Your Comments Welcome . . . And Necessary

Late Tuesday, the U.S. Forest Service posted the scoping documents for the “Elkhorn Gravel Pit” on its website.  The documents tell you what Roger Lothspeich, who owns half the surface minerals on the Elkhorn Ranchlands, plans to do to this historic site. As I’ve noted in the three previous blog posts on this issue, citizens are invited to submit comments on the project until November 4. Then over a period of several months the Forest Service will issue its findings on the project and likely approve the project. And gravel pits will start emerging across the river from the Elkhorn Ranch.

If TR were sitting on his veranda in his rocking chair, as he did many times during his life in the Bad Lands, he’d be able to watch the whole process—the bulldozers pushing away and piling up the topsoil, the scoop shovels hoisting buckets of gravel into the big dump trucks, the trucks heading down the road in a cloud of dust, the excess gravel being piled high on the rim of the Little Missouri River valley waiting for the next truck. Surely this was not what the Friends of the Elkhorn Ranch, or the National Park Service, or the U.S. Forest Service, envisioned four years ago when the dedication ceremony was held for the acquisition of the lands across from Roosevelt’s cabin.

You can join the effort to stop this travesty. Please go to this website. The scoping documents are right there on the home page. Read the short two-page summary. Look at the maps. And then tell the Forest Service what you think of this scheme, cooked up by some jackass in Montana, who thinks he’s got one helluva game going on here.

Here are the instructions from the Forest Service for commenting:

Your comments, including your name and address, will be considered part of the public record on this proposed action and will be available for public inspection. Comments submitted anonymously will be accepted and considered regarding this project. If you need more information on submitting comments anonymously, please contact us or refer to 36 CFR 215 and 7 CFR 1.27(d).

If you have any questions about this project or wish to submit oral comments, contact Mark Sexton, the project team leader, at (701) 227-7824. Your email comments can be submitted on the internet to, Please direct your written comments to Ronald W. Jablonski, Jr., District Ranger, Medora Ranger District, 99 23rd Ave. West, Suite B, Dickinson, North Dakota 58601.

If you choose, you may also go ahead and contact Roger Lothspeich directly by calling him at home, (406) 234-2465. Or send him a letter at 3711 Batchelor Street, Miles City, Montana, 59301. Or you can e-mail him at Let him know what you think of his plans. I’m sure he’ll be happy to hear from you. He loves attention.

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