Notice: I've taken a part-time job, and it's definitely affecting my blogging time. I'll continue to add content here as often as possible. Pertinent guest posts are always welcome.


Sunday, October 24, 2010

Controversy at East Sheyenne Grasslands TH

Sheyenne National Grasslands trailhead
Sheyenne National Grasslands east trailhead (photo by JHY)

based on a news article at Fargo-Morehead InForum

The simple access site to the North Country Trail at the east side of the Sheyenne National Grassland (North Dakota) has become a controversial topic.

In 2007, the Forest Service (Grasslands Managers) proposed a project to create a campground at the east trailhead of the NCT. This would provide camping for hikers and horseback riders/ campers. The campground was proposed in order to improve sanitation issues which have become critical due to a large volume of dispersed camping. However, the nearby Sheyenne Oaks Horse Camp and RV Park, which opened in 2009, has gotten the ear of Senator Byron Dorgan (D), and he has requested that the Forest Service abandon this campground project.

The problem is that several other access gates to the Grasslands will be closed as part of the project. One of these was near Sheyenne Oaks, and provided users of that facility easy access. However, they private campground was allowed to build a gate of their own.

Sheyenne National Grasslands manager, Dave Piper, said, "The Forest Service’s proposal is designed to accommodate the needs of all campers desiring to use the area, not just horse use. The goal is not to compete with any private services, but to allow the public to enjoy the Sheyenne National Grasslands."

Dorgan would like the Forest Service to build a trail that links to Sheyenne Oaks. The Forest Service has explained that they "cannot use federal tax dollars to specifically benefit a single, for-profit business at the exclusion of access to others."

Inflammatory media coverage has not helped, with headlines such as, "Private North Dakota campground loses grassland access," which is not even remotely true.

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