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Red River Valley Oil and Gas Development Outreach: Keeping All the Pieces

  • Education Building Room 113 231 Centennial Drive Grand Forks, ND US (map)

When:  Thursday, April 7, 2016 at 7 PM

Where:  Education Building, Room 113 on the UND Campus, south of the Memorial Union at 231 Centennial Drive

Watch for signs for reserved parking.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Mike McEnroe


Mike McEnroe is older than dirt and arrived in North Dakota about the time the glaciers receded.

He was born in Duluth, MN and raised in Fargo and attended Fargo Central.  He graduated in 1970 with a degree in Chemistry and Math from Augustana College in Sioux Falls, SD, and in 1976 with an M.S. in Wildlife and Fisheries Science from South Dakota State University in Brookings.

McEnroe worked for 31 years for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service as a Wildlife Biologist and Refuge Manager in the Minneapolis Regional Office, Long Lake National Wildlife Refuge (NWR), the Devils Lake Wetland Management District, the Bismarck Wetland Office, and retired in 2005 from Audubon NWR.  He served as legislative liaison for the ND Chapter of The Wildlife Society for five sessions (2005-2013).  He was President of the Chapter in 1984, and is currently on the Energy and Legislative Committees for the Chapter.

McEnroe is a decoy carver, has been a Hunter Education Instructor for 27 years, and has been President of the ND Wildlife Federation since 2012.  He grew up fishing in Minnesota and pheasant hunting in southeastern North Dakota.

Jan Swenson


Jan Swenson has served as executive director of the Badlands Conservation Alliance since its incorporation in 2001. BCA is a North Dakota based non-profit focused on public lands and public natural resources in western North Dakota, particularly Theodore Roosevelt National Park and the Little Missouri National Grassland. The majority of BCA’s members, and certainly the charter members, live in or originated in the small communities and rural landscapes surrounding these public lands. Members hold significant familiarity with these lands and value them for a host of ecological, heritage and personal reasons, frequently through multiple generations.

Swenson is the great-granddaughter of North Dakota Constitutional Convention member Arnie P. Haugen representing Grand Forks County.  She is the granddaughter of an evangelical preacher and Red River Valley farmer who graduated from UND at the age of 82.  Her parents left the Red River Valley after WWII and moved to Bismarck, where her mom was an elementary teacher and her father served the Board of Higher Education for over 30 years.

Jan grew up in the third home up from the Capitol grounds, with only one additional house to the north before pavement turned to native prairie.  Childhood visits from Red River Valley relatives always meant trips to the Badlands, which all agreed made up for her parents’ lack of tractors and fertile, black Red River soil.

Jan continues to reside in Bismarck, but visits her heart as often as possible in the buttes and woody draws of the Badlands.