Wildfires continue to burn thousands of acres in western North Dakota.
Affected areas include the Maah Daah Hey Trail, which stretches from the North Unit to the South Unit of Theodore Roosevelt National Park.
“When the horse pasture fire started, I was out on an 11-mile trail run. And I was just over halfway through when I saw the smoke rising, and it looked like the smoke was coming from the campground trailhead I had parked at,” said Nick Ybarra, who runs nonprofit Save The Maah Daah Hey Trail.
“You know, we’ve gotten information from the public about different leads, what I would say, it’s under investigation and we have special agents from the forest service assigned to look into it,” said Lucas Graf, the McKenzie District Ranger.
Thousands of acres have burned at Theodore Roosevelt National Park, closing the majority of the Maah Daah Hey Trail.
However, a change in our current weather pattern can turn things around before affecting routine maintenance of the trail.
- Horse pasture fire in North Unit of Theodore Roosevelt National Park is 50% contained, 5,000 acres have been burned
“Our typical timeframe for our mowing maintenance takes place in July,” Ybarra said.
Ybarra says even though parts of the trail are closed for now, he is hopeful to put on events there this summer.
He says they host eight, mostly taking place on the Maah Daah Hey Trail.
“We have an annual trail run at the end of July and an annual mountain biking race at the beginning of August,” said Ybarra.
In order to protect these future events, Ybarra also shared with us some fire safety tips:
“Know which direction the wind is blowing, know where you would go for safety if there was a fire. And if you see anything suspicious, activity that could cause another fire, report it,” he said.
Ybarra and the forest service partner together for many reasons, but the main reason for saving the trail?
“We love it so much. And so if you get a chance to experience the trail, there’s not much better than 150 miles of single track through the heart of the badlands in North Dakota,” Ybarra said.
The Maah Daah Hey Trail is the longest single-track mountain biking route in the United States.