Unfriendliness In Dickinson, North Dakota

Several months ago, I loaned my truck to a neighbor for a couple of days because his truck had broken down.  I hate to let people borrow my truck because they think it is an old truck, and they can abuse it.  Even though their vehicle has broken down, mine is somehow running.  My truck is running because I have replaced the radiator, power steering pump, water pump, timing chain and gear, fuel pump, drive shaft universal joint, front drive universal joints and seals on each side, installed overload rear leaf springs, and bought four new tires.  All this cost me about $4,000 over the years that I have owned this truck, so it is not just my good luck that my old truck is running.

About two months ago, I asked the neighbor who I had loaned my truck to, if I could shoot my 9mm pistol on his vacant thirty acres, if I placed my target against the vacant one hundred acres behind it.  I explained that I had to take and pass a qualifying exam.  My neighbor said no, and that he did not want to allow me to shoot on his other 160 acre piece of property either.  I then had to drive seventy miles one way to get to a piece of public land that I knew that I could shoot on.  There are two shooting ranges that are about thirty miles away, but you have to go to the shooting club once a month meeting, apply for membership, and pay a $40 membership fee, which is what I eventually did.

About one month ago, I thought that I might have to move to an apartment in town.  I have an extra truck and a utility trailer that I don’t think that I could park in town if I were renting an apartment.  I drove to someone’s property that I have met before, his property is about 1/2 mile wide by 1/2 mile long.  He has several vehicles, several trailers, farm equipment, and other things on his property.  I asked him if I could pay him $75 per month to park my extra truck and utility trailer on his property.  He said no.

I then went to one of my neighbors who is about thirty-five years old, who has an older house on about one acre, with about eight cars, and four trailers on his property.  I told him that I might have to move in to town, that I didn’t think that I would have a place to put my extra truck and utility trailer, could I pay him $75 per month to park them on his property?  He said no.

I kind of understand, and I kind of don’t understand.  I own a house on five acres in a different state.  If one of my neighbors asked to park a vehicle and a utility trailer on my property because they had to move to an apartment in town, I would ask them for how long did they need to park it.  I would say that if it was just for a month or two, go park it way down on the north end, just off the dirt road.  I believe that if you do not collect any money from an individual, and that if they step in a hole on your property and break their leg, your homeowner’s insurance will cover their injury.  This type of thing can happen when anyone walks onto your property to go knock on your front door, this risk is always there.  If you receive payment from someone to use your property, you should probably talk to your insurance company about commercial or renter’s insurance or something.  If someone was offering me $75 per month to park a vehicle and a utility trailer on my property for more than a couple of months, I would find out what additional insurance I needed, because $75 per month is $900 per year.

Outside of Dickinson, there is more vacant land than I have seen just about anywhere else.  There is no shortage of vacant land, there is an abundance of vacant land.  There are farms where people once lived, but no longer live there.  I asked neighbors adjacent to the abandoned farms who owned the abandoned farms, I would like to find out about renting it, the neighbors replied,”Oh, that is so and so, they live down the road there, people have asked them before to rent it, they won’t rent it out.”

Up until about 1980, there were very few people who wanted to visit or move to North Dakota.  It is very cold and barren.  There isn’t a lot to do for recreation or entertainment, there hadn’t been very many things to do for employment.  The first oil boom in this area came in about 1980 and then went away.  During the first oil boom, property prices rapidly went up to a high peak, then went back down to a low price after the oil boom.  I don’t know if there is still some anger over this in and around Dickinson, I think that there is.  Some people sold their land at the right time, got rich, then were able to buy back equal or better land after the prices went back down.  Some people didn’t sell their land, remained poor, and later wished they would have sold their land. 

I think that there is a lot of anger, resentment, hatred, jealousy, and greed stirred up in these local people.  They have a hard time dealing with the amount of people that have moved here.  They have resentment and jealousy that some of their neighbors have sold their land and made money, or that some of their neighbors are getting oil revenue money.  They have resentment, jealousy, and anger that these people from out-of-state can come here and get jobs making anywhere from $15 per hour to $30 per hour, when they have lived here their whole lives and never made that kind of money, that aint right, that aint fair.  I think that this hatred shows up in the local people’s refusal to allow out-of-state people to rent or use the huge amount of vacant land outside of Dickinson.

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