Unheralded

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 …


Unheralded

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — A Refinery Moves One Step Closer To Our National Park, But It’s Not Too Late To Stop It

There are two ways to look at the recommendation of Administrative Law Judge Patrick Ward on Tuesday that the North Dakota Public Service Commission dismiss the complaint against that (expletive deleted) Meridian Energy for failing to get a site review from the PSC for its proposed refinery near Theodore Roosevelt National Park. First, If you believe that two or maybe …


JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — Conservation Groups To Refinery: ‘Cease And Desist!’

Lest we let the threat of an oil refinery beside Theodore Roosevelt National Park slip from our minds as we go about our busy fall lives, here’s an update on where things stand right now. Meridian Energy has started dirt work at the site beside Interstate 94 on the road into the park, flouting the attempt by conservation groups to …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — ‘A Bridge To Nowhere’

Well, after nearly a dozen years of delay, it looks like Billings County is finally going to build a bridge over the Little Missouri State Scenic River north of Medora, N.D. The county posted a notice in the Federal Register on Oct. 12, 2006, that it was beginning an Environmental Impact Statement process “for a proposed roadway project and river …

LILLIAN CROOK: WildDakotaWoman — Dispatches From Theodore Roosevelt National Park

We slipped away from domestic chores this week for an interlude in Theodore Roosevelt National Park (South Unit) along with a night in the charming village of Medora, N.D., where we were treated to two very pleasant days, warm and sunny, with a gentle breeze. We took a hike on the Jones Creek trail and two drives through the Park …

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 — Who Wants To Invest In A Refinery? Here’s How You Can Do It

I wrote here a couple of weeks go about the beginning of Theodore Roosevelt National Park, created by Congress in 1947, and about the proposed oil refinery that threatens it, a refinery that has now been issued a permit by the state of North Dakota to build the dang thing. It’s been 70 years since Congress declared that this place …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — ‘I So Declare It!’

My day started out OK this morning. My pillbox told me it was Thursday — it’s always nice to know what day of the week it is right away in the morning. I had a pretty good bowel movement — for you young readers, that‘s pretty important for someone my age. I got my belt through every belt loop but …

LILLIAN CROOK: WildDakotaWoman — Walk On The Wild Side — In The Bad Lands

While life at Red Oak House here on Missouri River is filled with many blessings and much happiness, as frequently as possible we refresh our spirits with visits to the Bad Lands of North Dakota, which we did early this week, joined by our daughter, Chelsea, and Paul and Joe, our friends from Arizona. We met on the veranda of …

LILLIAN CROOK: WildDakotaWoman — Rollin’ Up Our Sleeves

It is the tradition for members of the Badlands Conservation Alliance to do a day of service, usually in Theodore Roosevelt National Park, on the weekend closest to Earth Day. On this past Saturday, we did just that, rollin’ up our sleeves for Theodore Roosevelt National Park, in the heart of the Bad Lands, our sacred landscape. I’ve been involved …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie —A Short Message About Our National Park

This might be the shortest blog post I’ve ever written. Or will ever write. But it’s an important one, so if you are concerned about the possibility of an oil refinery being built next to Theodore Roosevelt National Park as I am, please take just one minute to read it. I had a chance encounter with Gov. Doug Burgum this …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — Of Refineries And The Public Trust Doctrine

The official comment period has passed on that sleazy company Meridian Energy’s request for an Air Pollution Permit for an oil refinery beside Theodore Roosevelt National Park. I’m guessing the State Health Department got an earful. Friday, on the last day of comments, my friend,Sarah Vogel, our former state agriculture commissioner and one of the state’s best attorneys, sent me …

LILLIAN CROOK: WildDakotaWoman — Mother-Daughter Date To Theodore Roosevelt National Park

My daughter and I had a Theodore Roosevelt National Park getaway Thursday. She hadn’t been out there since Labor Day, and she described the day as “rejuvenating.” She loves the Bad Lands as much as I, and she is particularly in love with the wild horses that inhabit the South Unit of TRNP. She is a photographer and a member …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — The Refinery Needs A Site Review

A pair of former Democratic-NPL state senators challenged the North Dakota Health Department to demand a site review by the State’s Public Service Commission before issuing an air pollution permit allowing Meridian Energy Group to build a refinery three miles from Theodore Roosevelt National Park at a marathon public hearing by the Department Wednesday night. Former Sen. Connie Triplett of …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — We’ll See You In Court

At the end of the meeting between Meridian Energy Group executives and the North Dakota Public Service Commission a couple of weeks ago, Commission President Randy Christmann pretty much told William Prentice, Meridian CEO and the man who wants to build an oil refinery next to Theodore Roosevelt National Park, that the next time they meet will probably be in …

LILLIAN CROOK: WildDakotaWoman — Fort Keogh Trail

Another important historic trail in North Dakota that has been on my mind this past year is the Fort Keogh Trail. This trail passed nearby to where I grew up in Slope County. As shown on the map above, it ran from Fort Abraham Lincoln (near present-day Mandan, N.D.) to Fort Keogh, west of Miles City, Mont. Completed during the …

LILLIAN CROOK: WildDakotaWoman — ‘The Hour of Land’

“The Hour of Land: a Personal Topography of America’s National Parks,” Terry Tempest Williams (Sarah Crichton Book, 2016). The National Park Service observed its centennial in 2016. During this year, writer Terry Tempest Williams published “The Hour of Land,” her personal journey and meditation on the national parks, essays written as she traveled the country visiting some of the iconic sites …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — Refinery Near National Park Gets Preliminary OK

Tuesday’s announcement by the North Dakota Department of Health that it is preparing to issue an Air Quality Permit to Meridian Energy to build the Davis Oil Refinery three miles from Theodore Roosevelt National Park should come as no surprise. Once again, the state of North Dakota rolls over to the energy industry, but this time it’s threatening more than …

LILLIAN CROOK: WildDakotaWoman — Theodore Roosevelt: The Naturalist In The Arena TR Symposium 2017

As I sit down to write this, I’m listening to thunder and hoping that regular rain will return to the northern Plains. Today I’m reflecting on the Theodore Roosevelt: the Naturalist in the Arena Symposium that Jim and I attended at nearby at Dickinson (N.D.) State University last week, the 12th annual. We attended the first and several others in the intervening …

LILLIAN CROOK: WildDakotaWoman — Autumn And The Blessing Of Rain

Finally, it rained. A two-day soaker Friday and Saturday. We were in the Bad Lands for a four-day trip, an immersion in Theodore Roosevelt, where we attended the 12th annual TR Symposium at Dickinson (N.D.) State University. Jim and I have attended a number of these (including the first), and this year’s topic of TR the Naturalist was irresistible to …

LILLIAN CROOK: WildDakotaWoman — Dakota Night Astronomy Festival

“Keep your eyes on the stars and your feet on the ground.” — Theodore Roosevelt Gentle reader, if you are looking for the perfect autumn getaway in North Dakota, I suggest the fifth annual Dakota Night Astronomy Festival, on Friday, Saturday and Sunday in beautiful Medora, N.D. From the Theodore Roosevelt National Park press release: “People have been marveling at the …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — Refinery Company Is Still Blowing Smoke, Still Sleazy

Last week, William Prentice, the slickster CEO of Meridian Energy Group, which wants to build an oil refinery 2½ miles from Theodore Roosevelt National Park, blew a bunch of smoke up the ass of a young reporter for The Dickinson (N.D.) Press, and the kid, who’s actually a pretty good writer, wrote a real puff piece about how great the …

LILLIAN CROOK: WildDakotaWoman — North Unit, Theodore Roosevelt National Park

“The sun is round. I ring with life, and the mountains ring, and when I can hear it, there is a ringing that we share. I understand all this, not in my mind, but in my heart, knowing how meaningless it is to try to capture what cannot be expressed, knowing that mere words will remain when I read it …

LILLIAN CROOK: WildDakotaWoman — I Dragged My Daughter To Slope County: Another S.W. North Dakota Excursion

“A billion stars go spinning through the night, blazing high above your head. But in you is the presence that will be, when the stars are dead.” — Ranier Maria Rilke My daughter, Chelsea, and I packed up the car and headed for southwest North Dakota this past week. I know, it seems I’m always traveling, especially odd for a homebody …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — The Little Missouri State Scenic River Commission Is Back In Business

When the Little Missouri Scenic River Commission meets Wednesday in Dickinson, N.D., it could have a cake with 10 candles on it to celebrate. It will have been just 20 days shy of 10 years since the Commission last met — Aug. 29, 2007. The newly formed commission, put together hastily this summer to comply with strict orders from Gov. Doug Burgum, …

LILLIAN CROOK: WildDakotaWoman — Crenelated Landscape

Crenelated landscape. That’s where we’re home from. The Bad Lands of North Dakota, where we gathered for one of Badlands Conservation Alliance‘s summer outings. Driving there, we listened to the excellent radio segment “Natural North Dakota.” We’re members of Prairie Public Radio and partial to the vast majority of their programming, mostly listening in the car. Jim drove while I also …

RUSS HONS: Photo Gallery — A Medora Weekend

A visit to Medora, N.D., can be memorable. Grand Forks photographer Russ Hons was there this past weekend, taking in the Medora Musical, a Tigirlily concert and the awesome sights of Theodore Roosevelt National Park. Here are just a few of the images that caught his eye. (Check out more photos from Russ Hons here.)

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — Refinery Company To PSC: ‘Screw You’

Of all the sleazy companies to show up in North Dakota’s oil patch in the nearly 10 years since the Bakken Boom began, the sleaziest of them all has to be Meridian Energy, the company proposing to build an oil refinery called the Davis Refinery just three miles from Theodore Roosevelt National Park.  Here’s why I say that. Normally, when a …

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. …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — The Little Missouri State Scenic River Is In Trouble Again

North Dakota’s Little Missouri State Scenic River lost most of its scenic protection this week when Gov. Doug Burgum reversed course and joined the members of his State Water Commission in opening the entire river to industrial water development. Last month, Burgum declared upstream areas of the state’s only official State Scenic River — the areas surrounding the three units …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — Our Rich Heritage; Our National Park

Here’s a short follow-up to a story I did a couple of weeks ago about the proposed Davis Refinery, the big industrial plant the California company Meridian Energy wants to build next to Theodore Roosevelt National Park. You’ll recall the North Dakota Department of Health sent Meridian a letter a month ago questioning some of the emissions projections Meridian used …

LILLIAN CROOK: WildDakotaWoman — ‘Keep Your Eyes On The Stars And Your Feet On The Ground,’ writes Theodore Roosevelt, And So We Do!

Monday, Jim and I loaded up the Highlander with our camping gear and pointed it in the right direction — west! We were headed to our national park, Theodore Roosevelt National Park, for a night at Cottonwood Campground. Readers of my husband’s blog know that we are big-time campers. Tenters.  He writes about one of our most memorable trips taken this …

LILLIAN CROOK: WildDakotaWoman — Theodore Roosevelt National Park’s 70th Anniversary: A Message From Former Superintendent Valerie Naylor

Today is the 70th anniversary of Theodore Roosevelt National Park. This heartfelt and strongly worded op-ed piece by my dear friend, and the former superintendent of the park, Valerie Naylor, is a great read for today’s occasion. Holding true to Theodore Roosevelt’s Vision at Theodore Roosevelt National Park Please “do what you can, where you are, with what you have” for …

DAVE VORLAND: It Occurs To Me — Medora On My Mind

I took the above picture in 2006 of Sentinel Butte, N.D. Its population today is 61 compared to 229 in the early 1950s, when our family lived there for several months. The town is a few miles west of Medora, which in those days was not yet much of a tourist attraction. Neither was Theodore Roosevelt National Park, which had …

RUSS HONS: Photo Gallery — Badlands Weekend

Grand Forks photographer Russ Hons and his wife, Paulette, took a trip to Medora, N.D., over the weekend. While there, they spent much of the time checking out the wildlife and the scenery in Theodore Roosevelt National Park.  According to Russ, “I love this place!” What’s not to love? (Check out more photos from Russ Hons here.)

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 — 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 — Camping At The Elkhorn, Part 1

I’ve written a two-part series about winter camping at the Elkhorn Ranch Unit of Theodore Roosevelt National Park for Dakota Country magazine. Here’s the first part. The Elkhorn Ranch Unit of Theodore Roosevelt National Park is a tiny 218-acre island in a vast million acre sea of Bad Lands, broken prairies, scoria roads, cattle ranches and oil development. The fact that even …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — North Dakota’s Image: We Just Don’t Give A Damn

It’s not important whether you see a refinery stack from the highest point in Theodore Roosevelt National Park’s South Unit. What’s important is what comes out of that stack. Meridian Energy’s publicity stunt the other night, hoisting a weather balloon from the site of its proposed refinery just three miles from the park and proving that it couldn’t be seen from …