To the editor,
The Herald recently published articles regarding Sullys Hill National Game Preserve near Devils Lake. One article described efforts to change the name, the other described its resources and some elements of its complex and interesting history.
The original 780 acres were reserved as a small park by Theodore Roosevelt when some lands formerly comprising the Devils Lake Indian Reservation (now Spirit Lake) were removed from the federal land rolls in 1904. As others have suggested, the article stated, “It’s likely Roosevelt was interested in ensuring his adopted state of North Dakota was getting its share of the growing national park pie.”
While Roosevelt was indeed fond of North Dakota, there may be other reasons he paid attention to the area. One of North Dakota’s senators at the time was Henry C. Hansborough of Devils Lake. Hansborough, like Roosevelt, was a Republican, and was a key member of the Senate Public Lands Committee. It’s not a stretch to imagine that Hansborough was an important influence in the creation of the small park in North Dakota.
The neglected property was transferred to the USDA’s Biological Survey in 1931 and eventually became the national wildlife refuge we know today.