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Good day for grassland wilderness

April 20, 2010

This morning’s look into the Rapid City Journal brought me up short.  Prominent on the Opinion Page was a column by Chuck Mickel sharing his deeply held affection for the Indian Creek and Red Shirt areas out on the Buffalo Gap National Grassland.  Chuck is a retired attorney, with a strong geology background and a reservoir of energy that is envied by many.  He’s been a lead volunteer for wilderness protection for these areas for two or three years now; and has also become an amiable hiking companion.

Bottom line, Chuck’s op-ed piece just blew me away.  In the ten years or so that I’ve been involved in this wilderness effort, his is the best piece of writing I’ve seen done on it.  If and when the Journal finally decides to post the piece on its website, I’ll copy it off and plug it in here.

[Sitting at the first Indian Creek crossing — Chuck’s the fellow in the blue shirt.]

The other nice surprise came when I opened the mail.  Chris Hesla, the Executive Director of the SD Wildlife Federation, had a nice column about wilderness protection for our grassland areas in this month’s newsletter.  He opened with a Theodore Roosevelt quote that I’d forgotten about; but how true it is.  It sums up everything a person needs to know about wilderness experiences:

“Hunting in the wilderness is of all pastimes the most attractive. . . . The wilderness hunter must not only show skill in the use of a rifle and address in finding and approaching game, but they must also show the qualities of hardihood, self-reliance, and the resolution needed for effectively grappling with our wild surroundings.”‘

A good day, indeed.

— Jim Margadant

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