Oil Drilling in the Badlands Could Impact Tourism | VideoJennifer Joas | 5/10/2012
The state Parks and Recreation department and Tourism Department had no say in the agreement to start drilling in the Little Missouri State Park and other parts of the Badlands, but they are taking the backlash.
Some business owners who rely on tourism are worried it could hurt business.
"The people who depend on that for the tourism are concerned about more of the negative waves that are coming around instead of the actual negative impacts," said Jesse Hanson, North Dakota Parks and Recreation Manager of Planning and Natural Resources Division.
Hanson says the actual negative impacts means, yes there will be drilling, but it will not have a large impact on your experience.
"This park is such rugged badlands, and the trails are in and out of the drainages and through the low areas that you typically don`t see an oil well. They are out there, there is no doubt about it. But if your view is not of the great badlands when you are out here, you are missing something."
The tourism department says it is working on broadcasting a message that despite the change of scenery, western North Dakota will still be a great place to visit.
"Whether you are a hiker, a biker, a mountain biker, whatever you like to do, horseback ride; you can still do that. So do not be discouraged. Get out there and enjoy the state. It is still there and it is still beautiful, and it is still pristine," said Tourism Director Sara Otte Coleman.
The majority of the oil activity in the Little Missouri State Park will happen in the off season of October through April. Drilling in the Badlands is expected to continue.