A Day on the Prairie

We spent this day exploring the area around Williston, North Dakota. There are a surprising number of sites to visit in this relatively remote corner of the country.  But first…are you aware of the oil boom currently underway in Montana/North Dakota?  Haliburton, Schlumberger and other oil field service companies are thick as flies at dinner.  Trucks running around every side road and highway…a lead story on the local news was about upgrading a major highway to carry the loads…new tanks and derricks sprouting in the wheat fields…and a bunch of trucks from a well service company I hadn’t heard of from Black Lick, PA.  I just didn’t know it was going on.

The first site was visited this morning was the Fort Union National Historic Site, right on the state line.  But the best part about the location, it’s the confluence of the Yellowstone and Missouri.  The North Dakota Historical Society has a good interpretive center here.  Just last week we followed the Yellowstone out of the park up to Livingston, and then we picked up the Missouri at its headwaters.  And here we get to see the two come together.

Then we took a longish drive down to Theodore Roosevelt National Park.  One, it was the only way to get there, and two, it gave Donna a chance to take her morning nap.  Makes life better for everybody.

What do you know about TR Nat’l Park?  Me either.  At least until I recently finished the book The Wilderness Warrior by Douglas Brinkley.  A little long and rambling but an interesting read just from the info about TR’s early environmentalism, much of it spawned by his time in this area.  But I had no idea what to expect.  This was our first view of the park.

Over eons the Little Missouri River has carved out this badland type of landscape, an area in which TR tried his hand at ranching and living the life of the western stockman.

When he became president about 20 years later, he felt the need to preserve the things he had enjoyed in the west and started with creating additional parks (such as Grand Canyon) and monuments and game and forest preserves.  Read the book.  You’ll be surprised.

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