Last June four Montana journalists set off for the Bakken region to do in depth coverage of the past, present and future of the region.
Their goal, in what they have called The High Plains Heritage Project, is to produce a full documentary by this fall, but their aim is much richer than that. Stan Parker, one of the four, says,: “This is going to be an engaging way to experience this region — this moment — through movies, still images, and written word. There are so many unique voices, and we want our audience to sincerely feel like they’re meeting all of these people, too.”
Pete Tolton, another member of the group, points out that most of the news coverage of the boom has centered on the rapid growth, environmental impacts and soaring crime rates. “These are important issues,” he says. “But we want to focus on a part of this story that gets overlooked — individual people in the area’s small communities. We have lots of personal narratives to tell.”
If you care about the impact of oil and gas drilling, you won’t want to miss the documentary, but I hope you’ll check out their web site, created during the three weeks they spent in the area in June. On the site you’ll find short video clips (most about two minutes), audio stories, features and photos.
To entice you, here are a couple of their videos. Head on over to the site to check out the rest. These are stories that you won’t find elsewhere. They give you a feeling for the nuance of how the oil and gas boom has impacted the region. And they might give you an inkling of what “bringing the Bakken to the Beartooths” might really mean.
The story of Trevor and Andrea, who have come to Watford City to seek their fortunes:
A quick video of license plates in the Williston Walmart shows that the Bakken has attracted workers from everywhere: