Sunday, April 22, 2018

Rollin' Up Our Sleeves for Theodore Roosevelt National Park

It is the tradition for members of the Badlands Conservation Alliance to do a day of service, usually in Theodore Roosevelt National Park, on the weekend closest to Earth Day. On this past Saturday, we did just that, rollin' up our sleeves for Theodore Roosevelt National Park (TRNP), in the heart of the Bad Lands, our sacred landscape. I've been involved with a service event on Earth Day since 1970 when we school kids from Rhame picked up trash from the Highway 12 ditches. I often think back to that day.

The moment Jim and I arrived in the Park, we headed straight to the banks of the Little Missouri River, as is our tradition. The river is big right now, filled with snowmelt. It drove us both a little bonkers to not be canoeing.

Photo by Jim Fuglie

Duty called and we gathered with 21 other dedicated souls in the parking area of Cottonwood Campground where Ranger Grant expressed the gratitude of the Park for our service and gave us our directions. It was a beautiful spring day, after a very long winter.




We fanned out across the campground and went to work, cleaning out the ashes from the fire grates, and picking up litter and fallen branches, preparing the place for the summer camping season.

Photo by Jim Fuglie

There were a few campers in one campground loop and from these I recruited a new member, who, curious about what we were up to, offered to join us in the chores. In our midst were Bart and Julie Koehler, traveling with their Scamp camper from Florida to their Alaska home, and delighted for the occasion to be with old friends in a beloved place. When all was ship shape, we celebrated Bart's birthday with a cake and song.




The rest of the weekend was play time for all, with drives and hikes throughout the park, where lots of wildlife was spotted. This morning, Earth Day proper, Jim and I put in extra effort and located the first crocus (pasque flower) of the season.









The spring peepers were singing in the Paddock Creek wetlands, and all was well on a sunny 65-degree day with no wind. Every time we stopped we reveled in meadowlark song.

If you are interested in joining in future BCA fun, find the details about upcoming events here.
Photo by Jim Fuglie
"Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better." Albert Einstein

Earth Day Dawn, Wind Canyon (photo by Jim Fuglie)

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