Unheralded

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — A Victory For The Bad Lands

I know, I’ve written about this legal battle in this space before, but it’s such good news — for now, at least — that I just can’t quit sharing it. Below is an article that appears in the June issue of Dakota Country magazine, on the newstands and in the mail right now. By the way, if you aren’t a …


LILLIAN CROOK: WildDakotaWoman — Bullion Butte: The Mother Ship

Bullion Butte: The Mother Ship (at least it is to me) Where do I start, I ask myself? How do I not make this dry and unreadable? How do I sort through my lifetime of memories of Bullion Butte and the files in our house? But start I will. I’ve written before about the buttes of southwest North Dakota and …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — Another Not-So-Little Win For The Bad Lands

I’m sitting in my office on a clear, crisp, Saturday morning (I know it’s clear because the sun is shining in my eyes through my office window, and I know it’s cold because I went out looking for three or four days’ issues of the Bismarck Tribune in the snow, to no avail) reading a 17-page decision handed down by …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — The Little Missouri Bridge: Let The People Decide?

The folks out in Billings County in the North Dakota Bad Lands might get a chance to vote this fall on whether they want their county commissioners to use their power of eminent domain to condemn some of their neighbor’s land to build a bridge over the Little Missouri State Scenic River and roads connecting it to state highways. Or …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — America The Beautiful

“As we write this, America is engaged in an all-hands-on-deck effort to defeat a deadly pandemic and tackle the climate crisis. Our president has laid out a vision and a plan that will re-power America with clean energy, reduce greenhouse gas emissions at home and abroad, create millions of good-paying jobs and — importantly — conserve and restore the lands …

LILLIAN CROOK: WildDakotaWoman — Vernal Equinox Road Trip To Western North Dakota Counties: A Visual Essay

A Spring road trip to southwestern North Dakota counties and the Little Missouri National Grasslands: a Visual Essay, in no particular order. My very first in-person shopping at Roxie’s Smoke Shack. Jim is a celebrity there. We had some laughs and bought some stuff. Then I walked across state Highway 12 to mail a Marmarth postcard to my brother with …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — Big News For The Bad Lands

(This article first appeared in the February-March issue of Dakota Country magazine, which should be on the newstands now.) I’d like you to take five minutes to read about two nonprofit organizations that are doing important work for the North Dakota Bad Lands. Hey, it’s February. It’s cold outside. Get a cup of coffee and sit down. The two organizations …

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 …

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 …