Humanizing Man Camps: Type III in the Bakken

The Grand Forks Herald ran a nice story here on the August 2012 field work of Man Camps, this spearheaded by U of North Dakota’s Bret Weber and Bill Caraher. To further humanize Type III Man Camps in western North Dakota, the following is an elaboration on this photo here:

The name of the lady in the purple shirt is Karina Woodford, and she came to North Dakota from Napa, Idaho. In her words, before she made it to the Bakken, Karina said she was “Wasting away… I was homeless for the last couple years,” this largely reflective of the tough economic times in non-North Dakota. Her brother

Photo by John Holmgren.

purchased her a bus ticket, and she arrived in Dickinson in August 2011.

Karina expressed gratitude toward what you might call North Dakota Nice: “These complete strangers in a totally different state saw strong potential in me,” and they have given her work. She eventually made her way up to the Type III camp just south of Tioga, which is where the interview took place. When I interviewed Karina, she had returned from a shower to this Type III camp. She said they often go for days if not weeks before they can find the time to locate and access a shower, and this is something Bret Weber addressed in the Grand Forks Herald article linked above, and something the private sector has started to address here (there may be room for quite a few more of these shower outfits).

Prior to moving here, she said “I was sleeping in a garage.” With the winter approaching, Karina said she and others hope to get into something more substantial than the trailers and tents they are currently living in. Workers in Type III camps often wear a variety of professional hats, and as Karina said, “We don’t worry about tomorrow until tomorrow gets here.”

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