Unheralded

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

A short update on a couple of things that I have written about recently. MERIDIAN ENERGY As I reported here earlier this summer, Meridian Energy Group’s Permit to Construct the Davis Refinery just three miles from Theodore Roosevelt National Park expired in June, three years after it was first issued by the North Dakota Department of Health (now the North …


Unheralded

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — Sometimes You Have To Go Camping To Get Good News

I haven’t written here lately because we went camping. For about three weeks. We went to the Pacific Northwest, seeking national parks and seafood. We found both. And we learned some things about camper trailers and “glamping.” Most importantly, camper trailers should be towed to a destination and parked for a few days. We spent too much time moving from …


JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — Camping 101, With Diversions

This article appears in the July edition of Dakola Country magazine, which will be on the stands this week. I’m a camper. I started camping as a Boy Scout. My dad was scoutmaster for Troop 34 in Hettinger, N.D., and loved to take his Scouts to his favorite campsite, beside the Grand River just across the state line in South …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — It’s Going To Be A Long, Hot Summer In The Badlands

(Reprinted from Dakota Country magazine, June 2021) Most years, the North Dakota Badlands, as I write this in early May, are changing color. As the ground warms, the winter’s snowmelt brings hints of green into the brown landscape of buffalo and crested wheat grass and little bluestem, and by the end of the month, as you’re reading this, the transition …

LILLIAN CROOK: WildDakotaWoman — The Crooked Little Missouri River And Its Headwaters

The crooked Little Missouri River is in my bloodstream, deeply embedded in my psyche. I grew up working and playing on its banks in Slope County, North Dakota, and have canoed and kayaked almost every North Dakota mile of the river countless times, and frequently written about my explorations on my blog. My favorite stretches of the river are in …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — Two More Bad Guys Going After Our Public Lands: Stenehjem And Hoeven

On Thursday, I wrote about the jerk who runs the Bureau of Land Management and his attack on the public land he “manages,” land he would like to turn over to the energy industry before he leaves office in January. Today, I want to talk about the other federal agency so important to North Dakota, the U.S. Forest Service, which …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — Public Lands Under Attack In Trump’s Final Days

In their agony, deep in the death throes of the Trump administration, America’s public lands managers are scrambling to put their final stamp on the worst conservation, environmental and public lands record in our country’s history. At risk are millions of acres of wildlife habitat and pristine recreational areas across America’s West, including the last remaining undeveloped roadless areas in …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — A Tale Of Two Bridges (Continued)

I wrote in a recent edition of Dakota Country magazine about the continuing saga of a pair of bridges — one built, the other proposed — over the Little Missouri State Scenic River, part of the ongoing effort of politicians and captains of industry to industrialize the state’s only officially designated scenic river. It seems like there’s no end to …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — U.S. DOT To Billings County: Go Find Money For Your Bridge Somewhere Else

Score one for the Little Missouri State Scenic River. When U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao announced the recipients of a billion dollars worth of discretionary grants for infrastructure projects all over the United States this morning, including one in North Dakota, a $12.3 million grant to build a new bridge over the Little Missouri wasn’t among them. That’s the best …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — Refinery Company’s Employees Sue For $600,000 In Unpaid Wages

A group of seven former and current (but likely to soon be former) employees of Meridian Energy Group, the California company that wants to build an oil refinery next to Theodore Roosevelt National Park in the North Dakota Bad Lands, has filed a lawsuit against Meridian seeking to recover more than $600,000 in unpaid wages, salaries and bonuses. The lawsuit …

CLAY JENKINSON: Future In Context — Is Absolutely Everything For Sale?

If you agree that we should not throw up a bridge in the North Dakota Badlands within a few miles of Theodore Roosevelt’s Elkhorn Ranch Site, please write to Secretary Elaine Chou asap, and please share my letter to your network of friends. Talk about Last Best Places! The question we have to ask is — is absolutely everything for …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — Quick Takes, Fast Tracks And The Destruction Of A Historic Ranch And A State Scenic River

“(Commission chairman) Jim Arthaud and the Billings County commissioners have the fight of their lives ahead of them if they plan on using eminent domain to put a bridge across our land.” That was Sandy Short, wife of the late Con Short and daughter-in-law of former U.S. Congressman Don Short, in an interview with The Bismarck Tribune three years ago. …

DAVE BRUNER: Photo Gallery — Badlands Trip Series No. 4

“Milky Way Night In The Badlands,” that’s what Grand Forks photographer Dave Bruner calls these images, taken from 11 p.m. to 3:30 a.m. one recent day in the North Dakota Badlands. He was fortunate to have no clouds in the sky with no wind and a clear cool night with no heat waves to get a nice view and these images …

DAVE BRUNER: Photo Gallery — Badlands Trip Series No. 1

Grand Forks photographer Dave Bruner was out in the North Dakota Badlands this past week for a few days hiking around taking photos and exploring different areas in Theodore Roosevelt National Park and other locations outside the park. Dave says these images looked best in the black-and-white format with all the structure and deep contrasts of the scene.

LILLIAN CROOK: WildDakotaWoman — My Heart Friend, Bart

Wednesday’s April blizzard gifts me with the time to sit down and write about my heart friend, Bart Koehler. Bart came to be my friend by the actions of my friend and colleague at Dickinson State University, Steve Robbins. Steve was a charter member of Badlands Conservation Alliance  and his brain is always problem-solving, generating bright ideas. BCA was in …

LILLIAN CROOK: WildDakotaWoman — Solitude in Theodore Roosevelt National Park

Theodore Roosevelt said, “Keep your eyes on the stars and your feet on the ground,” so we took those words to heart and stole away to the Bad Lands on Tuesday. My sisters and I traveled to Theodore Roosevelt National Park in our separate cars and maintained our social distance. The fresh air and time on the trail greatly renewed …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — ‘We Will Get That Project Stopped’

Summarizing,  once more, where we are with the proposed bridge across the Little Missouri State Scenic River, reprinted from the January 2020 issue of Dakota Country Magazine.    I’m going to keep writing about this stupid, harebrained, boneheaded, senseless, vacuous, selfish, destructive, egomaniacal, (insert your own adjective here), idea of the Billings County commissioners to put a bridge over the …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — Bring On The Whistleblowers

Last month, I began reporting on the apparent financial troubles besetting Meridian Energy Group, the company planning to build an oil refinery near the boundary of Theodore Roosevelt National Park in the North Dakota Bad Lands. Since then, I’ve received more information on the company, which I feel holds much merit and credit. I’m going to share some of that …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — A Couple More Notes On The ‘Bridge To Nowhere’

I want to add a couple or things to the Little Missouri River Crossing story I posted here earlier today. First Note: A little history, which you can read more fully by clicking on the link at the end of this note. I really didn’t become aware of the serious problems with this project until I attended a public meeting …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — Short Family To Government: We’ll See You In Court

Well, here’s some good news. Six months ago, Billings County and the Federal Highway Administration signed a record of decision to proceed with a new bridge over the Little Missouri State Scenic River north of Medora, N.D. a bridge famously referred to as a “Bridge to Nowhere” because it has no apparent purpose other than to connect one isolated part …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — A $30,000 Check And A $100,000 Bond

It looks like Wylie Bice is going to have to write a check for $30,000 to the U.S. government and tuck away $100,000 in a bond bank somewhere as his penalty for building an illegal bridge on public land in the Bad Lands. (If you’re not familiar with this story, here’s the background.) Those are the numbers being floated around …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — It’s OK To Skip This Meeting — That’s What They Want

NDCC CHAPTER 61-29 LITTLE MISSOURI STATE SCENIC RIVER ACT The purpose of this chapter shall be to preserve the Little Missouri River as nearly as possible in its present state, which shall mean that the river will be maintained in a free-flowing natural condition, and to establish a Little Missouri River Commission. NDCC 61-29 Little Missouri Scenic River Commission Meeting Tuesday, …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — Why The Bad Lands Are Important To Me

When I was a boy growing up in southwest North Dakota, I used to tag along with my dad on his pheasant, grouse and deer hunting trips, mostly along the Cedar River in Adams and Grant counties. Dad was an optometrist in the small town of Hettinger, the county seat of Adams County, and many, if not most, of the …

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 …

LILLIAN CROOK: WildDakotaWoman — BCA Executive Director Jan Swenson To Retire

This past Wednesday, Badlands Conservation Alliance, a grass-roots group of which I am a founding voice, announced to its membership that longtime executive director, Jan Swenson, is retiring at the end of March. Jan has been at the helm for the past 20 years. In fact, BCA would very likely not exist were it not for Jan’s leadership from the …

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 …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — Some Christmas Poetry: ‘Pure As The Soul Of Christ’

OK, if you came here looking for that sappy poem “Billy Peeble’s Christmas” that I usually put on my annual Christmas poetry blog, you’re going to be disappointed. Even Lillian rolled her eyes when I headed for my office to start writing. She didn’t say much, but I got the hint — aren’t you tired of that by now? Isn’t …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — Notice: Comment Period Extended On Forest Service SEIS

UPDATE: The U.S. Forest Service will announce today that it has extended the comment period on the Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement for Oil and Gas Leasing on our Little Missouri National Grasslands. The 30-day extension means comments will be accepted on the Draft SEIS, outlined below, until Jan. 16, 2019. Although the announcement comes Dec. 7, Pearl Harbor Day, as …

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 …

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 …