Improving the trail
The Maah Daah Hey Trail, which is located in the Badlands near Medora and runs as far north as the North Unit of Theodore Roosevelt National Park, will celebrate it's 10th year with a major expansion.
Maah Daah Hey Two is under construction and will add an additional 48 miles to the exiting 98 miles of trail.
Paulette Johnson, the recreation manager for the U.S. Forest Service's Dakota Prairie National Grasslands said the expansion improves an already great trail.
"The 98 miles that currently exist have brought a lot of attention to the National Grasslands and to North Dakota and once we finish the extension, which is another 48 miles, that just offers new country for people to see, more opportunities," Johnson said.
While the new trail isn't completed yet it is on 2009 Forest Service maps, said Curt Glasoe, grasslands engineer with the Forest Service.
"The self-closing gates are in, but the posts are not, so it's kind of an explorers-type journey, if you can read a map," Glasoe said with a laugh.
Another trail, which construction will begin on this summer is the Wolf Trail northwest of the park's North Unit.
The new trail hopes to mitigate access problems that have occurred in the past, because while hikers and horseback riders are allowed, bikes are not on the park's wilderness trails, Glascoe said.
The new trail will start four miles northwest of the park's northwest corner, where it will enter the park near the main visitor road, which bikers can then use to reach the Maah Daah Hey.
Johnson said she hopes North Dakotans realize what they have just a few hours away.
"We've got this big chunk of public land in our backyard and we're doing ourselves a disservice if we don't take the time to go out and see what's out there," Johnson said. "And the Maah Daah Hey Trail is a great way to get out and see some of it."