BCA: Our 20th Anniversary


A message from our founder on the 20th birthday of Badlands Conservation Alliance

Twenty years ago, Jan Swenson and I sat on the rim of the canyon above the Little Missouri River in the North Unit of Theodore Roosevelt National Park, looking out over the majestic North Dakota Bad Lands, and said “We need to be brave and we need to protect this.”

Badlands Conservation Alliance was born out of the belief that someone needs to make a difference in protecting these wild places.

Since then, hundreds of people have stepped up to speak out on behalf of the land, the river and its tributaries, the pristine air, and the wildlife.

Long before the massive industrialization of the western part of the state, we created a group whose sole purpose was to be a voice for wild North Dakota places, and to use that voice to help restore and preserve western North Dakota’s public lands, for our generation and for generations to come.

It’s been a remarkable 20 years. We have fought many battles. The Boom has made our job harder, but we will never stop speaking out for this magnificent place we call the North Dakota Badlands.

“Many hands make light work.”

My mother said that to me many times.

Thank you to all those whose hands helped make our work lighter over these 20 years.

We live by the words of the great author Terry Tempest Williams, who we introduced to the Badlands, and who wrote:

“If you know wilderness like you know love, you would be unwilling to let it go. We are talking about the body of the beloved, not real estate.”

I hope you will join us in our efforts to protect that land we love by becoming a member of Badlands Conservation Alliance. As the poet Mary Oliver wrote “What are you going to do with your one wild and precious life?”

Thank you.