North Dakota tourism update

BISMARCK–The North Dakota Tourism Division has provided an update on what sites are open and which are closed due to widespread flooding in the state.

“Despite the flooding, North Dakota offers a lot of fun things to see and do. We want to make sure travelers are aware that North Dakota is open and can still provide the legendary experiences we’re known for,” North Dakota Tourism Director Sara Otte Coleman said in a statement.

Here are the updates:  

Amidon

·         Burning Coal Vein Campground is closed for the summer due to road repairs. 

Bismarck-Mandan area

  • Open for regular hours:

Bismarck Arts & Galleries Association, Buckstop Junction, Camp Hancock, Chief Looking’s Village, Dacotah Speedway, Dakota Zoo (opens July 1), Double Ditch Indian Village State Historic Site, Emter Family Music Theater, Executive Air Sight-Seeing Flights,  Five Nations Arts Depot, Former Governors’ Mansion, Fort Abraham Lincoln State Park interpretive facilities, Fort Lincoln Trolley, Gateway to Science Center, Hawktree Golf Club, Mandan Municipal Golf Course, ND Game and Fish Lobby Wildlife Museum and OWLS Site, North Dakota Heritage Center, North Dakota State Capitol Building, Pebble Creek Golf Course, Prairie West Golf Course, Raging Rivers Waterpark, Railroad Museum, Sertoma Park (Portions of trails and shelters 10 and 11 are closed; the rest is open.) Superslide Amusement Park, Tom O’Leary Golf Course. 

Mandan Rodeo Days and Fourth of July parade will take place as originally planned. For a detailed schedule, go to: http://mandanrodeo.com/

  • Closed:

Eagles Park, Fort Abraham Lincoln State Park Campground, Graner Park (Sugarloaf Bottoms), Lewis & Clark Riverboat (until further notice), Millennium Legacy Trail (portion between 40th Avenue and Prairie West Golf Course), Raging Fitness, Riverwood Golf Course and various parks along the river. 

Visitors can find updated information about attractions, events and lodging at the following websites:

·         Bismarck-Mandan Convention and Visitors Bureau http://www.bismarckmandancvb.com/

·         Bismarck Parks and Recreation http://www.bisparks.org/ 

Coleharbor

·         Open: Audubon National Wildlife Refuge visitor center, exhibit hall, gift shop, green building tour and one-mile hike.

·         Closed: Audobon National Wildlife Refuge eight-mile auto tour route. 

Devils Lake

·         Sully’s Hill Game Preserve: Road leading out to Sully’s Hill has been intermittently closed due to high water. A portion of the auto tour is open. Access is available to the Visitor Center parking lot and trail head, Sully’s Hill overlook loop and prairie dog town.

·         Grahams Island State Park: Reservations are not being taken, campsites and a boat dock are available.

Fort Yates

·         Until July 6, the road to Fort Yates is down to one lane.

·         Closed: Sitting Bull’s gravesite. 

Killdeer/Little Missouri State Park

·         Little Missouri State Park is open and 80 percent of the trails within the park are accessible.

·         The park is accessible from North Highway 22. The highway is damaged and currently under construction about ¾ of a mile north of the park entrance due to spring runoff. While north of the park entrance is closed, access from the south via Killdeer is not affected by the closure. For current road information, visit the state Deptartment of Transportation website at www.dot.nd.gov/travel-info/. 

Lake Sakakawea area

·         Fishermen can still access the lake from various boat ramps. Boat ramp updates are posted at http://gf.nd.gov/boating/mo-riv-system-boatramps-status.html.

·         Fort Stevenson State Park is open.

·         Lake Sakakawea State Park is open for day use and camping.

·         All resorts are open. 

·         Open with limitations:

Fish hatchery and aquarium are open to pre-scheduled groups only.

Garrison Dam Power Plant is open to pre-scheduled tours (requires a two-week notice), but walk-in tours are not available.

·         Closed: Downstream Campground 

Medora and Theodore Roosevelt National Park

·         Open:

Theodore Roosevelt National Park is open for visitors at both the North Unit (near Watford City) and the South Unit (Medora). 

The Chateau de Mores

Bully Pulpit Golf Course driving range and nine holes, including the course’s signature holes.

The Medora Musical performs nightly at 8:30 p.m. MT.

Medora Campground

Theodore Roosevelt’s cabin

Maah Daah Hey Trail is open, but hikers and bikers are advised to use caution, as sinkholes are developing and a section near Magpie Campground has collapsed.

Sully Creek State Park

Theodore Roosevelt National Park

§  Juniper Campground, North Unit.

§  Cottonwood Campground, South Unit – 41 sites open

·         Closed: Chimney Park

 Minot

·         The North Dakota State Fair will be held as scheduled from July 22–July 30. Concerts, carnival and commercial exhibits will go on as planned

·         4th of July festivities have been moved to Scandinavian Heritage Park.

·         Roosevelt Park Zoo is temporarily closed.

·         Travelers are advised to plan ahead and research route options, as some streets in the city currently are closed. Visit http://www.dot.nd.gov/ for up-to-date information and maps on road closures and detours in the area. 

Mohall

·         Mouse River Park Campground is closed.

 Washburn area

·         Open:

Cross Ranch State Park visitor center, including Sanger campground and Sanger boat ramp.

Knife River Indian Villages National Historic Site near Stanton is open with some limited trails.

The Lewis & Clark Interpretive Center.

·         Closed:

Fort Mandan 

Watford City

·         Closed: Summit Trail in the Little Missouri National Grassland. 

Events canceled or postponed

·         Canceled:

Minot

§  NoDak Races, canceled until the time of the North Dakota State Fair

Washburn

§  Fort Mandan Pet Walk 

·         Postponed:

Killdeer

§  Little Missouri State Park’s 40th Anniversary Celebration, no date determined

Mandan

§  Buggies-N-Blues, rescheduled for July 30-31

§  Frontier Days at Fort Lincoln, rescheduled for Aug. 13-14

Minot

§  Tops in Blue, date to be determined

§  Taube Museum of Art (classes and rummage sale), date to be determined 

Amtrak

·         No service in North Dakota. 

Camping

If camping is part of your travel plans, the North Dakota Parks and Recreation Department is keeping tabs on affected state parks, trails and campgrounds. Visit http://www.parkrec.nd.gov/for updates.

North Dakota tourism update w/video

BISMARCK – Most of North Dakota’s tourist attractions are open as usual this summer, but flooding in the western part of the state is hitting some destinations hard.

Medora, the state’s top attraction, faced Little Missouri River flooding this spring, but is now “in better shape than anybody’s ever seen it,” said Randy Hatzenbuhler, president of the Theodore Roosevelt Medora Foundation.

“It’s almost like you brought Ireland and set it on top of the Badlands. It’s so lush and green,” he said.

Bully Pulpit Golf Course opened nine holes this week and continues cleanup on the remaining nine. The open holes offer “a real flavor” of the course’s scenery, Hatzenbuhler said. (Golfers, click the Bully Pulpit link to see which holes are open.)

He said he’s received phone calls from people saying they’re sorry Medora is closed for the summer. But the town and attractions are ready for visitors, he said.

“It’s up and running,” Hatzenbuhler said. “Every activity that anybody’s ever done in Medora, they’re doing it.”

Other attractions aren’t so lucky. The Minot zoo is still closed because of Souris River flooding, and the Bismarck zoo and the Lewis and Clark Riverboat in Bismarck remain closed because of Missouri River flooding.

Fort Mandan in Washburn also faces Missouri River flooding problems, said David Borlaug, president of the Lewis & Clark Fort Mandan Foundation. Workers built a 9-foot berm around the visitor center and sandbagged Fort Mandan. Both are expected to become islands.

The Lewis & Clark Interpretive Center along U.S. Highway 83 is high and dry.

“However, the fort is lost for the season and, who knows, perhaps much of next year as well,” Borlaug said.

He hopes tourists still come to the interpretive center and support the site even if they can’t go to Fort Mandan. Borlaug is hoping for the best this summer, but said the flooding will be a financial hit for tourist attractions in the western part of the state.

“The cumulative impact of this is certainly going to be in the millions of dollars,” he said.

In Mandan, Fort Abraham Lincoln and its attractions are open, with the exception of the campground, said Executive Director Tracy Potter.

But the Lewis and Clark Riverboat in Bismarck isn’t open, likely resulting in at least a $100,000 loss in revenue, Potter said.

“Losing an entire season, it’s devastating,” he said. “This is a huge hit to a nonprofit organization.”

The riverboat had more weddings and charters booked than ever before this year, Potter said. He’s now looking into alternative options to bring in revenue.

Minot Zoo Director David Merritt also doesn’t know when his attraction will open again. The staff is spread thin taking care of animals distributed to various locations, he said. Most of the animals are within the county, but some are housed at zoos in other states.

“Our ability to open hinges really on the river,” Merritt said.

North Dakota Tourism Director Sara Otte Coleman said they don’t know yet what assistance there may be for attractions hit hard financially this season.

The state is trying to get information out to the public to encourage them to still travel.

“The bulk of the attractions throughout the state are still opened and ready and receiving lots of visitors on a daily basis,” she said. “North Dakota is not closed. There’s a lot to do and see.”

She advises travelers to plan ahead this summer and look for travel updates at ndtourism.com.

N.D. Tourism Division provides flood update

BISMARCK–As communities in western North Dakota continue to fight floods, the state Tourism Division sent out an update on Friday to let people know the status of tourist attractions.

Here is the update:

Amidon

·         Burning Coal Vein Campground is closed for the summer due to road repairs. 

Bismarck-Mandan area

  • Open for regular hours:
    • Bismarck Arts & Galleries Association, Buckstop Junction, Camp Hancock, Chief Looking’s Village, Dacotah Speedway, Double Ditch Indian Village State Historic Site, Emter Family Music Theater, Executive Air Sight-Seeing Flights,  Five Nations Arts Depot, Former Governors’ Mansion, Fort Abraham Lincoln Stat Park interpretive facilities, Fort Lincoln Trolley (tentatively scheduled to open June 5), Gateway to Science Center, Hawktree Golf Club, Mandan Municipal Golf Course, ND Game and Fish Lobby Wildlife Museum and OWLS Site, North Dakota Heritage Center, North Dakota State Capitol Building, Pebble Creek Golf Course, Prairie West Golf Course, Railroad Museum, Tom O’Leary Golf Course.
  • Closed:
    • Dakota Zoo, Eagles Park, Fort Abraham Lincoln State Park Campground, Lewis & Clark Riverboat (until further notice), Raging Rivers Waterpark, Riverwood Golf Course, Superslide Amusement Park, and various riverside parks. 

Visitors can find updated information about attractions, events and lodging at the following websites:

·         Bismarck-Mandan Convention and Visitors Bureau http://www.bismarckmandancvb.com/

·         Bismarck Parks and Recreation http://www.bisparks.org/ 

Coleharbor

·         Audobon National Wildlife Refuge’s eight-mile auto tour route is closed. 

Devils Lake

·         Sullys Hill Game Preserve: Road leading out to Sullys Hill has been intermittently closed due to high water. A portion of the auto tour is open. 

Killdeer

·         Little Missouri State Park is open, but can’t be accessed from North Highway 22. 

Lake Sakakawea area

·         Fishermen can still access the lake from various boat ramps. Boat ramp updates are posted at http://gf.nd.gov/boating/mo-riv-system-boatramps-status.html

·         Fort Stevenson State Park is open.

·         Lake Sakakawea State Park is open for day use and camping.

·         All resorts are open. 

Minot

·         The Roosevelt Park Zoo is temporarily closed; most visitor services remain open. (You can find more about the zoo evacuation here.) 

Theodore Roosevelt National Park and Medora

·         Open:

o    Theodore Roosevelt National Park is open for visitors at both the North Unit (near Watford City) and the South Unit (Medora). 

o    The Chateau de Mores.

o    Bully Pulpit Golf Course driving range.

o    The Medora Musical will open June 10, as originally planned.

·         Closed:

o    Bully Pulpit Golf Course is temporarily closed for post-flood clean up.

o    The Medora Campground has a targeted opening date of July 1. Updates will be posted to Medora.com if the campground opens sooner.

§  Campers and RVers can still stay in Medora at the Red Trail Campground, which accommodates both tents and RVs.

o    Portions of Theodore Roosevelt National Park

§  Juniper Campground, North Unit.

§  Cottonwood Campground, South Unit

§  Theodore Roosevelt’s cabin

o    Sully Creek State Park and Sully Creek Campground.

o    Chimney Park

o    Maah Daah Hey Trail – closed near the cliff at Magpie Campground. 

Washburn area

·         Closed:

o    The Lewis & Clark Interpretive Center (tentatively opens June 13).

o    Fort Mandan

o    Cross Ranch State Park campground and trails; Sanger boat ramp.

·         Open:

o    Cross Ranch State Park visitor center and Sanger campground.

o    Knife River Indian Villages National Historic Site, near Stanton, is open, with some limited trails. 

Events canceled or postponed

·         Canceled:

o    Bluegrass Festival,  June 17-18, Cross Ranch State Park

o    Summer Kickoff at Fort Mandan

·         Postponed:

o    Little Missouri State Park’s 40th Anniversary Celebration

o    Buggies-n-Blues, Mandan, postponed tentatively for July 30-31

Cowboy Hall of Fame bill dies

BISMARCK–The House killed a bill on Monday that would have provided $250,000 in state money to help fund an addition to the North Dakota Cowboy Hall of Fame in Medora.

Rep. Bob Skarphol, R-Tioga, said the state Commerce Department already has a budget for tourism infrastructure funding that could be used for this project.

He said the Appropriations Committee did not see it appropriate to allocate money to a specific project.

Rep. Keith Kempenich, R-Bowman, defended the bill, saying individual legislators should be able to promote an idea out of their district.

Rep. Nancy Johnson, R-Dickinson, said the goal is to build a museum addition to house a large collection given to the Theodore Roosevelt Medora Foundation by the Harold and Sheila Schafer family.

There are many items that would be valuable to have on display for visitors, she said.

The bill died on a 38-55 vote.

N.D. holiday tourism events

BISMARCK — The state Tourism Division suggests these family-friendly events this holiday season.

15th annual Medora’s Old Fashioned Cowboy Christmas

Medora

Dec. 3-4

Cowboys and cowgirls of all ages come together for the 15th annual event. Activities include wreath ceremony, musical entertainment, eats on the steet, cowboy poetry and fireworks display. http://www.medorandchamber.com/ 701-623-4910.

Frontier Winter at Fort Union

Fort Union Trading Post National Historic Site, near Williston

Dec. 4-5

Journey to Fort Union Trading Post National Historic Site for a hands-on look at frontier life. The Fort Union Muzzle Loaders will occupy Fort Union, acting the role of American Fur Company employees during the winter. www.nps.gov/fous/index.htm.   701-572-9083

Custer Christmas

Fort Abraham Lincoln State Park, Mandan

Dec. 11-12

Experience an 1875 Christmas with General Custer on the Dakota prairie. Sing carols and make cookies and decorations. www.fortlincoln.com 701-667-6380.

Christmas at the Confluence

Missouri-Yellowstone Confluence Interpretive Center, Williston

Dec. 12

Enjoy a wonderful winter concert, make your own hand-crafted ornaments and enjoy special treats during this special Christmas at the Confluence. 701-572-9034

Holiday Train

Hankinson, Enderlin, Harvey, Minot, Carpio

Dec. 15-16

Lighted Canadian Pacific Train rolls through North Dakota with stops in several North Dakota towns. On-board musical entertainment at each stop.  http://www.ndtourism.com/whatdo/events/festival-details.asp?AID=4230

Holly Jolly Zoo Days

Red River Zoo, Fargo

Dec. 18-19

Take the family to the zoo this holiday season and enjoy a variety of holiday activities, visit with Santa Claus, ride the carousel then finish up with hot cocoa and cookies. http://www.redriverzoo.org/ 701-277-9240

Papa’s Polar Patch

Papa’s Pumpkin Patch, Bismarck

Dec. 26-Jan. 3

Visitors of all ages will discover snow-covered bale mazes and caves, old-fashioned sled rides, horse-drawn sleigh rides, Slide Mountain, the Polar Pond ice-skating rink, Papas’ville and more. http://www.papaspolarpatch.com/. 701-224-1253.

These are just some of the North Dakota activities and events in December. For more information, go to NDtourism.com

N.D. tourism strong during July 4 weekend

News release from the ND Tourism Division:

 

This year’s July Fourth holiday weekend prompted many people to get out and explore North Dakota’s various attractions and state parks. North Dakota Tourism reports strong visitation during the July Fourth holiday period, defined from July 1 to July 5.

 

State attractions pleased with visitation

From east to west and north to south, many North Dakota attractions experienced positive visitation.

 

The International Peace Garden near Dunseith attracted both Americans celebrating the long July Fourth holiday weekend, as well as Canadians celebrating a long Canada Day (July 1) weekend and it showed in this year’s numbers.

 

Doug Hevenor, CEO of the International Peace Garden, reported July Fourth weekend visitation of 4,200 visitors. “Our best weekend last year was during the three-day Métis Festival, which attracted about 5,000 visitors,” Hevenor said. “So, this year’s July Fourth weekend visitation numbers are great. I’m very pleased.”

Hevenor stated many people have been curious about the work being done to the Sunken Garden and the Interpretive Center. “It was great to see the large crowds during the July Fourth holiday weekend. Everything from our retail sales to our food sales reflected the strong visitation numbers.”

In the east, Bonanzaville USA in West Fargo reported a 400% increase in visitation. This year’s July Fourth holiday weekend brought in 434 people, compared to 106 last year during the same timeframe.

Out west, Annette Schilling, public relations and marketing director for the Theodore Roosevelt Medora Foundation, reported “Medora was hustling and bustling with people.”

According to Schilling, attendance at the nightly Medora Musical was up more than 14% from last year. More than 4,500 people attended the Medora Musical during the July Fourth weekend, compared to 3,950 for the same holiday weekend last year.

In addition, TRMF’s hotel occupancy rates were at 99% on July 3 and 97% on July 4. Schilling said these hotel occupancy rates were comparable to last year’s; however, with the recent expansion of the Rough Riders Hotel and Conference Center, TRMF now has 68 additional hotel rooms.

Camping up at North Dakota State Parks

Many people took advantage of the nice weather by pitching tents or hauling a camper to North Dakota’s state parks. According to North Dakota State Parks and Recreation, the number of campers for this year’s July Fourth weekend was 23,431, an increase of 1,355 or slightly above 6% from last year.

“AAA predicted travel during this July Fourth holiday weekend would increase 17.1 percent nationwide,” said Sara Otte Coleman, director of North Dakota Tourism. “The increase in visitation and camping numbers for North Dakota’s major attractions and state parks during July 1-5 is a positive sign that people are getting out on the road and exploring the various things to see and do throughout our state.”
 

Discover America creates Top 10 ND list

DiscoverAmerica.com has posted a list of Top 10 Things to Do in North Dakota on its Facebook page. What do you think of the list?

Theodore Roosevelt National Park, Medora and Watford City

Scenic splendor in the ruggedly beautiful North Dakota Badlands, named for the 26th President of the United States and managed by the National Park Service. This beautiful national park has three units, all offering distinctly different views. The Maah Daah Hey Trail is a single-track trail recognized as one of the top mountain biking trails in the U.S. Named an EPIC Ride. Four fenced overnight campsites with hitching posts, vault toilets and campfire rings are available along the trail. The trail is open for hiking, biking and horseback riding use all year.

Fargo Air Museum, Fargo

Come and visit the Fargo Air Museum and see the beautiful and unique aircraft on display, including Goodyear F2G-1D Super Corsair – the world’s only flying Super Corsair; North American P-51D Mustang; a Japanese Zero – Mitsubishi A6M Reisen Zero Fighter; Duggy the Douglas DC-3/C-47 Skytrain; and many more.

The North Dakota Heritage Center, Bismarck

State’s largest museum has an outstanding collection of Plains Indian artifacts and interpretive exhibits that feature North Dakota’s varied American Indian, military and agricultural history and prehistory.

Medora Musical and Pitchfork Fondue, Medora

Broadway-style musical show in spectacular Burning Hills Amphitheatre. The surrounding hills resound with music and laughter at this fast-paced, song-and-dance professional extravaganza.rior to the Medora Musical, experience unique dining atop of one of the area’s highest bluffs offering a spectacular view of the scenic Badlands and the town of Medora. Ribeye steaks are fondued "western style" with all the fixin’s. Live entertainment.

International Peace Garden, Dunseith

2,339-acre botanical garden commemorating peace between the United States and Canada. More than 150,000 flowers, floral clock, 911 memorial, Peace Chapel, Peace Tower, water features, floral displays, hiking, camping, dining, birding and youth camps.

Norsk Høstfest, Minot

The largest Scandinavian festival in North America, the Norsk Hostfest celebrates the heritage and culture of the five Nordic countries with ethnic cuisine, crafts and world-class entertainment.

Mandan Rodeo Days, Mandan

A three-day PRCA rodeo, featuring rodeo action as well as chuckwagon races, gigantic fireworks and pageants. Other activities include Art in the Park festival, carnival, street dances, parades, pitchfork fondue and much more.

United Tribes International Powwow, Bismarck

Contest powwow attracts 20,000 participants and spectators. The annual event is a celebration showcasing "champion" dancers and drums from across the U.S. and Canada, competing for top honors. Also features international cultural exchange dance groups as a special feature. Miss Indian Nations Pageant, Youth Day.

Fort Abraham Lincoln State Park, Mandan

General George Custer’s last home is reconstructed, as is the central barracks, granary, commissary and a stable. Tours take visitors back to 1875, the year before the 7th Cavalry rode to the Little Bighorn. Visitor Center and tours of On-A-Slant Indian Village’s five reconstructed earthlodges are also available. Fort Abraham Lincoln State Park offers the high-tech treasure hunting known as geocaching.

Lewis & Clark Interpretive Center/Fort Mandan, Washburn

This interpretive site contains artifacts from every tribe the explorers encountered on their journey. The center’s Bergquist Gallery features a rare complete set of the printed artworks of Swiss artist Karl Bodmer. Fort Mandan is the reconstructed winter home of the Lewis & Clark Expedition in 1804-1805. Located on the banks of the Missouri River, the fort was a place of informational and cultural exchange between the explorers and the Northern Plains Indians.