This week the U.S. Forest Service released its final decision to allow for the development of a 25-acre gravel pit within Theodore Roosevelt's Elkhorn Ranch and Greater Elkhorn Ranchlands National Register Historic District. The National Trust for Historic Preservation and several other interested stakeholders filed objections to the proposed development based on lacking compliance with the National Historic Preservation Act and inadequate consideration of a range of alternatives that could provide greater consideration of adverse impacts to this national treasure. Despite these objections, the agency approved the gravel pit, the proposed location of which is within a mile of the ranch house where Theodore Roosevelt sought solace from personal tragedy and built a conservation ethic and outlook that propelled him to the presidency.
The National Trust is disappointed that the Forest Service has approved this project and we continue to be concerned that the gravel pit will adversely affect the setting, solitude, and soundscape of the Elkhorn Ranch National Register Historic District. We will continue to work with our partners and decision-makers to ensure that this landscape, managed by the federal government for the enjoyment and appreciation of the American people, invokes the serene and naturally wild character with which our 26th President became so enamored.