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Target Logistics, Williston Lodge North, North Dakota. (Photo courtesy Target Logistics)

North Dakota researchers studying ‘man camps’ in oil patch

BISMARCK, N.D. — A multi-university research team is studying temporary trailer parks occupied by thousands of people across North Dakota’s oil patch.

The team has been visiting “man camps” throughout the past three years in an effort to preserve their history. The researchers have been photographing and speaking with residents at about 50 to 60 camps in the region, the Bismarck Tribune reported.

Researcher Bill Caraher said he’s interested in social interactions at man camps that are similar to those in other communities. He said he was impressed by some of the people who have worked to make their temporary living situations feel like home.

The second biggest town in McKenzie County, Caraher said, is a man camp around a food and fuel stop.

“It’s completely modular — it will not be there in a decade, or maybe it will be,” he said. “It’d be interesting to come back in 30 years and see. North Dakota’s always been a place of dreams where more people couldn’t make it than could.”

Archaeologist Richard Rothaus said it’s “really bad methodology” to gather data just for its own sake, but that journalists are the only other ones that have been collecting information about the man camps.

“Our goal is to gather the information,” Rothaus said. “We’re not here with the answers but to have the information so that future generations can figure this out.”

The team said it’s hard to estimate how many people live in the camps, but Rothaus said there are fewer people in them than at the start of the project. It’s just hard to say why.

“Is it because of housing being available in towns like Watford City, or oil companies pulling out, or a pipeline crew that’s moved on?” Caraher said.

In related news, Bakken becomes research lab for Pennsylvania students.

Information from: Bismarck Tribune, http://www.bismarcktribune.com

This article was from The Associated Press and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.


  1. Just what exactly are they expecting to find that hasn’t been revealed in every other man camp across the spectrum?

  2. *previously occupied by thousands….

  3. I obviously need become more proficient at grant writing. Problem is, I don’t think I could pitch this proposal with a straight face!

    “Really sir, we need to preserve the history of these man camps.” snicker, snicker, bwahahaha. “Never mind, I’ll go back to writing some journalism pieces for Esquire.”

  4. Center for disease control should be doing a study there….

  5. I find this article funny, obviously nobody wants to come to the north slope and do reports on us and our feild is 30+ years older than theirs and bigger. All we have are man camps and we don’t get the luxury of going out to a raster aunt or “running” to town . There is nothing up here at all but work related stuff and yet it’s what we call home 6 or more months a year and I think we keep each others spirits pretty good lol never a dull moment that’s for sure. Gotta stay on your toes in my camp haha.

  6. That looks like the man camp in Tioga. Why waist taxpayer’s money on duch sheit?

  7. Good use of tax dollars !!
    How retarded is this study –

  8. Better late than never I suppose. #TornadoShelters

  9. Good thing they’re being documented, they will soon be a memory. Hahaha. Fk Target Logistics!

  10. Why not just ask the people of louisiana???…..Geeezzzzz