Behind the visitor center is an old, rustic cabin. Architecturally insignificant, a person might wonder why it is here. To understand, step over the threshold and walk inside the building that housed a future president at a pivotal moment in his development as a man. Heavily burdened by grief and anguish, a twenty-four year old Theodore Roosevelt retreated to North Dakota after his young wife and his mother died at their home in New York within hours of each other. Attempting to remove the painful memory of these tragic deaths from his mind, Roosevelt escaped the bustling east coast to find healing in North Dakota's great expanse of grass and sky. When he stepped off the train, the Maltese Cross cabin - his first ranch home - was the place that offered him warmth, shelter, and solace. Theodore Roosevelt recovered here and as he did, he had the opportunity to walk in another man's shoes, to see the last of America's frontier, to swell with excitement while riding after cattle across the open range! He fell in love with the awesome wonders of the natural world: its detail, diversity, and wild freshness. He witnessed the destruction and devastation caused by reckless, greedy, and wasteful use of resources and found value in a continent not yet completely subdued by civilized development. These experiences became apparent later in his career as he became known as the "Conservationist" President. While in office, he set aside over 230 million acres of federal land for conservation - a quantity of land larger than the entire State of Texas. He signed and invoked the Antiquities Act that allowed him, and future presidents, to preserve federal lands as National Monuments. Using this and previous legislation, he established 150 National Forests, 23 National Parks and Monuments, 51 Federal Bird Reservations, 4 National Game Preserves, and 24 Reclamation Projects. After his death, Theodore Roosevelt National Memorial Park was set aside to honor Theodore Roosevelt and his conservation legacy. Later, the park's name was changed to Theodore Roosevelt National Park.The images below are a few of the places Theodore Roosevelt helped preserve. Imagine what our country would look like today had he not acted at this particular moment in time. Imagine how much less rich our landscape would be! Be glad this cabin is here, that Theodore Roosevelt was here, and that, we, as his "future generations," are able to reap the benefits of his experience in North Dakota.