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Page 8 n Thursday, June 14, 2012


Public comments heard Alternatives discussed on Little Missouri crossing

By NICK SMITH Bismarck Tribune

A proposed Little Missouri River

bridge in Billings County drew questions during a public meeting June 5. Nearly 45 people gathered at the Kelly

Inn in Bismarck to question eight options for the proposal, which would require road construction and a river crossing. The project would connect U.S. High-

way 85 to North Dakota Highway 16. Representatives with Kadrmas, Lee & Jackson were on hand to explain the list of alternatives that have been drawn up. Six of the eight alternatives are located

in Billings County. One is for McKenzie County and the final option is not to build anything. Troy Ripplinger with KLJ said the road

in each alternative would be a stretch of graveled county road. He said the road would be designed for a 35 mph speed limit. Wade Frank, a bridge engineer with

KLJ, said depending on which option is chosen, the bridge would span between 600 and 1,200 feet. “At this stage in the development

we’re not going very far in the (bridge) development,” Frank said. Frank said once the alternatives are narrowed down more will be done with

the specific bridge design for the river crossing. Information from KLJ said: n Alternative A would require 10.7

miles of new road construction. It would run north of the Elkhorn Ranchlands connecting Magpie Creek Road and For- est Highway 2. n Alternative B would connect Black-

tail Road and Forest Highway 2 and re- quire 10.1 miles of new road. n Alternative C would connect Black-

tail Road and Belle Lake Road and re- quire 8.3 miles of new road. Both Alternative B and Alternative C

would pass through the Elkhorn Ranch- lands, something of serious concern to Valerie Naylor, superintendent of Theo- dore Roosevelt National Park. The ranch area was where Theodore Roosevelt raised cattle. “That’s a very important place to us,”

Naylor said. “We must protect the Elk- horn Ranch portion of Theodore Roos- evelt National Park at all costs.” She said the area has been protected

for decades and holds historical signifi- cance. Naylor said Alternatives B and C weren’t options. Jeb Williams of Bismarck questioned

Alternative K, which has three different options. He said the three options of Al- ternative K run through the Short Ranch,

owned by family members. Each of the three options would connect East River Road and Belle Lake Road. Williams said land-

owners and ranch- ers in western North Dakota understand the situation of rapid growth and oil pro-


Troy Kipplinger, left, of Kadrmas, Lee & Jackson, speaks with Brian Rau before the meeting held June 5 in Bismarck about a proposed bridge crossing the Little Missouri River.

“I don’t think the industry will recover even one less penny (in revenue) if there is no crossing of the Little

Missouri River.” – Badlands Conservation Alliance member Jan Swenson

duction in the region. “But is there really a need?” Williams

said. Jan Swenson with the Badlands Con-

servation Alliance also questioned the need. “I don’t think the industry will re-

cover even one less penny (in revenue) if there is no crossing of the Little Missouri River,” Swenson said. KLJproject manager Jennifer Turn-

bow said the company was contracted by Billings County to begin working on the project. Tentative plans call for having a ge-

neric draft prepared by January 2013 and public hearings held in June 2013. The benchmark for having a final plan is in November or December 2013. Comments are being accepted

through June 22. They can be submitted by mail to Kadrmas, Lee & Jackson, Jen- nifer Turnbow, Project Manager, 128 Soo Line Drive, Bismarck, N.D. 58501 or by email to jennifer.turnbow@ (Reach Nick Smith at 701-250-8255 or at

Roosevelt’s cabin site listed as endangered National Trust puts history Elkhorn Ranch on 2012 list

By LAUREN DONOVAN Bismarck Tribune

A plan to build a Little Missouri River bridge and

road near Theodore Roosevelt’s historic Elkhorn Ranch vaulted the property to being named one of America’s most endangered historic places. On June 5, the National Trust for Historic Preserva-

tion named the ranch site — a remote part of Theo- dore Roosevelt National Park at Medora — among 11 most endangered sites for 2012. The trust has named more than 230 sites in its 25-

year history and only a few have been lost since then, it says. Trust President Stephanie Meeks said the annual

list spotlights important examples of the nation’s ar- chitectural, cultural and natural heritage that are at risk of destruction or irreparable damage. The trust is the latest of three national groups that

put out a call last week to preserve the character of the ranch where Theodore Roosevelt lived in the 1880s

and where he developed his ideas about conservation. The other two are the Theodore Roosevelt Associa-

tion, chaired by great-grandson Tweed Roosevelt, and the Boone and Crockett Club, a conservation group chartered by Theodore Roosevelt. They’re reacting to the previous week’s release of an

environmental impact statement that lists five alterna- tive locations for a bridge crossing. One is less than a mile from the ranch site. Billings County wants the bridge to serve oil and

ranch traffic in the remote Badlands. Park Superintendent Valerie Naylor said she agrees

the proposed river crossing is a serious threat to the ranch site. It’s also threatened by a proposed gravel mine right across the river and increased oil activity in the general area. “It’s hard to know what the next thing will be,” Nay-

lor said. “Our goal is to keep the site as untouched as possible, similar to the way it was when Roosevelt first saw it in 1884.” She said the 218-acre site is small in size, but large

in national importance. Meeks said the Elkhorn Ranch is where Roosevelt

witnessed the rapid degradation of America’s wilder- ness and wildlife and recognized the importance of conserving such national resources. “Building a road this close to the Elkhorn Ranch

would permanently destroy the nationally significant historic place. Roosevelt had an enormous influence on America’s public lands system and promoted na- tionwide conservation of natural and cultural sites. His legacy should continue today through protection of this place,” Meeks said. During his presidency, Roosevelt set aside more

than 230 million acres of public lands in the form of national parks, national monuments, national wildlife refuges and national forests. Other endangered sites on this year’s list are the El-

lis Island Hospital Complex in New York Harbor and the Philadelphia gym of legendary boxer Joe Frazier. A complete list is available at www.PreservationNa-


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