Friends of the Elkhorn Ranch: 

A Successful Capital Campaign

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The Elkhorn Ranchlands of North Dakota are known as The Cradle of Conservation. Here Theodore Roosevelt developed his views on the importance of conservation to the nation.

President Roosevelt's conservation legacy includes the national designation of lands known today as National Forests, National Parks, National Wildlife Refuges and National Monuments.

As President, Theodore Roosevelt permanently protected 230 million acres for public benefit. That's an average of 84,000 acres for each day he served in office.

Learn more about how Roosevelt's conservation legacy drew the conservation community together in 2007 with one goal: to preserve the viewshed of Roosevelt's Elkhorn Ranch.

The Elkhorn Ranch site is administered by the National Park Service as a unit of Theodore Roosevelt National Park. The viewshed of the Elkhorn Ranch is administered by the USDA Forest Service as part of the Dakota Prairie Grassland.

Discussion Questions:

1. The Friends of the Elkhorn Ranch underscored the urgency of their fundraising effort: 60 days and counting or it's sold on the open market. 

  • How would you describe the urgency of your work in community collaboration and/or partnership?


2. The Friends of the Elkhorn Ranch attracted broad support from public agencies, nonprofits, foundations, corporations, universities and individuals. 

  • What three statements might you make about your work in community collaboration and/or partnership to attract broad support?


3. The Friends of the Elkhorn Ranch were led by conservation leaders representing public agencies (current and retired) and nonprofits. 

  • How would you characterize the leaders of your work in community collaboration and/or partnership? How would you characterize the target audiences of these leaders, when they serve in the role of spokesperson?


4. The Friends of the Elkhorn Ranch recognized partners and philanthropic donors with an on-site tour, off-site public event, private dinner and media campaign. 

  • How and why do you recognize partners and philanthropic partners?


5. Between 2000 and 2007, the acquisition of the Elkhorn viewshed was vigorously opposed by the area grazing association, the state legislature, the oil and gas industry, sportsmen organizations and community residents. Addressing the concerns of each stakeholder group led to the successful acquisition. 

  • What concerns are raised by stakeholders in your work and what strategies are being used to address these issues?

Liz Madison

Senior Fellow
Partnership and Community Collaboration Academy


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