A Unique Responsibility
Founded in 1999 during the early public planning process for the Forest Service’s Land and Resource Management Plan for the Dakota Prairie Grasslands, we rallied alongside local neighbors and friends to speak out for conservation concerns in western North Dakota’s 1 million acre Little Missouri National Grassland. A tight core of charter members united to raise local voices, insuring that government agencies and leadership could not deny our call for ecologically functioning landscapes, protection of roadless areas, and designation of Wilderness in our beloved Badlands.
Founding members recognized their unique responsibility grounded quite literally in local heritage. Many had grown up on ranches or in small surrounding towns. To some the Badlands were the quintessential destination for family excursions – to hunt, to hike, to camp, to connect with each other and the Wild. For still others, rugged buttes and vast horizons of sky and grass meant solitude, a physical and spiritual renewal.
Raised in a cultural setting where out-spoken behavior is less than the norm and advocacy for changing values on public lands is seen as a threat to traditional livestock leadership and the energy industry, the Badlands Conservation Alliance concentrates on developing a support system amongst its membership while focusing on a new paradigm for ecological well being. We are a family.
In the early 1970s, over a half-million acres of the Little Missouri National Grasslands were inventoried as roadless. By the late 1970s, that number had been cut in half – mostly due to oil and gas development. The Record of Decision for a new Dakota Prairie Grassland Plan was signed in July of 2002. Less than 40,000 acres will be managed as suitable for wilderness, with an additional 102,000 acres as backcountry where motorized travel is the rare management exception. Not a single majestic sweep is enrolled under the Wilderness Act of 1964.
We Are a Family
Many of us grew up on these lands. Others grew up with them integral to our lives. BCA believes it is time to re-evaluate the status quo and look to the quality of our natural landscape to find new answers for tomorrow’s brighter day.