Badlands Conservation Alliance, the ND Chapter of the Wildlife Society and ND Wildlife Federation will be leading an exploration of oil and gas impacts on North Dakota’s western public lands, including Theodore Roosevelt National Park and the 1-million-acre Little Missouri National Grassland and what that may mean to Eastern North Dakotans.
Leading the discussion, Mike McEnroe of the ND Wildlife Federation and Jan Swenson of the Badlands Conservation Alliance each have strong ties to the Red River Valley, McEnroe having grown up in Fargo and Swenson having extended family originating and largely remaining in the area. While both are currently western ND residents with a deep understanding of the western landscape and development impacts, each found their conservation calling as children on family farms and in natural areas associated with then smaller communities in the Red River Valley.
With industrialization of the 15,000-square-mile Bakken, there is increasingly no “over the next hill” for wildlife to go. National Park visitors no longer see a boundless panoramic expanse as oil infrastructure tightens in on Park boundaries.
It is our goal to increase public awareness, counter misinformation and facilitate firsthand experience with this iconic landscape that belongs to all North Dakotans, and indeed, the Nation.
Current slowdown of oil activity allows an opportunity for North Dakotans to rethink and plan for the future of our Badland’s. Can we keep all the essential pieces intact for restoration decades down the road? Or will the three postage-stamp units of a diminished Theodore Roosevelt National Park, isolated by industrialization, be all that is left?
Join us in asking what North Dakota’s western public lands mean to eastern North Dakotans. Bring your friends, family and neighbors. It’s a question only you can answer.
Contacts for further information:
Badlands Conservation Alliance
Jan Swenson, Executive Director
ND Wildlife Federation
Mike McEnroe, President