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Tag Archives: North Dakota

Travel back in time when you experience the Custer story

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s May 17. One-hundred-thirty-six years ago this day Lt. Col. George Armstrong Custer and the 7th Cavalry based at Fort Abraham Lincoln in the Dakota Territory left their post and journeyed west on the Centennial Campaign into the valley of the Little Big Horn.  It was an attempt to force non-treaty Indians back to their respective reservations.  Outnumbered, outgunned and outmaneuvered, over 260 men were killed during the ensuing battle, including all five of Custer’s companies.

The Custer story is legendary in North Dakota – shared with visitors at Fort Abraham Lincoln State Park south of Mandan and along the Custer Trail Auto Tour through the Little Missouri Grasslands near Medora.

May 17th also marks the 25th anniversary of the groundbreaking for Custer House – the reconstructed home of George and Libby Custer. Visitors to Fort Abraham Lincoln can tour Custer House and the rebuilt cavalry post commissary, barracks and outbuildings.  They can hear the stories of how the first fort – Fort McKeen – was created to protect railway expansion. By 1874, then known as Fort Abraham Lincoln, it had become the largest and most important fort in the Dakota Territory and was the starting point of Black Hills Expansion to confirm rumors of gold.

Daily tours are available at Fort Lincoln and at On-A-Slant Indian Village - another “don’t miss” attraction of Fort Abraham Lincoln State Park.  On-A-Slant was a large village of the Mandan people dating to around 1575.  It suffered greatly from a smallpox epidemic in 1781.  Visitors today are guided by interpreters as they tour reconstructed earthlodges and hear stories of the Mandan people.

 
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Posted by on May 17, 2012 in Attractions, History

 

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Forget the bait, catch a prehistoric monster!

Paddlefish

North Dakota is good at extremes: extreme weather, extreme landscape and of course extreme fishing! Wintertime is often a time where our anglers focus on ice fishing, tiny rod over a stationary hole waiting to catch loads of panfish in below freezing temperatures. The exact opposite of that would be paddlefishing! Hunting a single 100+ pound fish with a rod as thick as a pool cue and twice as long in gorgeous May weather.

May 1st anglers will line the shores of the Missouri Yellowstone confluence area in search of the prehistoric-monster-hundred-pound paddlefish, sometimes called spoonbill. And forget the bait, snaggers tie huge treble hooks to heavy test line trying to get their hook into the mouth of a fish as it happens to swim by.

The season opens May 1st and a paddlefish tag is required, this can be bought at the same time and places fishing licenses are bought and are required in addition to the regular fishing license. They are $7.50 for nonresidents and $3 for residents. The season is is open until May 31st and is subject to an in-season closure. If the season closes early because the harvest quota is reached, an extended snag-and-release-only period will be allowed for up to seven days immediately following the early closure, but not to extend beyond May 31. Sunday-Tuesday are catch and release only days and Wednesday-Saturday are mandatory harvest days, all snagged paddlefish must immediately be tagged and kept.

Hooking a paddlefish is like hooking the bumper of a car, you’re in for one heck of a ride until it runs out of gas.

 
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Posted by on April 30, 2012 in Fishing, Outdoor Adventure, Sports, wildlife

 

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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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Celebrate Prairie Dog’s Day!

Black-tailed prairie dog, photo by Greg Forcey

Okay, okay.  So we all know it’s actually a relative of the prairie dog that gets all the fame and glory right about now.  Still we thought the holiday was a good reason to call Theodore Roosevelt National Park and check on the prairie dog colonies there and, more importantly, if they’re paying attention to their shadows.

Rangers at TR National Park say the mild temperatures this winter have meant our prairie dogs have been very active, especially on sunny days.  Unlike the groundhog, prairie dogs do not hibernate.  They go into what’s called a “winter sleep” allowing them to continue to burrow and eat during the winter and also scamper on those sunny days.

In the South Unit, the scenic drive loop passes through three large prairie dog towns.  In the North Unit, no dog towns can be seen from the road but there is a one-mile hike from the Caprock-Coulee parking area toward a town.  There are an abundance of wildlife viewing opportunities in the Park and information about prairie dogs and other watchable wildlife is shared online.

Prairie dog town in TRNP, photo by QT Luong

In addition to not hibernating, prairie dogs differ from their larger cousins in another way: groundhogs prefer to live on their own while prairie dogs connect their burrows to huge colonies.  The colonies in Theodore Roosevelt National Park collectively span 11,000 acres! 

Another great place to see the rare black-tailed prairie dog is at Fort Stevenson State Park, on the north shore of Lake Sakakawea.  There is signage directing visitors to the prairie dog colony and explaining a bit about them.  Sully Creek State Park near Medora, has a colony right outside the park.  Colonies can also be found on private land, mostly in south central and western North Dakota.

So that one question remains – do prairie dogs pay attention to their shadows and predict the length of winter?  We invite you to visit North Dakota and see for yourself!

 

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Congrats FSN Fan Zone winners

Congratulations to the winners of four North Dakota vacation prizes! These lucky ones entered through the Fox Sports North Fan Zone during an online promotion leading up to the University of North Dakota vs. University of Minnesota men’s hockey series last weekend.

Garth Bowen of Cedar Rapids, Iowa has won a Medora prize package featuring two nights of lodging at the Rough Riders Hotel, two lower-level seating tickets to the legendary Medora Musical, dinner for two at the famed outdoor Pitchfork Steak Fondue, and two rounds of golf with a cart at Bully Pulpit.

 

 

 

Patrick Zalusky of New Brighton, Minn. has won a two-night stay at the Fireside Inn and Suites in Devils Lake, two-days guided fishing with Bry’s Guide Service,  dining and gaming vouchers from Spirit Lake Casino and $50 in Devils Lake Cash.

Mike Siebert of Oakdale, Minn. has won a two-night stay at Woodland Resort on Devils Lake, two-days guided fishing with Mitchell Guide Service, dining and gaming vouchers from Spirit Lake Casino, and $50 in Devils Lake Cash.

And Carmine D’Amato from Sheboyhan, Wis. won a Grand Forks prize package featuring two nights of lodging in a jacuzzi suite at the Canad Inns, a $100 gift card to the Toasted Frog, $50 gift card to the Blue Moose, $250 shopping spree and two tickets to each University of North Dakota men’s hockey games vs. Mankato State, March 2 and 3.

Governor Dalrymple Predicts Score … Again

About a year ago, North Dakota Governor Jack Dalrymple was interviewed live by Fox Sports North Host Marney Gellner pre-game to a University of North Dakota vs. U of Minnesota men’s hockey game.  At the end of that interview, Marney asked the Governor if he wanted to predict the score of the game.  To which he offered: North Dakota, 4, Minnesota, 1.  He was right!  Two-plus hours later that’s what the score ended up.

Fast forward one year to last Friday night.  Marney Gellner and Governor Dalrymple were back at the FSN pre-game desk in Grand Forks’ Ralph Engelstad Arena.  Marney recalled the Governor’s accurate prediction and asked him for another.  This time he did a bit of a Carnac impression and guessed: North Dakota, 2, Minnesota, 1. Once again – the Gov was right on.  No word yet on if the Governor’s office is receiving requests for lottery numbers and other predictions but I do think I see a standing pre-game question from FSN in the future.

 

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North Dakota responds to ad criticism

Frank Cooper, Chief Consumer Engagement Officer of PepsiCo once said, “You as a brand have to be completely confident about your position, because you will get criticism. You will have a negative reaction. If you didn’t get a negative reaction, that means you’re standing neutral and you have no point of view. Who wants to participate in that?”

For North Dakota Tourism, that criticism came yesterday, January 12, 2012.

On Monday the 9th, North Dakota Tourism unveiled their advertising campaign for the new year, including six new :15-second television ads and 10 new print ads.  The unveil received a great deal of attention including an AP story picked up by more than 50 online and print publications to include the Boston Globe, Bloomberg Businessweek and the Huffington Post.  The television ads are shared on YouTube and NDtourism.com and the print ads were also shared on our website and Facebook fan page.

Yesterday afternoon, one print ad started being widely shared on Facebook generating a great deal of comments – a majority of them negative.  Our first reaction was, “Wow!  Some people are just crude and watch too much reality TV.”  But as comments became, in some cases, downright offensive, we decided to remove the image from Facebook and our website.  We also became aware of blogs criticizing not just the ad but the entire state.

The media and public reaction that has followed in the past 24-hours has been a mixture of supportive, cautionary and critical.  This isn’t a canned statement – but just the honest way we feel:  This ad was intended to highlight nightlife, youthfulness and a girls-night-out in one of our city’s downtowns.  While we did not personally see the negative connotations that have since been implied, we take that feedback very seriously and are responding to it.  The ad will not run in publications as originally presented.  We are committed to promoting our vibrant city experiences and will create an ad that more accurately conveys the message we intended.

What’s most bothersome to those of us who have been involved in the creative campaign is not the fact that the ad has been attacked, but the fact that the models – who had such a fun experience at the photo shoot – have been personally bashed.  These are beautiful, REAL people who we are proud to have represent North Dakota and the fun, downtown Fargo nightlife that they truly do enjoy.  We apologize to them for the senseless and inappropriate things that people posted about them.

Here at North Dakota Tourism we aren’t “standing neutral with no point of view.”  We care passionately about North Dakota.  Criticism against the overall campaign and the state is unjustified.  We have research on our visitation, about our ad campaigns and our branding.  And the creative strategy and media buy are based on this research. According to the U.S. Travel Association, North Dakota has been outpacing the nation with increased visitor spending in seven of the past eight years.  Since the introduction of the Legendary brand 10 years ago, we’ve made great strides in showing more people the great history, culture, scenery, adventure and fun in North Dakota.  We have measured the results of our ad campaign since 2003 and the 2010 advertising  generated more than $277 million in visitor spending. This ad series works to showcase many of the experiences found here and that our visitors tell us they love.

Like Cheryl Dunning from Winnipeg, Manitoba who recently wrote us: I plan on coming back into North Dakota fairly regularly … Grand Forks is a favorite as is Fargo. I’d like to see Bismarck, Jamestown and well a lot of other places. I always find ways to have fun in North Dakota – from finding new places to eat to finding new things to take photos of. I look forward to returning time and time again to North Dakota.”

Thank you Cheryl.  We’re good enough and gosh darn it, people like us!  As travel expert and blogger Ted Sullivan wrote in his blog about Fargo – it’s quirky, unexpected and great place to visit.

Thank you to all of you sending us your tweets, posts and emails of support, like St. Paul Pioneer Press freelance writer Julie Forster who tweeted, “Yay, North Dakota! Love your ad. Can’t believe you pulled it” and Arla Jean Wood who told us on Facebook: “Fargo is a friendly college town! I really don’t see the intention of harm or insult in that ad. Downtown bars are an easy place to meet new people. That has ALWAYS been the case for me; when I was young and lived there and 10 yrs late when I go back to see friends. It’s always a fun party and that’s one of the biggest reasons why I love going home.”

 
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Posted by on January 13, 2012 in ND in the News

 

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Arrive a Guest. Leave a Legend.

Lewis and Clark may have invented the road trip, but you perfected it.

That’s just one of the themes in this year’s advertising campaign from North Dakota.  Here in North Dakota, Legendary vacations are possible.  Ten new print ads and six television spots showcase experiences such as hiking, history, family adventure, golf, culture and the great outdoors.

And once you’ve gotten a peek at North Dakota, there are new guides available to start planning your 2012 vacations and weekend getaways.  Both the official North Dakota Travel Guide and Hunting & Fishing Guide are available in both digital and print versions.  Printed versions are mailed free-of-charge with a state highway map.

The advertising campaign will play to audiences in Minnesota, Wisconsin, South Dakota, Montana, Manitoba and Saskatchewan.

 
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Posted by on January 9, 2012 in ND in the News, North Dakota Buzz

 

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Let’s go Bison!!!

From North Dakota to Texas and with Bison fans throughout the nation – tomorrow we’ll be cheering “Go North Dakota!” The Bison football team of North Dakota State University headed to Texas this week and will face Sam Houston State in the NCAA Division I FCS Championship game tomorrow.  Kick-off is at 12:00 p.m. (CST) in host city, Frisco, Texas.  The game will be carried nationally on ESPN2.

The road to the championship game has been paved by a 13-1 season for North Dakota.  No. 1 ranked Sam Houston has a 14-0 record.  Included in their fan support are the Governors and Senators of the two states.  North Dakota Gov. Jack Dalrymple and Texas Gov. Rick Perry have placed a friendly wager on the game as have Senators Conrad and Hoeven!

Head Bison football coach Craig Bohl with the North Dakota State University team. Photo by Dave Wallis

North Dakota State University is a research university with an enrollment of more than 14,000.  It’s main campus is in Fargo, which has a metro population of 190,000 and in addition to Division I athletics is also home to USHL hockey and American Association independent baseball.

If you’re at the game or cheering from home, be sure to share your fan photos with us on our Travel North Dakota page on Facebook.  And tweet your thoughts to @NorthDakota and @NDSUAthletics.  Go Bison!

 
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Posted by on January 6, 2012 in Events, Family Fun, Sports

 

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So much to look forward to in 2012

As you’re getting ready to turn that calendar to a new year, grab your pen and start making plans to check out some new attractions and activities in North Dakota!

The International Peace Garden in the Turtle Mountains is known for its beauty, tranquility and symbolism. It’s a popular destination in the summer and now travelers can enjoy it in the winter. The Peace Garden has an extensive network of trails accessible for snowshoeing.  Snowshoes, walking poles and bindings can be rented from the interpretive center.  The interpretive center and conservatory are open year round.

The Theodore Roosevelt Center at Dickinson State University is dedicated to preserving the legacy of America’s 26th President. A new presidential digital library gives scholars and visitors a new way to be inspired by Roosevelt.  Visit online or in-person – but be sure to package your visit with Theodore Roosevelt National Park.

Always wanted to fish the Missouri River in the winter but your boat is stored away? No problem. Sakakawea Guide Service now offers unique houseboats with an opportunity to fish the Garrison Dam tailrace throughout the winter months.

Rolling Plains Adventures, near Bismarck, hosts guided hunts and ranch vacations and a new Grand Lodge will open in 2012. Based on Black Leg Ranch, the fifth generation ranchers/owners help guests discover ranch life with horseback riding and cattle drives plus home-cooked meals.

The Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center expansion is slated to be open in February showcasing a new event center, library and production studio. More exhibits tell the story of the Corps of Discovery and others who journeyed through (now) North Dakota.  The Center is located in Washburn.

Also scheduled to be open in February is the new Enchanted Castle, a 20-room lodging facility in Regent – known as one stop along the Enchanted Highway. The front of the new hotel will have the appearance of a castle. Walk across the moat to enter the property.

Stay tuned for more great things coming to North Dakota in 2012.

 
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Posted by on December 28, 2011 in Attractions, ND in the News, North Dakota Buzz

 

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Lights, Snow, Action!

The sparkle of the season will soon surround us as the first of winter’s snowfalls cover the ground and reflect the twinkling of holiday lights. There are great options to enjoy light tours in North Dakota. Pack up the family and a thermos of hot chocolate!  And for a truly memorable experience, consider a horse-drawn sleigh ride – available from the Dakota Carriage Company in Fargo.

 
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Posted by on December 1, 2011 in Events, Winter Fun

 

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