses must be kept out of sight or covered.
  • Any animal entering the park after being lawfully shot or wounded while outside the park shall not be retrieved except under the supervision of a park law enforcement ranger.
(e) All areas of the park are closed to the viewing of wildlife with the use of an artificial light.


(h) Notwithstanding any other provision in this Chapter, a person may possess, carry, and transport concealed, loaded, and operable firearms within a national park area in accordance with the laws of the state in which the national park area, or that portion thereof, is located, except as otherwise prohibited by applicable Federal law.

This authority does not extend to Federal facilities within the park in accordance with 18 USC 930(a). Federal facilities within Theodore Roosevelt National Park include the following structures:

South Unit:
  • Medora Visitor Center
  • Park Administration Buildings: Headquarters, Building 200, Building 111 and the temporary fire crew trailer
  • South Unit Entrance Station
  • Medora Maintenance Facility
  • Theodore Roosevelt Maltese Cabin
  • Painted Canyon Visitor Center
  • Painted Canyon Restroom Facility
North Unit:
  • North Unit Visitor Center
  • North Unit Entrance Station
  • North Unit Maintenance Facility


(a) The sites and areas listed below have been designated for camping activities as noted. A permit system has been established for certain campgrounds or camping activities, and conditions for camping and camping activities are in effect as noted:
Camping – General:
  • Camping with vehicles is permitted only in designated campgrounds. Campgrounds are designated by appropriate signage and by NPS brochures and maps available to the public at the visitor centers.
  • Use of park campgrounds as a base camp for hunting parties is prohibited.
  • Use of park campgrounds for other than recreation purposes is prohibited.
Camping – Frontcountry – Cottonwood and Juniper Campgrounds:
A reservation system has been established with Recreation.Gov for the odd number sites at Cottonwood Campground. The even numbered sites at Cottonwood Campground and all sites at Juniper Campground are first come first served. Registration and fee payment must be completed within 30 minutes of occupying a campsite. Campsite occupancy is not recognized unless the required camping fee has been paid and the registration properly posted.
  • Frontcountry campgrounds are open year-round.
  • During the period from May 1st through October 31st, camping is limited to a total of 14 Nights in either one visit or the accumulation of separate visits. Camping is limited to a total of 30 Nights in a calendar year.
  • Campsite occupancy is limited to no more than 1 family or 6 persons, and 2 vehicles. Walk-in tent sites are limited to 1 vehicle.
  • Check-out time is noon.
  • It is prohibited for visitors to go through the campground requesting registered campers to share their campsite.
  • No person may register for a campsite with the intent of saving the site for someone else.
  • Generator operation is only permitted between the hours of 8:00am and 8:00pm.
  • Tying or hanging any lines from trees, shrubs, signposts, etc., is prohibited. Exception, hammocks are allowed within the designated footprint of the campsite. Hammocks may not overhang or cause damage to vegetation.
  • Vehicles must be parked so that all wheels remain on the parking pad surface and vehicles do not extend into the roadway.
  • Horses and pack animals may not be kept overnight in these established campgrounds.
Camping – Frontcountry – Group Campsites at Cottonwood and Juniper Campgrounds:
A reservation system has been established with Recreation.Gov for Cottonwood and Juniper Group Campsites allowing for reservations to be requested for the same calendar year beginning on the first business day of March.

The following differences apply for the Frontcountry Group Campsites:
  • The maximum length of stay is limited to 5 consecutive Nights, and 14 Nights in a calendar year.
Cottonwood Campground Group Campsite:
  • Minimum group size is 7 persons.
  • Maximum capacity is 20 persons and 5 passenger vehicles.
Juniper Campground Group Campsite:
  • Minimum group size is 7 persons.
  • Maximum capacity is 60 people and 20 passenger vehicles.
Camping – Frontcountry – Roundup Group Horse Campground:
A reservation system has been established with Recreation.Gov for the campground allowing for reservations to be requested for the same calendar year beginning on the first business day of March.
  • The campground will be open from May 1st through October 31st.
  • Maximum length of stay is limited to 5 nights in a calendar year.
  • Minimum group size is 6 persons.
  • Maximum capacity is 20 persons and 20 horses, or 30 persons without horses.
  • Camping is permitted only for non-commercial users.
  • Check-out time is noon.
  • Stock may only be kept in the corral or tied to designated hitching posts.
  • Stock may not be tied to trees, enclosure fences, or other campground facilities.
  • Stock may not be picketed or hobbled within a 2-mile radius of the campground.
Camping – Backcountry
Camping is permitted in wilderness and backcountry areas of the park.
  • Backcountry Use Permits are required for all overnight stays in the park outside the developed campgrounds.
  • Party sizes are limited to no more than 10 persons without horses, or 8 persons with 8 horses.
  • Backcountry camping is limited to 14 consecutive days per trip, and a maximum of 30 days annually.
  • Backcountry camping is prohibited within 1/4 mile of established roads or trailheads.
  • Backcountry camping is prohibited within sight of maintained roads or trails, or within sight or sound of other camping parties.
  • Backcountry camping is prohibited within 200 feet of any water source, or recognizable archeological or historical sites.
  • Camping is not permitted at the cabin site enclosure at the Elkhorn Ranch Unit.
(d) All food, lawfully taken fish, garbage, and equipment used to cook or store food must be kept sealed in a vehicle, or in a camping container that is constructed of solid, non-pliable material capable of preventing access by wildlife.


Certain areas have been closed to picnicking and are listed in section 1.5(a)(1) “Closures”.

36 CFR 2.13 – FIRES

(a)(1) The lighting or maintaining of fires is generally prohibited, except as provided for in the following designated areas and/or receptacles, and under the conditions noted. Administrative fire activities sanctioned by the NPS are exempt from these restrictions:

Designated Areas:
  • Fires are allowed only in developed campgrounds and picnic areas.
Receptacles Allowed:
  • Fires shall be contained within designated metal fire rings or park grills, or in a portable fire pan capable of containing all fire ash and residue.
Established Conditions for Fires: Reference the North Dakota Fire Danger Rating Map found here for applicable fire danger rating: ( The South Unit and Elkhorn Unit are in Billings County, the North Unit is in McKenzie County.

During periods of Very High fire danger, Extreme fire danger, or when Red Flag Warnings exist, fires will be prohibited as follows:
  • Open wood and charcoal fires shall be prohibited.
  • Smoking shall be restricted to within a vehicle, or when occupying a space that is no less than 10 feet squared that is void of any vegetation or flammable materials.
  • At the discretion of the Superintendent or designee, fires – to include charcoal fires and gas lanterns – may be prohibited during periods of Very High or Extreme fire danger based on local environmental conditions. Such special circumstance prohibitions will be posted at entrance stations and campgrounds.
(a)(2) The following restrictions are in effect for the use of stoves or lanterns:
  • Only gas stoves are allowed in the backcountry or wilderness areas, no open fires or gas lanterns are allowed.
(b) Fires must be extinguished according to the following conditions:
  • Fires shall be extinguished with no burning material or hot ash remaining upon termination of use.
  • If a portable fire pan is used, all ashes and coals must be thoroughly extinguished and cooled, and then removed from the park or placed in a trash receptacle.


(b) Conditions for the disposal, containerization, or carryout of human body waste have been established as follows:
  • Where toilet facilities are not available, all human waste shall be buried:
    • At least 6 inches deep
    • Away from wash bottoms
    • At least 200 feet from flowing water
    • In an area not frequented by the public
    • The burying or burning of toilet paper is prohibited; toilet paper and feminine hygiene products must be carried out.

36 CFR §2.15 – PETS

(a)(1) The following structures and/or areas are closed to the possession of pets:
  • Pets are prohibited on all park trails and throughout the backcountry.
  • Pets are prohibited on commercial tours.
  • Pets on leashes are restricted to developed areas.
  • Pets are allowed within 6 feet of the road edge of established roads and within parking areas.
(a)(5) Pet excrement must be disposed of in accordance with the following conditions:
  • In all developed areas and on all paved surface areas, persons responsible for the pet are required to immediately pick up solid waste left behind by their animals and dispose of it in a waste receptacle.
(e) Pets may be kept by park residents under the following conditions:
  • Park residents may keep pets in accordance with the THRO Superintendent’s Order #05-11, Pet Policy.
Determination: All animals in the park are wild and unpredictable. Bison are especially aggressive towards dogs and due to this concern for public safety, it is determined that the pet poses a direct threat to the health or safety of people or wildlife. Individualized assessments based on current scientific knowledge or on the best available objective evidence to ascertain the nature, duration, and severity of the risks have been considered and less restrictive measures will not suffice.


(a) The following animals are designated as pack animals for purposes of transporting equipment:
  • Horses
  • Burros
  • Mules
(a) The use of horses or pack animals is allowed on the following trails, routes or areas:
  • Developed picnic areas or campgrounds (excluding Roundup Group Horse Campground
  • Caprock Coulee Trail
  • Coal Vein Trail
  • Little Mo Nature Trail
  • Painted Canyon Nature Trail
  • Ridgeline Trail
  • Skyline Vista Trail
  • Wind Canyon Trail
(g) Other conditions concerning the use of horses or pack animals:
  • Manure must be removed immediately if dropped in or near any spring or non-flowing water source.
  • Horse and pack animal manure must be scattered upon vacating a backcountry campsite.
  • Parties camping with horses or pack animals must camp and picket their animals at least 200 feet from water.
  • Horses and pack animals must be picketed in locations where there will be minimum vegetation damage.
  • Horses and pack animals may not be kept overnight in any roadside pullout.
  • At parking lots and other loading areas, horse and pack animal manure, including fresh excrement or manure spilled from trailers, must be picked up prior to the vehicles departing.
  • Horse or pack animals that become lost or die must be reported on the day of the occurrence.


(c) Snowmobiles may be operated only on routes designated in section 36 CFR 7.54


The use of roller skates, skateboards, roller skis, coasting vehicles, or similar devices are allowed only in the following areas:
  • On streets, sidewalks, and driveways within residential areas.

36 CFR §2.21 – SMOKING

(a) The following portions of the park, or all or portions of buildings, structures or facilities are closed to smoking as noted:
  • Smoking is prohibited in all public use buildings, and government administrative buildings and facilities, with the exception of permanent employee quarters.
  • Smoking is prohibited in all government owned and leased vehicles.
  • Smoking may be prohibited as posted in any area of the park during times of high or extreme fire danger.
Determination: Smoking is prohibited in all government vehicles and buildings, except permanent employee residential quarters, to comply with government-wide health and safety policies. Smoking is prohibited where posted during high fire danger in order to protect park resources and reduce the risk of fire.

36 CFR §2.22 – PROPERTY

(a)(2) Property may be left unattended for periods longer than 24 hours in the following areas and under the following conditions:
  • Leaving caches associated with the practice of geocaching, letterboxing, or similar activities are prohibited. Geocaching is defined as the placement of a cached container at a location and distributing coordinates or other information for the purpose of directing others to the cache. Virtual geocaching, the distributing of coordinates or other information for the purpose of directing others to a location without the placement of an actual cache is allowed.
  • Caching of water, camping, or hiking equipment is prohibited.
  • Visitors on overnight trips in the backcountry may leave their vehicles parked and unattended in parking areas or established roadside pullouts for the period specified on their approved backcountry camping permit.
  • Visitors staying overnight in a developed campground may leave their vehicles and/or trailers parked and unattended in designated campground parking areas for the period of time specified on their campground registration permit.


(a) Recreation fees, and/or a permit, in accordance with 36 CFR part 71, are established for the following entrance fee areas, and/or for the use of the following specialized sites, facilities, equipment or services, or for participation in the following group activity, recreation events or specialized recreation uses:

Entrance Fee Areas:
  • Entrance fee permits or interagency passes are required for all visits to the park.
  • The permit requirement shall be met when a visitor has in their possession a permit issued by park employees from an entrance stations or visitor centers during regular business hours, or from another authorized location elsewhere in the Federal Recreational Lands Pass system.
The following are generally exempt from this requirement: Contact the park's Fee Supervisor to determine your exemption status.
  • Educational groups, though applicability will be determined on a case-by-case basis. See for more information.
  • Individuals transiting through the South Unit without stopping, to access lands outside the park.
  • Individuals accessing park lands at points where recreation fee collection facilities do not exist.
Daily Campsite Use Fee Areas:
  • Recreation fee permits are required for overnight stays in the Cottonwood and Juniper Campgrounds and will be issued by a self-registration system. The permit application requirement shall be met by completing the fee collection envelope, inserting the required payment into the envelope, and depositing the envelope in the security container at the registration station within 30 minutes of occupying the campsite.


(a)(3)(i) The following public use areas, portions of public use areas, and/or public facilities within the park are closed to consumption of alcoholic beverages, and/or to the possession of a bottle, can or other receptacle containing an alcoholic beverage that is open, or has been opened, or whose seal has been broken or the contents of which have been partially removed:
  • All public use buildings, except during officially sanctioned activities when the building is closed to the general public.
Determination: Public use buildings are closed to all types of beverages and foods because of the delicate conditions of the park’s exhibits and museum pieces. Food and beverages in these locations can create an attractant for insect populations which can be detrimental to sensitive exhibits and/or sales items.


(b) Fireworks and firecrackers may be possessed and/or used in the following areas, under the conditions noted:
  • Park residents are authorized to use – on the Fourth of July, only in the government housing area, and only on cement sidewalks or pavement, and in accordance with state and local laws or regulations fireworks that do not fly or explode, such as fountains, sparklers, smoke balls, snakes, ground spinners, pinwheels, and strobes. Firecrackers, rockets, missiles, mines, shells, aerial cakes, flying spinners, roman candles and other similar fireworks are prohibited.
Determination: Flying fireworks are prohibited to reduce the threat and danger of wildland fires.


(b) The following speed limits are established for the routes/roads indicated:
  • South Unit – East River Road (paved) 35 mph
  • South Unit – East River Road (unpaved) 25 mph
  • South Unit – Scenic Loop Drive 25 mph
  • North Unit – Scenic Drive 25 mph
  • Entrance Stations and Visitor Center areas15 mph
  • Developed Campgrounds 15 mph
Determination: These speed limits are traditional speeds associated with National Park Service roads which are used daily by park staff and visitors but are winding and difficult terrain locations. All roadways are presently signed for these speeds. Different speed limits are used in deceleration zones, in areas with congested motor vehicles and pedestrian traffic, and/or where road surface, character, visibility, and roaming wildlife do not allow for a faster, safer speed.

36 CFR §4.30 – BICYCLES

The following restrictions apply to bicycle use within Theodore Roosevelt National Park:
  • Bicycles shall be allowed on park roads open to public use.
  • All administrative roads are closed to bicycle use.
  • All trails and backcountry areas are closed to bicycle use.
Determination: Administrative roads are frequented by employees and heavy equipment and as such are not conducive to recreational use. Park trails are highly erodible and frequented by wildlife such as bison and elk which would be disturbed by bicycle use.


(a)(1) Designated routes open to snowmobile use are the portions of the Little Missouri River which contains the main river channel as it passes through both units of Theodore Roosevelt National Park. Ingress and egress to and from the designated route must be made from outside the boundaries of the park. There are no designated access points to the route within the park.



(c)(2) The following areas are designated for demonstrations:
  • The 100-feet of the contiguous mowed lawn east of the Medora Visitor Center flagpole and adjacent to the sidewalk and west of the parking lot. Sidewalk must remain clear for pedestrian access.
  • The Cottonwood Campground amphitheater, if the timing of the demonstration does not interfere with scheduled interpretive events.


The following area is designated for the sale or distribution of printed matter:
  • The concrete section east of the Medora Visitor Center and north of the sidewalk adjacent to the wooden fence, and the contiguous 20 feet of mowed lawn north and east along the sidewalk.
A map showing the South Unit Visitor Center area and designated location for printed materials and permitted area for public assembly. Both areas are just west of the visitor center and north of the parking lot.



(c)(2) The following areas are designated for demonstrations:

  • The 100 feet of contiguous mowed lawn west of the Painted Canyon Visitor Center between the two light posts adjacent to the sidewalk and north of the parking lot. Sidewalk must remain clear for pedestrian access.


The following area is designated for the sale or distribution of printed matter:
  • The contiguous mowed lawn 20 feet by 20 feet west of the Painted Canyon Visitor Center entrance walkway and north of the parking lot sidewalk.

A map showing the Painted Canyon Visitor Center area and designated location for printed materials and permitted area for public assembly. Both areas are to the bottom left of the visitor center along a sidewalk.



(c)(2) The following areas are designated for demonstrations:
  • The 100 feet of contiguous mowed law surrounding the flagpole at the North Unit Visitor Center adjacent to the sidewalk and north of the parking lot. Sidewalk must remain clear for pedestrian access.
  • The Juniper Campground amphitheater, if the timing of the demonstration does not interfere with scheduled interpretive events.


The following area is designated for the sale or distribution of printed matter:
  • The 100 feet of contiguous mowed lawn at the west end of the parking lot at the North Unit Visitor Center adjacent to the sidewalk and north of the parking lot.

A map showing the North Unit Visitor Center area and designated location for printed materials and permitted area for public assembly. Both areas are to the top left of the visitor center on the right side of the parking lot.


In accordance with National Park Service (NPS) Law Enforcement Reference Manual 9 (RM-9), notice is hereby given that Theodore Roosevelt National Park uses Closed Circuit Television (CCTV) security camera monitoring.

The NPS’s use of CCTV for law enforcement and security purposes and will only be to visually monitor public park areas and public activities where no constitutionally protected reasonable expectation of privacy exists. Such CCTV use – which will have adequate privacy and First Amendment safeguards – will be to help ensure public safety and security; facilitate the detection, investigation, prevention, and deterrence of terrorist activity; help ensure the safety of citizens and officers; help assist in the proper allocation and deployment of law enforcement and public safety resources; and help facilitate the protection of the innocent and the apprehension and prosecution of criminals.

This policy does not restrict the official use of CCTV in government administrative areas, including administrative buildings, jail holding facilities, revenue collection sites, etc., where the government may record/monitor its facilities. For example, the government may perform unrestricted video/audio recording at revenue collection points (entrance stations, visitor center counters, etc.). This policy does not restrict the use of an Audio/Visual Recording Device (AVRD) in patrol vehicles or officer worn recording devices used by commissioned rangers.

Operation of CCTV cameras will be in accordance with NPS and Department policy. No person will be targeted or monitored merely because of race, religion, gender, sex, disability, national origin, or political affiliation or views.

Nothing in this policy statement is intended to create any rights, privileges, or benefits not otherwise recognized by law.
130254 Federal Register/Vol. 48, No. 127/Thursday, June 30, 1983/Rules and Regulations

Last updated: June 1, 2023

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