Historic Sites In North Dakota. More Than Just Parks has 10 incredible must-see sites for you to visit.
I’ve been to so many of these amazing places since retiring from teaching in 2018. Did I mention that I taught history? I spent a lifetime teaching about the history behind these momentous sites. Then I got to see them firsthand. And now I’m sharing the stories of these incredible places with you. It doesn’t get any better than that!
I’m going to give you my list of the Top 10 Historic Sites In North Dakota that you’ll want to see.
To be clear, this list includes national park sites (as in sites managed by the National Park Service) as opposed to national parks.
One book that you might want to pick up before making your trip to the Roughrider State is: Greater Than a Tourist- North Dakota USA: 50 Travel Tips from a Local by Rachel Reko.
Without further ado, let’s dive in.
Historic Sites In North Dakota
10. North Country National Scenic Trail
We kick-off our list of the Top 10 Historic Sites In North Dakota with the North Country National Scenic Trail.
Included among the wonderful Historic Sites In North Dakota are not one, but two amazing trails.
The North Country National Scenic Trail provides visitors opportunities from bird watching to backpacking.
The trail traverses eight northern states and connects a host of natural, historic and cultural sites. You can see everything from small towns to larger cities, valleys to hilltops and much more.
The History Of The North Country National Scenic Trail
One of the longest trails in the nation starts in North Dakota. In 1980, the North Country National Scenic Trail (NCT) was authorized by Congress. It stretches 4,600 miles from upstate New Hampshire to its western terminus at Lake Sakakawea State Park.
The trail actually traversed seven states until 2019 when Vermont was added. The Vermont section is only about 70 miles long. It is open for year-round use, but it’s best to check the weather and trail conditions before using the trail.
The North Country Trail In North Dakota
In North Dakota this includes longer (backpackable) segments within the Sheyenne National Grasslands, along Lake Ashtabula, along the New Rockford Canal, within Lonetree Wildlife Management Area and along the McClusky Canal.
Shorter, (day-hike) segments may be found within the Ekre Grassland Preserve, between Colfax and Walcott, the Sheyenne State Forest, at Fort Ransom State Park, from Kathryn to Clausen Springs Recreation Area, within Valley City, at Audubon National Wildlife Refuge, and at Lake Sakakawea State Park. (Source: North Dakota National Scenic Trail)
9. Chateau De Mores State Historic Site
Coming in at #9 on our list of the best historic sites in North Dakota is the Chateau De Mores State Historic Site.
Located southwest of Medora, this site memorializes the life and activities in North Dakota of Antoine de Vallombrosa, the Marquis de Mores, who arrived in 1883.
Among his enterprises were a beef packing plant, a stagecoach line, a freighting company, refrigerated railway cars, cattle and sheep raising, land ownership, and a new town which he called Medora, in honor of his wife.
This 26-room, two-story frame building was built in 1883 as the summer residence of the Marquis’s family. The Chateau is now a historic house museum and contains many of the original furnishings and personal effects of the de Mores family.
Visits through the house are available during the summer months, and there is an admission charge. School and commercial bus tour group rates. Allow one hour for visit. (Source: State Historical Society of North Dakota)
While you’re there, two other sites worth seeing include:
- De Mores Memorial Park – Located in downtown Medora, the park has a bronze statue of the Marquis de Mores donated in 1926 by his sons. The statue is surrounded by a flagstone courtyard, the result of a 1938 WPA project.
- Packing Plant/Chimney Park – Situated on the west edge of Medora, the site once contained the plant, a slaughterhouse, three icehouses, several outbuildings, a railroad spur track, and a corral. The building burned in 1907, leaving the tall, native clay brick chimney standing. A picnic area is located next to the plant.
8. Ronald Reagan Minuteman Missile Site State Historic Site
At #8 on our list of the best historic sites in North Dakota we have the Ronald Reagan Minuteman Missile Site State Historic Site.
According to the Miller Center, Ronald Wilson Reagan was a transformational President.
His leadership and the symbiotic relationship he forged with Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev during their four summit meetings set the stage for a peaceful resolution of the Cold War.
As the Soviet Union disappeared into the mists of history, Reagan’s partisans asserted that he had “won” the Cold War. Reagan and Gorbachev more prudently declared that the entire world was a winner.
Reagan’s economic legacy is mixed. On the one hand, tax reduction and a tightening of interest rates by the Federal Reserve led to a record period of peacetime economic growth. On the other, this growth was accompanied by record growth in the national debt, the federal budget deficit, and the trade deficit.
Among a 2021 Survey of Historians commissioned by C-Span, Ronald Reagan ranked in the Top 10 finishing at the #9 spot just behind John F. Kennedy and ahead of Barack Obama.
Things To Do & See At The Ronald Reagan Minuteman Missile Site State Historic Site
The Ronald Reagan Minuteman Missile State Historic Site actually consists of two sites telling the story of the Cold War years in North Dakota. They are the Oscar-Zero Missile Alert Facility and the November-33 Launch Facility.
They are the last remnants of the 321st Missile Wing, a cluster of intercontinental ballistic missile launch sites that were spread over a 6,500-square-mile area around the Grand Forks Air Force Base.
The Oscar Zero Launch Control Center and the November-33 Missile Facilty played an integral part in the Cold War in North Dakota and the world.
This site is the last launch control center intact with the top-side of November 33 missile facility left intact.
Visitors to Oscar-Zero will be given a guided tour of topside facilities and will learn how the facility managers, security forces, maintenance teams, and cooks lived their daily lives at the MAF.
Guests may also choose to be guided down the elevator shaft to the underground Launch Control Equipment Building and Launch Control Center, where they will see firsthand the front lines of the United States’ strategy of nuclear deterrence.
They will be able to step behind the concrete blast door and witness the equipment that could have been used by the missile crews to launch nuclear missiles. (Source: State Historical Society of North Dakota)
Historic Sites In North Dakota
7. Fort Abraham Lincoln
At lucky # 7 we have Fort Abraham Lincoln.
In 2021, C-SPAN asked a group of distinguished presidential historians to rank our nation’s presidents from worst to best.
At the top of their list, with a total score of 897 points, was Abraham Lincoln. George Washington and Franklin Roosevelt came in second and third respectively.
Why is Abraham Lincoln considered the greatest president of all time? Simply put, he saved the Union.
In the process of saving the nation, Lincoln managed to define the creation of a more perfect Union in terms of liberty and economic equality that rallied the citizenry behind him.
Lincoln Transformed The Presidency
Lincoln transformed the Presidency. He remade the president’s role as commander in chief and as chief executive into a powerful new position. In the process, he imbued the office with broader powers by making it supreme over both Congress and the courts.
His detractors argued then and now that he took actions which were unconstitutional such as suspending the writ of habeas corpus.
For Lincoln, however, it made no sense “to lose the nation and yet preserve the Constitution.” No President in American history ever faced a greater crisis and, in saving the Union, no President ever accomplished as much.
If you’re interested in learning more about the life and times of America’s 16th President then I recommend: Abraham Lincoln: The Prairie Years & The War Years (Six Volume Set) by Pulitzer-prize winning author Carl Sandburg.
Things To See & Do At Fort Abraham Lincoln
Fort Abraham Lincoln State Park is the oldest state park in North Dakota. Visitors will enjoy a variety of unique adventures while learning about the park’s cultural, historical and natural influences.
While there, I recommend the following activities:
- Check out the wonderful exhibits which provide a fascinating history of the fort.
- There are six reconstructed earth lodges. Go inside one to see how the Mandan Indians lives.
- Tour the home of George Custer who actually lived on the property. You can learn about how he lived and how he died.
- Look out from a blockhouse where you’ll get a great view of the post and the surrounding countryside.
- And if you’re feeling particularly adventurous then spend the night in one of the cabins or tipis on the property.
6. Lewis & Clark National Historic Trail
At #6 on our list of the best historic sites in North Dakota is the Lewis & Clark National Historic Trail.
The Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail follows the historic outbound and inbound routes of the Lewis and Clark Expedition.
I don’t know about you, but I get goosebumps just thinking about the Corps of Discovery.
Commemorating the Lewis & Clark Expedition (1804-06), the Lewis & Clark Trail connects 16 states (Pennsylvania, Ohio, West Virginia, Kentucky, Indiana, Illinois, Missouri, Kansas, Nebraska, Iowa, South Dakota, North Dakota, Montana, Idaho, Washington and Oregon).
This trail is administered by the National Park Service. It’s not a hiking trail, but does provide opportunities for hiking, boating and horseback riding at many locations along the route.
It’s a great opportunity to see the USA while learning about the brave men (and one woman) who weren’t able to make the journey in an air-conditioned SUV.
If you’re interested in learning more about this epic expedition then I recommend: Undaunted Courage: Meriwether Lewis, Thomas Jefferson, and the Opening of the American West by Stephen Ambrose.
Top 5 Historic Sites In North Dakota
5. Fort Totten Historic Site
We’re on to the Top 5 Historic Sites in North Dakota. At #5 we have Fort Totten Historic Site.
Located on the southeastern edge of the town of Fort Totten, this site preserves a military post built in 1867 and used continuously as a military reservation until 1890 when it became a boarding school for Indian children.
The brick buildings, which replaced an earlier log fort, appear much as they did when built of locally made brick in 1868. Original buildings are now being used to house museum exhibits.
Fort Totten served American Indian policy from 1867 to 1959. Constructed as a military post, it became an Indian boarding school, Indian health care facility, and a reservation school.
Initially, the fort policed the surrounding reservation. The soldiers enforced the peace, guarded overland transportation routes, and aided Dakota (Sioux) who lived near Devils Lake after 1867.
Fort Totten was decommissioned in 1890.
The Fort Become The Property Of The Bureau Of Indian Affairs
On January 5th, 1891 the former post became the property of the Bureau of Indian Affairs. The post served as an Indian boarding school until 1935. Academic and vocational training prepared Indian youth for life off the reservation. Enrollment sometimes topped 400.
For four years (1935-1939) the site was used as Tuberculosis Preventorium run by the Federal Government. This successful program was aimed at small groups of Dakota children who had or were susceptible to Tuberculosis. They were taught basic studies as well as being treated for Tuberculosis.
When this program was shut down, the site returned to being a Community and Day School for the Reservation with gradually more input and control being given to the Tribal leaders of the Reservation.
Fort Totten became a North Dakota State Historic Site in 1960 and was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1971. (Source: State Historic Society of North Dakota)
Things To Do At Fort Totten
The primary buildings at the site have been preserved, giving visitors a realistic historical experience.
Visitors to this site can explore the 17 original buildings that once rang with the jingle of cavalry harness and the shouts of playing children.
The brick buildings, which replaced an earlier log fort, appear much as they did when built of locally made brick in 1868. Original buildings are now being used to house museum exhibits.
4. Knife River Indian Villages National Historic Site
We’re on to the final four of our best historic sites in North Dakota. At #4, we have the Knife River Indian Villages National Historic Site.
Visitors to this fascinating historic site have an incredible opportunity to explore the lives of the Northern Plains Indians on the Upper Missouri.
I recommend beginning your adventure by watching the 15 minute orientation film Maxidiwiac about the life of Buffalo Bird Woman who lived at the Knife River Indian Villages.
Buffalo Bird Woman, a Hidatsa Indian born about 1839, was an expert gardener. Following centuries-old methods, she and the women of her family raised huge crops of corn, squash, beans, and sunflowers on the rich bottomlands of the Missouri River in what is now North Dakota.
When she was young, her fields were near Like-a-fishhook, the earth-lodge village that the Hidatsa shared with the Mandan and Arikara. When she grew older, the families of the three tribes moved to individual allotments on the Fort Berthold Indian Reservation.
There’s A Wonderful Museum Too
You will also find a wonderful museum where you will learn about the history and culture of the Hidatsa people. The exhibits feature artifacts recovered from the village sites as well as decorative arts of Northern Plains Indians.
Outside visitors will see a full scale reconstructed Earthlodge, Hidatsa garden, and village sites.
And if you love a good walk along a beautiful trail (and who doesn’t) then there’s the Village Trail which is 1.3 miles. Along this trail you will see the remains of the Awatixa Xi’e Village (Lower Hidatsa Site) and Awatixa Village (Sakakawea Site).
There is a loop at the second village site that includes a walk along the Knife River. (Source: NPS)
Historic Sites In North Dakota
3. Fort Union Trading Post National Historic Site
Coming in at #3 on our list of the best historic sites in North Dakota is the Fort Union Trading Post National Historic Site.
It’s a historical reconstruction of one of the most important fur trading posts on the Upper Mississippi.
I recommend beginning your trip by watching a wonderful film about the Fort Union.
During its 39 years of existence, from 1828 to 1867, it was a center of economic and social exchange between Northern Plains Tribes and other cultures.
You come away from this film with an understanding that this was no ordinary post. It was the most important post of its time.
The film is only 9-minutes long and you can see in the Bourgeois House Visitor Center Museum‘s video kiosk during regular open hours. It’s worth it.
Fort Union’s Trade House
You have a wonderful opportunity to travel back in time with a visit to Fort Union’s Trade House. A costumed Park Ranger will explain how this place was the fort’s most important building.
I have to give these incredible Park Rangers a shout out. Not only are they friendly and helpful, but they get dressed up in these amazing costumes and go all out to make you believe they were actually there back in the day.
Trading was the name of the game back in the day. American Fur Company Traders and the fort’s tribal trade partners, the Assiniboine, Crow, Blackfeet, Plains Cree, Plains Ojibwa, Mandan, Hidatsa, Arikara, Lakota, and others, all entered this space for one purpose, the act of trade.
So it was more than just a store on the Upper Missouri River.
The Trade House was where diplomatic negotiations transpired, families reconnected, stories were shared, and feasts were held. It was truly a happening place.
There’s A Wonderful Bookstore & Gift Shop Too
So many books, so little time. I enjoy researching and writing articles for the Pattiz Brothers who happen to be my sons. And the best part of all is that they pay me in books! It works for them and it works for me too.
The only one it doesn’t work for is my wife who tells me that we’re running out of bookshelves, but I digress . . .
Nevertheless, if you love a good book or gift then check out their wonderful bookstore and gift shop.
2. North Dakota Heritage Center & State Museum
In the runner-up position is the North Dakota Heritage Center & State Museum.
It’s North Dakota’s largest museum. It features four museum galleries tracing the state’s rich history from its earliest geologic formation 600 million years ago to today.
Visitors to this site will experience the beautiful museum spaces showcasing the people, landscape, and current and future development of North Dakota.
There are some fascinating exhibits which tell the stories of North Dakota from its earliest geologic formation to contemporary times.
There are also three permanent galleries which are arranged chronologically, with tracks and prints in the floor and iconic objects in the hallway providing cues to time periods.
The #1 Historic Site In North Dakota
1. Theodore Roosevelt National Park
Drumroll please. Our #1 historic site in North Dakota is Theodore Roosevelt National Park.
This national park celebrates the man whom many regard to be our nation’s greatest conservation president.
Encompassing over 70,000 acres, the park boasts an stunning array of breathtaking badlands, snaking rivers, diverse wildlife including our national mammal, and colorful canyons.
This is a land teeming with rugged beauty, massive mammals, and epic overlooks.
Things to Know Before You Visit
Entrance Fees: You can expect $30 per vehicle but if you plan on visiting more than one park this year we suggest you go ahead and purchase the America the Beautiful Pass (which can be found at the entrance gates to most national parks). This pass gets you into all National Parks, Forests, Monuments, and more including 2,000 sites for free after a one time $79 fee.
Leave No Trace: At More Than Just Parks we’re big fans of Leave No Trace, here at MTJP. Want to learn more? Read about the seven principals of Leave No Trace here.
Dogs are not allowed on trails in most national parks due to their potentially disruptive presence with the natural ecosystem. The basic rule is they are allowed where cars can go so be sure to check the rules before bringing along your furry friend.
- Location: Medora, North Dakota
- Established: November 10, 1978
- Size: 70,446 acres
- Native Lands: Arikara, Blackfeet, Chippewa, Cree, Crow, Gros Ventre, Hidatsa, Mandan, Rocky Boy, Sioux
- Visitors: 749,389 (in 2018)
- Entrance Fees: $30 per vehicle; $70 annual pass (or $80 for America the Beautiful Pass)
According to the National Park Service the area of land which now comprises the park was once a swampy wetland full of cypress like trees, fish, and reptiles (about 65 million years ago).
Eventually ash from volcanic eruptions filled the swamps with sediment that was compacted over millions of years into different colored rock layers (I wonder what color our time will be…) and buried.
An ice age came and formed massive glaciers over much of North America. When the glaciers began to melt away the Little Missouri River was formed. As the river began eroding away the softest sediment it left behind amazing formations revealing millions of years of geological history.
This set the stage for the earliest known human inhabitants of the area – Native Americans.
Native Peoples in the Badlands
According to the National Parks Conservation Association, the Hidatsa and Mandan tribes used the lands within the park as bison hunting and eagle trapping grounds. The Arikara, Blackfeet, Chippewa, Cree, Crow, Gros Ventre, Rocky Boy, & Sioux tribes are also associated with these lands.
The Lakota referred to the now park area as “mako sica” (mah-koh see-kah) which was translated by Europeans as “badlands.”
Theodore Roosevelt In The Badlands
In 1883, at the age of 24, young Theodore Roosevelt was lured in to the Badlands by an acquaintance promoting the area as prime ranch lands.
Excited about the prospects for an open-range cattle industry, he invested in a ranch along the Little Missouri River near Medora before returning to New York.
His aim then was to kill a bison before there were no more left on the continent and to get a taste of the real American west.
Upon arriving he was quickly mesmerized by the otherworldly landscapes and natural beauty of the area. The clean air was also a great remedy for his chronic asthma.
The Maltese Cross Cabin
After spending a few weeks in the area hunting (and killing his first bison) he decided to purchase the Chimney Butte Ranch for $14,000.
As the ranch’s official brand, the Maltese Cross was the name that the cabin Roosevelt had built on the property as a temporary home.
The cabin can still be toured today (after taking a trip to St. Louis for the world fair & Portland, Oregon for the Lewis and Clark Centennial Exposition).
The Elkhorn Ranch
After the unexpected and tragic deaths of his wife and mother on the same day, a devastated Roosevelt returned to North Dakota in 1884 to make ranching his full-time business.
He found a ranching boom in progress in the Little Missouri River Valley. Encouraged by the success of his Maltese Cross Ranch, he purchased 1,000 head of cattle and selected a site for a second ranch. He purchased the rights for a second ranch for $400 and named it Elkhorn.
Elkhorn Ranch, about 35 miles north of Medora, became headquarters for Roosevelt’s cattle operations. Completed by the spring of 1885, the 30’ by 60’ Elkhorn Ranch house was one of the finest in the Badlands, with eight rooms and a porch on the east elevation.
This ranch, which he referred to as his “home ranch”, was where he based his cattle operations.
Roosevelt’s ranching business reached a peak in 1885 and 1886, but disaster struck during the winter of 1886 and 1887. More cattle already were grazing on the open range than it could support by the fall of 1886.
Winter brought heavy snows, partial thawing, and subzero temperatures that created a crust over the snow that the cattle could not break through.
When Roosevelt returned in the spring of 1887, he learned that he had lost over half his herd. By the early 1890s, he had abandoned his Elkhorn Ranch and returned to the Maltese Cross Ranch. He came back periodically to the area until 1898, but felt that open-range ranching in Dakota Territory was “doomed, and can hardly outlast the century.”
He sold the last of his stock in 1898. Roosevelt lost much of his fortune in the Badlands but never regretted the time he spent there.
The Winning Of The West
Defeated politically and running out of money after a ranch deal gone bad, Theodore Roosevelt began writing his epic history of the conquest of the American West in 1888.
He wove a sweeping drama, well documented and filled to the brim with Americans fighting Indian confederacies in the north and south while dealing with the machinations of the British, French, and Spanish and their sympathizers.
Roosevelt Returned To Medora In 1903
President Theodore Roosevelt embarked on a nine and a half week journey across the North American continent in April of 1903. The Pennsylvania Railroad Company provided a special six-car train, decorated and equipped for a 14,000 mile cross-country journey.
Roosevelt’s final stop on his cross-country tour was in Medora, North Dakota. Practically the entire population of the Badlands turned out to greet him.
Arriving after dark, Roosevelt later recalled that “the entire population of the Badlands down to the smallest baby had gathered to meet me… They all felt I was their man, their old friend; and even if they had been hostile to me in the old days when we were divided by the sinister bickering and jealousies and hatreds of all frontier communities, they now firmly believed they had always been my staunch friends and admirers.”
Roosevelt continued, “I shook hands with them all and…I only regretted that I could not spend three hours with them.” (Source: Mandan Historical Society)
Creation Of The Park
Shortly after Roosevelt’s death in 1919 the search for a memorial location commenced and Medora was selected. An early plan called for a massive 1.2 million acre park but local ranchers complained that the land was too valuable for grazing.
In the 1930s the land dried up due to poor grazing & agricultural practices and with it came the great depression forcing ranchers to sell their land to the government on the cheap.
Little Missouri National Grasslands was established with some of those lands earmarked for a park. The CCC broke ground on what was to become two state park sites in 1934 but work stopped in 1941 with the advent of World War II.
In 1946, after congress voted down inclusion of the lands into the national park system due to not possessing the qualities befitting a national park, the land was transferred U.S. Fish & Wildlife and Theodore Roosevelt National Wildlife Refuge was created.
During the Truman administration the refuge was turned into a National Memorial Park.
Finally, on November 10, 1978 President Jimmy Carter signed into law the creation of this amazing national park.
Things to Do
1. See America’s National Mammal, The Bison:
The park’s most popular resident happens to be our national mammal, the Bison. Seeing one of these majestic creatures in person is truly a sight to behold.
The bison is the largest mammal in North America. Their common name (buffalo) comes from the French who called them “les boeufs” (which means oxen) and over time that being changed to buffalo.
These majestic animals are visible in both the North and South Units of the park. In the South Unit they can typically be spotted shortly after crossing the interstate bridge into the park upon descending into the first canyon, among other places.
In the North Unit, they can typically be spotted immediately after entering the park.
2. See a sunset from River Bend Overlook
Perhaps the best place in the park to see the sunset is River Bend Overlook. Located in the North Unit, this vista offers epic, panoramic views of the Little Missouri River and surrounding badlands.
It’s also a very short walk from the parking lot down to the viewing pavilion.
CAUTION: During our visit I sat and watched the sunset from the grassy hill featured in the foreground. Upon the 10 step walk back to the trail featured in the photo above I encountered a prairie rattlesnake.
I never would have seen it were it not for the tell-tale rattle noise which I found to be reassuringly loud.
3. See a sunrise from Oxbow Overlook
The best place to watch a sunrise in the park is Oxbow Overlook. This spot features breathtaking panoramic views of the Little Missouri River Valley that will wow at anytime during the day.
From the overlook there are several trail opportunities including the popular Achenbach Trail. If you look closely into the canyon below you can often spot bison grazing.
Oxbow Overlook is located in the North Unit of the park at the very end of the main park road.
4. Discover the Ancient Petrified Forest Trail
My favorite hike (and easily one of the highlights of the entire trip) was the Petrified Forest Trail. I almost didn’t hike this trail as I had not read much about it anywhere but had some extra time left on my last day in the park. Boy was I glad I did!
- Length: Depends (1.5 miles each way to either of the petrified forests OR can do 10 mile loop)
- Time: 2-10 hours depending on how long you linger
- Elevation: Maybe 200ft
According to the National Park Service, the park has the third highest concentration of petrified wood in the United States. Who knew!
To get to the trailhead you actually have to leave the South Unit of the park and drive down the interstate one stop to West River Rd. Signs (or google maps) will eventually lead you to the trailhead from there.
We opted for the North Trail as we were told by another hiker that had done both that it was far superior – we were not disappointed.
Now I’ve been to Petrified Forest National Park, and absolutely loved it, but the Petrified Forest in this amazing park blows the one in Arizona out of the water. The stumps of trees are absolutely massive – some of them more than 6 feet tall and larger!
5. Admire the Wild Horses
One of the most sought after animal sightings in the park is that of the non-native wild horses that exist in the park today. We saw horses (and lots of them) every day that we were in the park.
If you’re determined to see these animals in the wild, the South Unit is your best bet. We saw them most often near the Coal Vein Trail. Keep your eyes peeled on the tops of hills and you’re likely to see some.
Map Of Historic Sites In North Dakota
List Of Historic Sites In North Dakota
- Theodore Roosevelt National Park
- North Dakota Heritage Center & State Museum
- Fort Union Trading Post National Historic Site
- Knife River Indian Villages National Historic Site
- Fort Totten Historic Site
- Lewis & Clark National Historic Trail
- Fort Abraham Lincoln
- Ronald Reagan Minuteman Missile Site State Historic Site
- Chateau De Mores State Historic Site
- North Country National Scenic Trail
About The People Behind More Than Just Parks
You should probably know that we don’t just make this stuff up out of thin air. My sons have spent their entire adult lives exploring and filming America’s national parks and public lands.
As for me, I’m a retired lifelong educator and a proud dad of these two wonderful guys who are hopelessly obsessed with the national parks. I taught history for over a quarter of a century. Now I enjoy researching and writing articles for More Than Just Parks. I’m always on the hunt for topics where nature and history intersect so please feel free to share any ideas that you might have with me.
We’ve worked with the National Park Service, the Department of Interior, and the U.S. Forest Service for years creating films on important places and issues. Our work has been featured in leading publications all over the world and even some people outside of our immediate family call us experts on the national parks.
Meet The Parks Brothers
We’re Jim Pattiz and Will Pattiz, collectively known as the Pattiz Brothers (and sometimes the Parks Brothers) and we absolutely LOVE the national parks.
Our goal here at More Than Just Parks is to share the beauty of America’s national parks and public lands through stunning short films in an effort to get Americans and the world to see the true value in land conservation.
We hope you’ll follow our journey through the parks and help us to keep them the incredible places that they are. If you’re interested in joining the adventure then please sign up below!