Treading water: Day 3

Parkwood resident Mike Doyle burnt both of his hands in a propane fire inside a tent where he and several other campers had settled for the night. PHOTO: MIKE DOYLE

Wednesday, Dec. 7, update: After three days on the road, Mike Doyle finally reached Rosebud Camp at Standing Rock late this afternoon. And by midnight, he was back on the move seeking emergency medical help. Doyle burnt both of his hands in a propane fire inside a tent where he and several other campers had settled for the night.

“It was an older tank and they were trying to light it,” Doyle said. “Fuel started leaking and caught fire. I was trying to get the tank out of the way and get the others out. They got out first then I got out and I got burnt.”

Doyle obtained emergency treatment at a medical tent nearby. The episode concluded a third consecutive day of uncertainty for the Parkwood resident.

At about 10:30 a.m., authorities reopened Interstate 94. So Doyle checked out of his Jamestown hotel and embarked on the 100-mile drive to Bismarck. There were no official roadblocks, but the route seemed like one big natural obstacle.

“You could barely see. It was still very windy. The snow was blowing so much it was a whiteout,” he said.

Arriving in Bismarck, Doyle dropped off his two passengers — a priest and military veteran from Pittsburgh, along with an insurance broker from Montana — and went shopping. He packed his rented SUV with propane tanks, non-perishable food, paper goods and other necessities for the weather-beaten campers.

Rosebud is one of several demonstrators’ camps positioned along the Cannon Ball River and less than a mile from the planned Dakota Access Pipeline route. Oceti Sakowin is considered the main front-line camp. It sits on disputed land claimed by both the Sioux and the Army Corps of Engineers.

Rosebud is to the rear on the opposite side of the Cannon Ball, about two miles upstream from its confluence with the Lake Oahe portion of the Missouri River. Longtime campers told Doyle that the blizzard and arctic temperatures prompted many of their allies to break camp. Tribal leaders set up a shelter in a community center gym in the nearby village of Cannon Ball.

“It really shook the camp up. A lot of people ended up at Fort Yates south of Cannon Ball and a lot of people ended up at the gym,” Doyle said. “A lot of the elders are of the mindset that you can stay (at camp), but if you’re unsure if you can handle it, you should leave.”

Heat is the main concern at the moment, with daily high temperatures in the single digits and nightly lows at minus-10 or worse.

“They’re using propane and wood,” Doyle said. “People’s shelters were really tested during the blizzard. There were a lot of tents destroyed and tepees destroyed. Some people just picked up and left. There were a lot of (abandoned) cars on the road on the way in. But it’s great to see how many donations are coming into this place from so many, and they keep coming.”

The prevailing view among campers seems to be that the pipeline project suffered a setback on Sunday when the Army Corps of Engineers announced it would deny a construction permit for the Standing Rock route. But their cause is far from over.

“The feeling at camp now is that nothing has changed. The fight is still happening. They don’t want to pick up and leave,” Doyle said. ••

For more on Mike Doyle’s trip to Stand­ing Rock, read the ori­gin­al art­icle here:

ht­tp://www.bsmphilly.com/2016/dec/3/tread­ing-wa­ter/#.WE­ha6qIrLCY

Mike Doyle packs his rented SUV with propane tanks, non-perishable food, paper goods and other necessities for the weather-beaten campers. PHOTO: MIKE DOYLE

After three days on the road, Parkwood resident Mike Doyle finally reached Rosebud Camp at Standing Rock. PHOTO: MIKE DOYLE