Many recognize that the natural resources and wide variety of landscapes in North Dakota are indeed a treasury, affordable to all income levels.
Personal activities can range from exploring by camping, hiking, bicycling, horseback riding, birding, photography or hunting for artifacts, fossils or wild game.
The one common resource required for each of these activities is a healthy environment, with wildlife habitat and solitude, without refuse left by others, without tourist traffic or venders selling souvenirs.
Western North Dakota has offered wonderful opportunities for outdoor ventures for decades. Now it has been discovered that the treasure extends much deeper than the beautiful surface resources.
In two decades the environment that outdoor enthusiasts seek will not be found in the oil fields of western North Dakota. The lands will be fragmented with roads, totally changing the character of western North Dakota.
Currently, 95 percent of the Little Missouri National Grasslands, including the Badlands, have been approved for oil development. It is estimated western North Dakota will have 50,000 wells.
The remaining 5 percent of the grasslands are eligible for “wilderness” designation, providing permanent protection from development.
Lawsuits have recently been filed by four counties and also the state; if they succeed they could nullify this eligibility. The oil play moves quickly and so must we, it is very urgent that we all come together now.
I urge all individuals and members of various clubs and organizations with outdoor interests, to exemplify the Cass County Wildlife Club of Casselton and the Cogswell Club of Cogswell, whose members have endorsed the “Prairie Legacy Wilderness” proposal, developed by the Badlands Conservation Alliance.
The BCA brings many like-minded people together as one, carrying a common message to political leaders. The BCA leaders are experienced, dedicated and have promoted a well thought out, modest plan to protect the remaining 5 percent of the Little Missouri National Grasslands. Click on “Prairie Legacy Wilderness” icon at www.badlandsconservationalliance.org for more.
Buel Sonderland, Fargo