Friday, September 27, 2019 - 09:29 am

Gov. Doug Burgum will welcome U.S. Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt to North Dakota on Thursday, Oct. 3, to tour the Medora area and discuss efforts to establish a Theodore Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum and address deferred maintenance in Theodore Roosevelt National Park, the state’s top tourist attraction.

“As the Cabinet leader who oversees the National Park Service, Secretary Bernhardt is a key partner in the Theodore Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum, and we deeply appreciate him visiting Medora to learn how this world-class tourist attraction and upgrades to the national park can be mutually beneficial,” Burgum said.

Burgum will join Bernhardt, U.S. Sen. John Hoeven and others on Thursday’s tour of the Medora area. A media availability will be held Thursday morning in Bismarck, before departing for Medora. Sen. Kevin Cramer also will host Bernhardt for a roundtable discussion with landowners on Wednesday in Hope.

Since President Trump announced in early February that he was nominating Bernhardt to lead the Interior Department, Burgum has engaged him in discussions about the library to lay the groundwork for future collaboration on the project. During a phone call with the governor in February, Bernhardt said the library “could be a fantastic project for the state,” and he reaffirmed his support for the project during a meeting with Burgum during the Western Governors’ Association’s annual meeting in June. National Park Foundation CEO Will Shafroth also has voiced his support for the project as Burgum has hosted him multiple times in North Dakota since January.

In April, the state Legislature approved, and Burgum signed, legislation authorizing the creation of a $50 million endowment for the Theodore Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum if $100 million in private donations is first raised for its construction. The $50 million endowment will always be held by the state Department of Trust Lands, and only the earnings from the endowment will be used for library operations and maintenance.