Green light for gravel mine near Roosevelt cabin

Green light for gravel mine near Roosevelt cabin

Source: NPS

Theodore Roosevelt's ranch in the badlands of western North Dakota purchased in 1884 where the "restorative power of wilderness" made a "lasting impression" on the 26th president of the United States is being encroached on by industrialization due to the state's fracking oil boom (which now may be winding down).

The "contemplative seclusion" and "viewshed and soundscape" from the Maltese Cross Cabin on the Chimney Butte Ranch and the Elkhorn Ranch will be "ruined" by a proposed gravel pit just across the Little Missouri river and a new bridge, US state media reported in 2012.

The supposed ruination could now become a reality, reports the AP, after a permit was issued by the US Forest Service to Roger Lothspeich, of Miles City, Montana, and his fiancee, Peggy Braunberger, who "have spent more than six years proving they own the right to remove gravel and other surface minerals at the 5,200-acre ranch."

Lothspeich said operations could kick off in the spring and the business would employ about a dozen workers. "Operations would be halted if big events or tours are planned at the historic cabin," according to the report:

"The Forest Service purchased the ranch next to Roosevelt's Elkhorn Ranch site in 2007 from the Eberts family. It cost $5.3 million, with $4.8 million coming from the federal government and $500,000 from conservation groups. More than 50 wildlife and conservation groups, including the Boone and Crockett Club started by Roosevelt himself, had pressed Congress to approve the deal. The purchase did not include mineral rights.

"The Eberts family had bought the ranch where Roosevelt ran his cattle and half the mineral rights from the Connell family in 1993 for $800,000. Lothspeich, who grew up near the ranch, bought the other half of the mineral rights from the Connells at an undisclosed price, knowing the government had not obtained them in the Eberts deal."

According to the Forest Service another 43 people own mineral rights in the area.