Badlands in Little Missouri National Grassland - photo courtesy of the US Forest Service
On March 14, 2010 the Eastern Native Tree Society and Western Native Tree Society switched from discussion lists on Google Groups to a new discussion list in a Bulletin Board format at: http://www.ents-bbs.org/index.php Posts made since the inception of the BBS on March 14, 2010 will be sorted and archived on the BBS. Click on the link to go to the equivalent section on the new BBS. This website will continue to serve as a front end for the ENTS and WNTS groups. It will continue to serve as a repository of older posts, and will serve as the host site for special projects and features that are not well suited for a BBS format. Please visit the BBS for the latest information and trip reports.
Field Trips and Discussions
North Dakota is a land dominated by grassy prairies. Of all of the great grass covered prairies found in the time of European settlement, only about 1% remain in their natural state. There are four National Grasslands in North Dakota, the Little Missouri National Grassland is the largest. The others are the Sheyenne, Cedar River, and Grand River Grasslands. Forested lands are limited. Some are preserved in Theodore Roosevelt National Park - a badlands area. There are five state forests totaling 13,278 acres in North Dakota containing much of the remaining native forest land in the state. These are listed below.
Little Missouri National Grassland http://www.fs.fed.us/r1/dakotaprairie/
Gunlogson Arboretum Nature Preserve http://www.npwrc.usgs.gov/resource/othrdata/natareas/gunlogso.htm The Preserve straddles a three-quarter mile long segment of the Tongue River. The Preserve, primarily wooded, is dominated by mature elm and basswood. Shallow woodland ponds and wet thickets are found in low-lying areas. Many of the ponds are spring-fed, retaining water throughout the summer. The significant plants and animals of the Preserve are many and varied. Altogether more than a dozen rare species have been reported from the area. These range from the southern watermeal, an inconspicuous, aquatic plant slightly larger than a pinhead, glorified in college textbooks as one of the world's smallest flowering plants; to the pileated woodpecker, a hauntingly primeval-looking species more typically associated with the old-growth forests of the East.
Theodore Roosevelt National Park badlands - photo courtesy of the US National Park Service
Theodore Roosevelt National Park http://www.nps.gov/thro/ About 60 million years ago, streams carried eroded materials eastward from the young Rocky Mountains and deposited them on a vast lowland -- today's Great Plains. During the warm, rainy periods that followed, dense vegetation grew, fell into swamp areas, and was later buried by new layers of sediments. Eventually this plant material turned into lignite coal. Some plantlife became petrified; today considerable amounts of petrified wood are exposed in the badlands. Bentonite, the blue-gray layer of clay , may be traced to ash from ancient volcanoes far to the west. But even as sediments were being deposited, streams were starting to cut down through the soft strata and to sculpt the infinite variety of buttes, tablelands, and valleys that made up the badlands we know today.
North Dakota State Forest pamphlet: http://www.ndsu.nodak.edu/ndsu/lbakken/forest/stateforest/doc/StateForestGuide-03.pdf 2.74 MB. In 1996, the North Dakota Forest Service began a program of land acquisition to permanently protect a portion of North Dakota's limited native forest resource. With the help of the Federal Land and Water Conservation Fund, 13,278 acres of North Dakota native forest were set aside primarily to develop recreation opportunities. The State Forests are covered woody plant communities dotted with open grassland, wetlands and small lakes.
Dakota Prairie Grasslands
North Dakota Tree Information Center
North Dakota Forest Service