North Dakota: Photo Tour of the Roughrider State

 
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"I never would have been President if it had not been for my experiences in North Dakota," Theodore Roosevelt once remarked. Everyone should be so lucky.  
Credit: Annie Griffiths Belt/National Geographic 
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Visions of big-game hunting lured young Teddy Roosevelt to the Badlands in September 1883, but by then, the bison population had been decimated by hide-hunters and disease.  
Credit: Sarah Nystrom/National Park Service 
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Today, bison once again roam Teddy's namesake national park—upwards of 400 of these 2,000-pound creatures roam amidst a maze of buttes and canyons.  
Credit: Phil Schermeister/National Geographic 
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The best way to see them is to saddle up the Roughrider himself. Peaceful Valley Ranch, just seven miles into the park, offers rides ranging from 90 minutes to five hours.  
Credit: Michael Melford/National Geographic 
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"The badlands grade all the way from those that are almost rolling in character to those that are so fantastically broken in form and so bizarre in color as to seem hardly properly to belong to this earth." -Theodore Roosevelt  
Credit: Sarah Nystrom/National Park Service 
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The Wind Canyon Overlook provides a panoramic view of the Little Missouri River that flows throughout the park.  
Credit: Mary Brazell/National Park Service 
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Perhaps the greatest aspect of North Dakota is its vast nothingness—it's open, it’s flat, and it's empty. Explorers William Clark and Meriwether Lewis spent more time in North Dakota than any other state on their journey.  
Credit: Mary Brazell/National Park Service 
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Small towns dot the horizon, and western hospitality is in full force. North Dakota is often considered the friendliest and safest place to live, as well as one of the most affordable.  
Credit: afiler/Flickr 
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The majority of the locals make a living from agriculture—their major crops being wheat, corn, sunflowers, soybeans, barley, and sugar beets. In fact, the state produces enough sugar from the sugar beets to sweeten 27 billion gallons of Kool-Aid per year.  
Credit: Phil Schermeister/National Geographic 
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Though it is one of the least-visited states in the United States, there are plenty of outdoor pursuits to keep you busy. And taking in the local way of life offers a fascinating glimpse into a world unknown for city folk.  
Credit: adiler/Flickr 
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The Little Missouri National Grassland is a protected area by the Department of Agriculture. Consisting of 1,033,271 acres, the area is the largest national grassland in the country. Throughout the park, rugged badlands and steep buttes are framed with tall prairie grass.  
Credit: Phil Schermeister/National Geographic 
 
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