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Are you working for the weekend?

Yes! It’s almost Memorial Weekend which means, for most people, a nice three-day weekend. Last year our Memorial Weekend update included information about flooding and closures.  This year we’re happy to say – Missouri River boat ramps are open!  All 18-holes of Bully Pulpit Golf Course are open!  Campgrounds in the Badlands are open!  The Dakota Zoo is open!  And that’s just the tip of the iceberg for fun experiences you can enjoy this weekend and all summer long in North Dakota.

Looking for some North Dakota travel tips?  Be sure to pick up an official North Dakota Travel Guide and state map.  They’re free and if you don’t already have one you can pick them up at rest areas or order online and we’ll mail them to you.  Check your routes online with the ND Dept. of Transportation.  A travel information map will alert you to any road closures or construction.

Here are a few events on our weekend calendar and you can find many more at www.NDtourism.com.

  • Memorial Day is Military Appreciation Day in all North Dakota State Parks which means free admission for veterans and current service members.
  • The Sky Dance Sakakawea kite festival will take place at Fort Stevenson State Park – May 26-28.
  • How about a Wild West Shootout?  The gunfire goes down at 3 p.m. on Monday in the Frontier Village in Jamestown.
  • Kick back with some cowboy poetry, May 26 in Medora.

Memorial Day services are held in communities around the state. One of the most notable takes place in Sherwood where veterans from the U.S. and Canada exchange flags at the International Boundary.  A program and parade will follow with North Dakota’s Lieutenant Governor Drew Wrigley as keynote speaker.

Enjoy your weekend and be sure to share your vacation stories and pictures on our Facebook page.

 
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Posted by on May 23, 2012 in Events

 

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Fishing – no ice, no waiting – in North Dakota

I’ve posted before about my husband – a Minnesotan who has become one of North Dakota’s biggest promoters because of the accessible (and pretty fabulous) hunting and fishing here.  Well this guy LOVES his Missouri River.  It’s no secret that this has been the warmest winter on record in North Dakota.  Most of the state had little to no snow all season and now the daytime highs have consistently been in the 50s, 60s and even 70s from border-to-border.  So what does that have to do with my dear hubby and fishing?  As I was being informed of the boat ramps that have opened in Bismarck and Mandan he also reminded me that in some states, there’s a season opener that’s still weeks away. Here in North Dakota, our walleye/pike season never “closes” or “opens.”  And as many anglers know – that spring bite can be awesome.  HOW awesome?  Just last week a new state record lake trout was caught.

Royce Johnston of New Town reeled in the 16-pound, 6-ounce lake trout from the Garrison Dam Tailrace (on the Missouri River). The 33.5-inch fish broke the old record by more than two pounds. The previous record of 14 pounds, 4 ounces was taken from the Tailrace in 1982.

Fishing North Dakota is easy! Just visit the Game and Fish Department for licensing, waterways and boat ramps. You can also get the latest with the North Dakota Outdoors on Facebook.  Follow @OutdoorsND on Twitter for great information around the state because, not only is the fishing open, golf courses are opening too! The first we’ve heard of are Heart River in Dickinson, Pebble Creek in Bismarck and the Edgewood and Rose Creek courses in Fargo. Several others have told us that they could be opening in the coming weeks!

And if you happen to be going out tomorrow on the Missouri River – it’s expected to be 80-degrees and you can look for my hubby in a green Fisher.

 
 

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Welcome to North Dakota!

Two-hundred-seven (207) years ago today, the Lewis and Clark Expedition crossed into what is now North Dakota.  During their time, it was known as the Upper Missouri, or the Great Bend of the Missouri, or Upper Louisiana.   For Lewis and Clark, North Dakota was the transition zone between the familiar and the unfamiliar, between lands that had already been mapped, named and described and terra incognita.

They hadn’t originally planned to winter with the 4,500 Mandan and Hidatsa Indians of the Knife River earthlodge villages.  Clark planned to get as far as the “Rock mountains” before winter and Lewis expressed uncertainty about where they would stop.  But when the captains began to notice ice forming on their rowing oars and experienced their first northern plains snowfall on October 21, 1804, they realized that they must soon establish winter quarters.  Five days later, they made their first substantial contact with the Mandan Indians, who had a reputation for being friendly to visitors.  And they ended up staying 197 days on that outward journey.

North Dakota continues to have a welcoming and friendly reputation.  In fact, Cambridge University called North Dakota the most friendly state to visit.  And here, the Lewis & Clark story can be discovered by modern explorers.

A reconstructed Fort Mandan is a full-size replica refurbished in the era.  (The original fort burned down sometime before the expedition’s return voyage in 1806.)

At Knife River Indian Villages National Historic Site, Stanton, visitors can step into a reconstructed earthlodge, walk to the Sakakawea Village site, and in the modern visitors center, view traditional clothing, tools, art and more.

The Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center in Washburn is the comprehensive stop to learn, see and experience the Corps of Discovery.  These sites are open year-round and winter events at Fort Mandan mean you can step back into the period when Lewis and Clark walked the same trails.

Details of the Lewis and Clark Expedition in North Dakota can be found in the book, A Vast and Open Plain, written by Clay Jenkinson.

 
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Posted by on October 14, 2011 in Attractions, History

 

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Flood update from North Dakota Tourism

There is an emergency in Minot, North Dakota right now, along with several communities along the Souris River – for travel information, contact the Minot Convention and Visitors BureauStatewide flood information is available along with travel information from North Dakota’s travel counselors [1-800-435-5663].

Actor Josh Duhamel offers support for his hometown

Concern and support for Minot has been flowing in faster than the Souris, including from Transformers 3 Actor Josh Duhamel who called Minot this morning from Moscow (where he is promoting the new movie).  He also told Entertainment Tonight about how people can donate to the Red Cross efforts in Minot.  How very cool and respectable that this Hollywood Star has such deep North Dakota roots.  Be sure follow Duhamel on Facebook and Twitter.  Watch his call-in with this YouTube clip and his ET interview.

I also found the words written on the Visit Minot blog yesterday to be provoking and inspirational:

Minot is facing one of the most devastating floods the city has ever seen …  The community has come together to help family, friends, neighbors, coworkers, and in some cases perfect strangers … We know there is going to be along road ahead of us … But there is no doubt we will make it through this … All it will take is a little Magic.

For travelers wondering about Minot here’s a snapshot of closures:

Additional flood news

While the Souris River makes national headlines in Minot, the Missouri River continues to create additional news throughout the country.  Here in North Dakota, the water level along the Missouri River is stable.  Our friends in Williston report that the swollen river has given Fort Union Trading Post National Historic Site a historically authentic experience – as it would have appeared during the times of fur trade.  All visitor experiences are open in Williston.

Lake Sakakawea is certainly at an all-time height.  Water temperatures are rising and reports are trickling in that the walleye bite is warming up as well.  All resorts, campgrounds and boat ramps are open on the big lake.  Check road reports for closures and construction news.

In Washburn, the Lewis & Clark Interpretive Center is open, but there are no tours at historic Fort Mandan.  And across the river near Stanton, Knife River Indian Villages National Historic Site is also open.

Bismarck-Mandan does have closures at campgrounds and marinas.  There are some road closures and traffic limitations.  Visitors should know that all shopping, dining and most attractions are open including Raging Rivers Waterpark, the Heritage Center, Custer House at Fort Abraham Lincoln State Park and many more.  Softball players and their families coming to the Capitol City this weekend for the McQuade’s tournament will have only a few road construction detours to worry about.  The Bismarck Marathon, which will take place September 17, will have a new route.

While there is a no-wake zone along the Missouri River to the headwaters of Lake Oahe (just south of Bismarck-Mandan), fishing continues with many access points in this giant lake.

Along the Little Missouri River – all visitor centers and scenic drives in both the North Unit and South Unit of Theodore Roosevelt National Park are open (and spectacular).  Campgrounds have re-opened in the park and in Medora – where the famed Medora Musical and Pitchfork Fondue are being offered nightly (through September 10) and all visitor services are open.  Bully Pulpit Golf Course has 9 holes open and playable.

And in Devils Lake, there is some road construction and road closures due to the mystifying lake – Fort Totten State Historic Site is open, Sullys Hill National Game Preserve is open upon appointment, the Spirit Lake Casino is open as well as all visitor services in Devils Lake and numerous boat ramps.  Don’t forget to visit the Lake Region Heritage Center Museum – it’s a gem!

While news in Minot, Bismarck, Medora and other cities flood-affected have created a lot of concern – we’d like to also note that adventurous, fun and memorable experiences await you throughout North Dakota.  We have thousands of events, historical sites, museums, nature areas and so much more.  A favorite of mine – the F-M RedHawks are at home in Fargo this weekend.  Our guests love North Dakota – read their stories at www.RULegendary.com – and then come back and share your own!

 

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North Dakota Travel Updates

Don't let Mother Nature mess with your vacation plans. Events like the Fargo Ribfest are coming soon and most attractions are OPEN!

It’s the season of Legendary fun!  Whether you’re seeking to follow the footsteps of North Dakota legends like Theodore Roosevelt or Lewis and Clark, or blaze your own trail of discovery North Dakota has so much to discover.  As you’re planning, we’d like to share a variety of updates and travel resources.  Unfortunately, North Dakota has also been affected by some of the severe weather impacting the U.S.  Rest assured, there’s plenty to see, do and explore and our fabulous travel counselors can help answer any questions you may have during your planning and traveling.

Theodore Roosevelt National Park and Medora

Theodore Roosevelt National Park is open for visitors at both the North Unit (near Watford City) and the South Unit (Medora).  Campgrounds are closed, but will be reopened as soon as waters from the Little Missouri River (nicknamed the Little Muddy) recede.

The Chateau de Mores State Historic Site will reopen for the season on June 1.  Bully Pulpit Golf Course is currently closed but workers are quickly cleaning the course.  All other Medora attractions are open.  The Medora Musical will open as scheduled June 10.

Missouri River and Bismarck-Mandan

Due to unprecedented record and late snowfall in the Rocky Mountains, record inflows of water have raised Lake Sakakawea resulting in extreme releases from the Garrison Dam and into the Missouri River.  Fishermen are still getting out on the river and need to be aware of the no-wake zone from the Garrison Dam to the McLean Bottoms/headwaters of Lake Oahe.

In Bismarck-Mandan, there are closures at the Dakota Zoo, Riverwood Golf Course, the Lewis & Clark Riverboat, boat ramps and recreational trails.  You can find information at the Bismarck Parks and Recreation office and get information on other attractions, events and lodging at the Bismarck Mandan Convention and Visitors Bureau.

Minot

Scandinavian Heritage Park in Minot

Record rainfall amounts have caused flooding along the Souris River and into Minot.  The Minot Convention and Visitors Bureau is working hard to assist travelers and the Minot community.  The Roosevelt Park Zoo is temporarily closed; most visitor services remain open.  Please call ahead to verify your travel plans at this time.

Statewide Information

If camping is part of your travel plan, the North Dakota Parks and Recreation Department is keeping tabs on affected state parks, trails and campgrounds.  Likewise, the North Dakota Department of Transportation has travel maps to help guide you.

The message:  Please just plan ahead to make sure your vacation goes off without a hitch!  We hope your North Dakota trip is a great adventure for all the right reasons! For updates on travel information AND fun events – be sure to “like” Travel North Dakota on facebook and @TravelND on twitter

 

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Memorial Day Weekend Travel Updates

Kicking off your summer with a Memorial Day Weekend vacation?  North Dakota Tourism invites you to have some Legendary fun!  As you’re planning, we’d like to share a variety of updates and travel resources.  Certain parts of the state are experiencing the joys of Mother Nature – but rest assured, there’s plenty to see, do and explore.

Theodore Roosevelt National Park and Medora

Theodore Roosevelt National Park is open for visitors at both the North Unit (near Watford City) and the South Unit (Medora).  Campgrounds are closed, but will be reopened as soon as waters from the Little Missouri River (nicknamed the Little Muddy) recede.

Record water levels in Medora are currently affecting access to Bully Pulpit Golf Course and the Chateau de Mores State Historic Site.  Please call ahead to check the status of attractions in Medora as you’re planning your trip.  The Medora Musical will open as scheduled June 10.

Missouri River and Bismarck-Mandan

Due to unprecedented record and late snowfall in the Rocky Mountains, record inflows of water have raised Lake Sakakawea resulting in extreme releases from the Garrison Dam and into the Missouri River.  Fishermen are still getting out on the river and just need to be aware of the no-wake zone from the Garrison Dam to the McLean Bottoms/headwaters of Lake Oahe.

In Bismarck-Mandan, there are closures at the Dakota Zoo, Riverwood Golf Course, the Lewis & Clark Riverboat, boat ramps and recreational trails.  You can find information at the Bismarck Parks and Recreation office and get information on other attractions, events and lodging at the Bismarck Mandan Convention and Visitors Bureau.

Statewide Information

If camping is part of your travel plan, the North Dakota Parks and Recreation Department is keeping tabs on affected state parks, trails and campgrounds.  Likewise, the North Dakota Department of Transportation has travel maps to help guide you.

The message:  Please just plan ahead to make sure your vacation goes off without a hitch!  We hope your North Dakota trip is a great adventure for all the right reasons!  For example, consider some of the FUN to be had this weekend:

For updates on travel information AND fun events – be sure to “like” Travel North Dakota on facebook and @TravelND on twitter.

 

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Fishing North Dakota

I answered the phone yesterday to this greeting, “I can’t take it anymore.”  Thinking that something may be wrong, I got concerned.  The response was, “Keith keeps texting me about all the fish he’s catching; I’ve gotta get out there.”  And thus began my husband’s afternoon on the Missouri River.  That was followed up by this morning’s journey to the Missouri River.  And in these two days of fishing I’ve gotten these photos texted to me.

 

You could say the fishing in North Dakota is already pretty good … and considering anglers haven’t gotten out on Lake Sakakawea and Devils Lake yet, it’s only going to get better.

The season doesn’t close/open for North Dakota fishing, with the exception of paddlefishing – which opens on Sunday, May 1. The season is scheduled to run through the end of May, though state wildlife officials will close it early to protect the fish population if it appears too many paddlefish will be caught. That’s happened eight times in the past 10 years.  North Dakota’s Game and Fish Department has the info on this exclusive season.

The paddlefish is one of the largest freshwater fish found in North America.  It’s often desired for its caviar, and a Williston nonprofit called North Star Caviar harvests the paddlefish eggs and sells them to raise money for community grants and paddlefish research.

A new paddlefish state record was set in 2010 when then 16-year-old Alex Mergen snagged one weighing at least 130 pounds.

 
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Posted by on April 29, 2011 in Fishing, Just for Fun

 

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I love winter!

Sundogs photographed at the University of Mary, Bismarck - photo by Erica Hager

The headline is 100% completely true in my case. Winter is my favorite season. I love the snow. I love the sparkle. I love the cold. “What?!!” you ask, “You love cold?” Yes – I love the cold. North Dakota was making some headlines this week for being colder than some places in Antarctica. Here in Bismarck this morning it was -25°. (As I write this at noon, it’s already warmed up to 11°. A 30/40/50-degree temperature shift is not uncommon here.)

You might wonder how anyone could love the cold. This morning on my way to a workshop, I drove over the Missouri River.  The River hasn’t completely iced over, so a thick fog was rising from the open water (which was obviously warmer than the air temperature). That fog is cool. The crispness of the air – literally cool. It makes your senses alert, and you hear how loud the crunch of footsteps become. There’s a sharpness to your breath. The air is so clean that the sun dogs around the sun seem to make it twice as bright.

Without winter there wouldn’t be snowmobiling, sledding, outdoor skating rinks, ice fishing, snowkiting, cross-country skiing, snowboarding, dog sledding and much more. What’s your favorite winter activity? Where do you find the beauty of this season?

 
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Posted by on January 19, 2011 in Winter Fun

 

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The time zone puzzle of North Dakota

According to the History Channel, at exactly noon on this day, American and Canadian railroads begin using four continental time zones to end the confusion of dealing with thousands of local times. The bold move was emblematic of the power shared by the railroad companies.

There is often confusion about the time zones in North Dakota – which does indeed have two.  And one area of greatest confusion relates to Theodore Roosevelt National Park.  The Park is divided into two units – a south unit (with entrance in Medora) and a north unit (with entrance near Watford City).  The south unit of the Park is in the mountain time zone, while the north unit (at least at the visitor’s center) is in the central time zone.

So how does the time zone boundary work in North Dakota?

The eastern and central regions of North Dakota are in the central time zone – same as Minneapolis, Chicago, Dallas, etc.  From the South Dakota border, the boundary follows Highway 65/31 and the county lines of Sioux, Morton and Oliver Counties to the Missouri River near Hazen.  From that point the area on the west/south side of the Missouri River/Lake Sakakawea is mountain time zone, while the area east/north of the Missouri River is in the central time zone.

At the southwestern border of the Fort Berthold Reservation, the boundary jogs west, through Dunn and McKenzie Counties (and the north unit of TRNP) until the Montana border where it follows the border into Canada.

Stand in the right place – and you could be in two time zones at once in North Dakota!  Your cell phone won’t know what to think!!

 
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Posted by on November 18, 2010 in Family Fun, History

 

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So much to do this weekend, so little time!

As we sit and discuss upcoming events in our tourism office, and what everyone has planned for this “hopefully nice weather” weekend that kicks off today, we started realizing that (in our opinion) the kickoff of summer is happening this weekend! This is when we all realize there is much to prepare for, so we scurry back to our offices to get some work done. Both the Fort Union Rendezvous (19th Century fur trading fair)- Fort Union, Williston and the North Dakota High School Finals Rodeo in Bowman started yesterday goes through until Sunday (20th). The 20th Annual Missouri River Bluegrass Festival at Cross Ranch State Park starts tonight, as well as Happy Days Festival in Lisbon and of course, Lewis and Clark Days in Washburn. It doesn’t stop there…. Rally in the Valley kicks off tonight in Valley City and goes until Sunday and Aneta is celebrating its 50th Annual Turkey Barbecue on Sunday only. Save the best for last for all you motorcycle enthusiasts, Cavalier will be holding its 14th Annual Cavalier Motorcycle Ride-In on Sunday that will attract more than 600 motorcycle travelers. Wooff… that is a lot of events so I hope all of you are ready for North Dakota’s first official crazy- fun summer weekend! We all sure are!

 

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