A study being done by two professors from the University of North Dakota on the long-term impact of man camps on western North Dakota will provide useful information.
The study has broken man camps into three categories, and the professors have twice spent time in western North Dakota's oil patch in an attempt to see what long-term effects the temporary housing solutions will have on the state's landscape. The study has focused on camps that are portable, camps in RV parks and people living in tents or similar facilities.
Certainly the larger man camps will have lasting impacts upon their environment, with waste and water issues being at the top of the list. The smaller camps will have less of an impact, perhaps limited to trash issues or other short-term effects. The study's findings will make interesting reading when completed.
The study also makes us wonder what other long-term concerns are being documented, or should be considered.
Obviously the oil boom has already had and will continue to have serious and long-term impacts on the state's landscape, road system and environment, not to mention the state's animal population. What effect is the oil industry having on outdoor recreation and hunting opportunities in the state?
We'd hope there are already studies under way or at least being considered as the state continues to undergo rapid environmental, social and economical changes. We want to know the impact of man camps on the state, but it's only a small part of the big picture.