Unheralded

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — The Bridge Stays

Well, Wylie Bice gets to keep his bridge. And he won’t be going to the pokey. If you’ve got enough money out there in the oil patch, you can get away with pretty much anything. If you’ve been following this story, you know that Bice is the guy who put a big concrete bridge over the Little Missouri State Scenic …


Unheralded

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — A Thousand Trucks A Day Moves One Step Closer To Reality Today

Sometime today, Thursday, June 13, 2019, I expect to receive some of the worst news I’ve had in many years. I expect to receive an e-mail from a friendly fellow at the North Dakota Department of Transportation who’s just doing his job, who means no ill will, who doesn’t want to be the bearer of what I will receive as …


JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — The Comments Are In: What Should We Do About The Bice Bridge?

There’s this fellow who works in the Montana office of the Bureau of Land Management named Seth Jackson who’s as good at his job as anyone I’ve ever known who works for the U.S. government. I haven’t met him, but I’ve e-mailed back and forth with him at least a dozen times, And I always get the information I need …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — The Worst Threat To The Little Missouri State Scenic River EVER!

An interesting little item buried on Page 4 of a long April 30 North Dakota Industrial Commission meeting agenda read: “Overview of Oil and Gas Development in western North Dakota along the Little Missouri River.” (approx. 3:30 pm) Piqued my curiosity, so I went. What I learned is that I should have been paying more attention to some things my …

LILLIAN CROOK: WildDakotaWoman — Wild Badlands Weekend

It has been a long and tiring winter and spring has been slow to arrive. We both have been ailing. Jim slipped on the ice and fractured three ribs and I’ve been struggling with Lyme disease since our February Channel Islands National Park adventure. Thus, it was that we were both delighted to be able to pack up the car …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — Looks Like The Illegal Bridge Is Going To Stay (If You’ve Got Enough Money, You Can Get Away With Most Anything)

It seems like the threats to our Bad Lands never cease. Let’s go back and revisit Wylie Bice. He’s the rogue rich rancher up in Dunn County, on the eastern edge of the Bad Lands, who’s built himself a private bridge on public land, without permission, over the Little Missouri State Scenic River. Now it appears he is going to …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — If You’re Going To Talk Like Teddy Roosevelt, You Better Act Like Teddy Roosevelt

I’ve listened to a few State of the State speeches by North Dakota governors — probably somewhere between 15 and 20 — and even had a hand in writing a few of them, so I think I’m qualified to offer a few comments on the one Doug Burgum gave Thursday to the North Dakota Legislature. As they go, his was …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — North Dakota Has Its Own Version Of The Beverly Hillbillies

Here’s an update on the strangest, and most fascinating, story I’ve written in all the years I’ve been writing on this blog. This story appears in the current — January 2019 — issue of Dakota Country magazine, where it reaches a hell of a lot more readers than I have on this blog. But for faithful Prairie Blog readers, welcome …

LILLIAN CROOK: WildDakotaWoman — ‘If You Know Wilderness In The Way That You Know Love … ‘: Two Retreats To The North Unit

It has been my great fortune to have made two retreats to the North Unit of Theodore Roosevelt National Park these past few weeks, a place in the Bad Lands that is very dear to my heart.  The North Unit is the heart of wildness in North Dakota and is, right now, awash in autumn glory. My first outing was …

LILLIAN CROOK: WildDakotaWoman — Our Comment Letter On The Proposed Little Missouri River Bridge

Jim has written about the proposed new bridge over the Little Missouri State Scenic River north of Medora, N.D., that is being shoved down our throats by a megalomaniac county commissioner who wants to spend up to $20 million of our gas tax dollars on a “Bridge to Nowhere.” At the insistence of the Federal Highway Administration, the county is deep …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — Comment Now On The ‘Bridge To Nowhere’

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote here about the proposed new bridge over the Little Missouri State Scenic River north of Medora, N.D., that is being shoved down our throats by a megalomaniac county commissioner who wants to spend up to $20 million of our gas tax dollars on a “Bridge to Nowhere.” At the insistence of the Federal …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — The Halcyon Days Are Gone

In the halcyon days of the 1970s in North Dakota, when the state was a quieter, kinder, friendlier, more thoughtful place, the Legislature passed a bill, and the governor signed it, designating the Little Missouri River as our state’s only official State Scenic River and creating a commission to look out for it. The Little Missouri Scenic River Commission did …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — ‘Honest, Officer, I Thought Owned That Land.’ Wrong

If you read The Bismarck Tribune on Tuesday morning, you read Amy Dalrymple’s pretty good story about Monday’s marathon Little Missouri Scenic River Commission meeting.  I’m going to write more about that later. I’ll just say, for now, be careful what you wish for. What I want to write about today is one of the things the commission discussed Monday …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — Of Refineries And Bridges

There is news this week on several fronts involving threats to the North Dakota Bad Lands. There are some long documents to read. Here’s a summary. More when I get done reading them. THAT DAMN REFINERY First, Meridian Energy’s proposed oil refinery near Theodore Roosevelt National Park. You probably read that the Dakota Resource Council and its legal ally, the …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — Gov. Burgum Needs To Take Responsibility For His Actions

I don’t think North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum has a disingenuous bone in his body. But sometimes political naivete can make someone appear disingenuous (actually, my definition of disingenuous is “fake naivete”). There’s still a bit of naivete in Burgum. The transition from the business world to government is not an easy one. He’s still learning, although he’s a pretty …

LILLIAN CROOK: WildDakotaWoman — Long X Bridge: Hold Public Meetings In Central North Dakota

Jim and I maintain a lifelong love affair with the Little Missouri River. It is one of the things that most deeply bond us together. We know every mile of this river intimately. What follows is my letter of last week to North Dakota Department of Transportation regarding the Long X Bridge project. The bridge is near to the North …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — Conflicts Of Interest Could Plague Scenic River Commission

The North Dakota Legislature approved, and Gov. Doug  Burgum signed, legislation last May authorizing the use of water from the Little Missouri State Scenic River for fracking oil wells. Now our state engineer, Garland Erbele, has issued industrial water permits authorizing more than 2.1 billion (that’s 2,142,000,000)  gallons of water to be taken from the river. So far. The withdrawals …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — The Newest Bridge Across The Little Missouri State Scenic River. What The …?

For the past 50 years or so, there have been just five places where you can drive your car across a bridge over the Little Missouri State Scenic River: in Marmarth on U.S. Highway 12, on Pacific Avenue in the city of Medora, on Interstate 94 just north of Medora (two bridges, one going each way), on U.S. Highway 85 south of …

LILLIAN CROOK: WildDakotaWoman — River Of My Heart

Poor little river of my heart, my Little Missouri River. In this year of drought, you are sadly diminished. Monday night’s storm was mostly lightning and thunder and just a trace of rain. This morning dawned another scorching day. Prairie fires continue in western North Dakota. The bison and horses and birds continue their wild lives here at Theodore Roosevelt National Park. …

LILLIAN CROOK: WildDakotaWoman — Burning Coal Vein And Other Little Missouri National Grasslands Environs

We spent the weekend in the Little Missouri National Grasslands, camping in Slope County, at the Burning Coal Vein U.S. Forest Service campground, attending the Badlands Conservation Alliance outing, gathering with old friends and making new friends. While Saturday was cool and windy, Sunday was a perfect 75 degrees and sunny. We also got a brief, but enjoyable, visit with …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — Who’s Looking Out For The Little Missouri State Scenic River — Redux

I’ve given some more thought to the issue of Little Missouri River water permits since I last wrote about it May 3. I reported then that Gov. Doug  Burgum had signed into law an amendment to the Little Missouri State Scenic River Act, making industrial use of Little Missouri water legal for the first time since the act was passed …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — No Veto, But No More Industrial Permits, Either — At Least For A While; A Partial Victory For The Little Missouri River

North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum may not have been in politics very long, but he has learned the No. 1 rule already: Politics is the art of compromise. To that end, the governor DID NOT veto the section of North Dakota House Bill 1020, which now that it is law, legalizes the issuance of industrial water permits from the Little Missouri …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — An Open Letter To Governor Doug Burgum, On The Occasion Of The Greatest Threat Ever To The Little Missouri State Scenic River

Dear Gov. Burgum, Let me quote from the conservation easement you signed for some ranchland you and your friends own in southwest North Dakota’s Bad Lands six years ago: “The Protected Property possesses agricultural, scenic, and historic, and cultural values. The Protected Property is located in the heart of the only Ponderosa pine forest in North Dakota, south of Teddy …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — Act Today To Protect The Little Missouri State Scenic River

There are two or three days left in the legislative session. A lot of bad things are going to happen to North Dakota in that short period of time. I’ve been watching every legislative session since 1975, and this one is by far the most irresponsible I’ve seen. One of the worst things that could happen this week is the industrialization …

LILLIAN CROOK: WildDakotaWoman — Native American Art & Crafts At Red Oak House

Because I promised my friend Marilyn I would share with her the photos of my Navajo rugs, I’m writing this blog. It’s just easier. I must confess that I feel a little like it is bragging, but, if nothing else, it is documentation for my loved ones. My husband Jim and I have a lifetime’s worth of Native American art …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — State Agency Breaks The Law 600 Times; How Much Jail Time Do You Get For That?

The North Dakota State Water Commission has violated state law more than 600 times in recent years, by issuing permits for industrial use of water (read: fracking oil wells) from the Little Missouri State Scenic River. Employees there claim they didn’t know they weren’t supposed to do that. I believe them. But that’s no excuse. More on that in a …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — So, Who’s Going To Pay For The New Bridge Over The Little Missouri River?

I need to clarify a few things and bring you up to date on the ongoing saga of the proposed new bridge across the Little Missouri River north of Medora, N.D. The bridge is a project — if completed — could be an environmental disaster for the North Dakota Bad Lands. That’s why I keep writing about it. To review, …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — New Little Missouri Bridge Site Selected — And No One’s Going To Be Happy

The engineering firm drafting the Environmental Impact Statement for Billings County’s request to put a new bridge across the Little Missouri River north of Medora, N.D., has determined the best place to put the bridge is just 17 miles north of Medora, about a third of the way — as the crow flies — between the two current bridges near …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — Camping At The Elkhorn, Part 2

I’ve spent a lot of nights sleeping within spitting distance of the Little Missouri River. God willing, I’ll spend a lot more. I’m pretty sure I’ve slept there in every month on the calendar. Some nights — and some months — were better than others. I’ve slept there alone, I’ve slept there with canoeing buddies, I’ve slept there with wives,  …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — Turns Out Nobody’s Looking Out For The Little Missouri

A couple of weeks ago, I posted an article here about the Little Missouri State Scenic River Commission and how important it had been to protecting the integrity of North Dakota’s only “State Scenic River” during our first oil boom in the 1970s and ’80s. If you missed it, you can go here to catch up. Well, we’ve had another boom …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — Who’s Looking Out For The Little Missouri?

I love the Little Missouri River. It is one of the longest, free-flowing rivers in America. In reality, I believe it IS the longest because the Yellowstone, which claims the honor, is full of low-head dams that create little pools and eddies all along its length, even though they don’t create giant reservoirs like the Big Missouri’s dams do. The …