Little Missouri River: Stamp design for Theodore Roosevelt National Park

Little Missouri River: Stamp design for Theodore Roosevelt National Park

A photograph of the Little Missouri River winding through Theodore Roosevelt National Park was previewed today as the 15th of 16 Forever Stamp images to be revealed over a three-week period to celebrate the National Park Service’s 100th anniversary.

The photograph was taken in July 2013 by Q.T. Luong of San Jose, CA, who captured the image in the North Unit of Theodore Roosevelt National Park in the course of his 20-year project to photograph 59 national parks.

Theodore Roosevelt National Park, ND

According to the National Park Service, when Theodore Roosevelt came to Dakota Territory to hunt bison in 1883, he was a “skinny, young, spectacled New Yorker.” He could not have imagined how his adventure in this remote and unfamiliar place would forever alter the course of the nation. The rugged landscape and strenuous life he experienced here would help shape a conservation policy that we still benefit from today.

Theodore Roosevelt National Park contains several sites of historical significance, each relating to the era of cattle ranching in the late 1800s. Most significant is Theodore Roosevelt’s Elkhorn Ranch Site, the main ranch site where he spent the bulk of his time and where many of his conservation ideas grew. Roosevelt’s first ranch home, the Maltease Cross Cabin, is open for viewing at the South Unit Visitor Center.

The Long X Trail was used as a corridor to move cattle into the Northern Great Plains in the 1800s, and it passes through the North Unit of the park. Peaceful Valley Ranch was built in the 1880s and served as a dude ranch from 1918 to the 1930s. The ranch and its owners assisted in the establishment of Theodore Roosevelt National Park. Visitors can still ride horses at Peaceful Valley by taking part in a trail ride with the park’s concessionaire. Visit this link for more information.

The Backstory of Luong’s Photograph

Luong was interested in the park’s rugged character and vegetation that set it apart from South Dakota’s Badlands National Park.

“The light of the late afternoon gleaming on the river appeared as a bright ribbon in the landscape,” recounted Luong, who used a telephoto lens to emphasize the section of the river with the reflection.

Luong noted that the park includes three units: the South Unit and the far lesser visited North Unit and Elkhorn Ranch Site.

“The Little Missouri River provides a link between them, reminding me of the fond memories I cherish from the time I spent there.”

Born in Paris, France, Luong trained as a computer scientist. When he came to the United States for what was intended to be a short academic stay, he chose the University of California at Berkeley because of its proximity to Yosemite and his passion for rock-climbing — where he scaled El Capitan several times.

“Upon visiting Yosemite for the first time in 1993, it was love at first sight and it marked the start of my 20-year affair with the national parks. I decided to photograph all of them with a 5 by 7 large format camera, a single-handed, self-financed, monumental project which, as far as I know, had not been completed by anyone before.”

Luong settled in the San Francisco Bay area and started crisscrossing the nation to capture its diverse beauty. By 2002, he had visited 58 national parks. He subsequently left his scientific career to pursue his calling of working as a full-time photographer. In 2009, Ken Burns and Dayton Duncan featured him in the film “The National Parks: America’s Best Idea.”

Other National Park Forever Stamps previewed to date include Acadia National Park, Arches National Park, Assateague Island National Seashore, Bandelier National Monument, Carlsbad Caverns National Park , Everglades National Park, Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve, Grand Canyon National Park, Gulf Islands National Seashore, Haleakalā National Park, Kenilworth Park & Aquatic Gardens, Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historical Park, Mount Rainier National Park and San Francisco Maritime National Historic Park.

The June 2 first-day-of-issue ceremony for the National Parks Forever Stamps pane will take place at New York City’s Javits Center at 11 a.m. as part of World Stamp Show-NY 2016. Dedication ceremonies will also take place at or near each of the National Parks depicted on the stamps. Individuals are asked to spread the news on social media by using the hashtags #NPSStamps, #FindYourPark or #NPS100.

World Stamp Show-NY 2016 will take place May 28–June 4. Held only once a decade, this mega event is not to be missed by beginners or advanced stamp collectors. There will be something for everyone there, no matter what you collect. Stamp collecting is a hobby for a lifetime. No matter what your specialty, you’ll find it at the show.

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