Of oil rigs and landmarks, of state and national parks

This weekend we took a little staycation and used some time off to discover some of western North Dakota’s treasures. After participating in The Dickinson Press float handing out water to the thirsty masses, we headed south to White Butte to climb North Dakota’s highest peak, which was an adventure in and of itself.

First of all, White Butte is on private land that the owners allow hikers onto, you drive down U.S. Highway 85, and then down a gravel road, and finally, if it’s open, down a grass road. It’s a little scary when you’re driving a sedan. The hike itself is not hard, but finding the trail proved a bit daunting.

North Dakota has all this money, why is it not using some of it to help preserve some of it’s natural treasures? I get that the owner probably doesn’t want to give up their land for a park, and the really needn’t, but I’m sure they wouldn’t scoff if the state offered to help with road and trail maintenance. I’m sure there’s some partnership that can be worked out to make this place more accessible to everyone, and not just those with four-wheel-drive trucks.

Sunday I got to visit the North Unit of Theodore Roosevelt National Park for the first time. After an amazing, 3-hour, 4-mile hike through Badlands and prairie, we decided to take the drive to the northwest corner of the park.

We were extremely disappointed to see an oil rig from inside the park. 

You can see this rig in all its glory from the road inside the park. It’s not at some awesome vantage point that you need rock climbing gear to get to, it’s visible for anyone who wants to drive through the park to see, right there on the prairie. We certainly have amazing government officials who let this one through.

I get that it’s on private land, but seriously, TRNP is supposed to be a place where we can experience the wilderness of North Dakota, not the greed and excess of our society. It’s supposed to take us back to a simpler time, give us a chance to admire the beauty in the world.

So now we get to see a pumping jack at the north side of the North Unit for the next 20 years… lucky us!


4 thoughts on “Of oil rigs and landmarks, of state and national parks

  1. Just where do you think the oil comes from that gives you the gas to drive anywhere and anytime the mood strikes you?

  2. Do you have any idea how much NPS officials try to work with oil companies to negotiate the placement of wells? Before spouting off and automatically blaming the officials you so sarcastically refer to, you should do a little research into how much (or how little) say they have in such matters. Such a comment ruined what I thought to be a good post. Assume a little less and research a little more next time.

    • Oh, I know Valerie Naylor and her crew work VERY hard to keep those things away from the park, but it’s people like Lynn Helms and the Industrial Commission who should say no in the first place.

      • Thank you for the reply. I suppose I didn’t think it through very well and I was just thinking you meant park officials.

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