The time zone puzzle of North Dakota

18 Nov

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!!

1 Comment

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


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One response to “The time zone puzzle of North Dakota

  1. Travel Turkey

    December 14, 2010 at 8:02 am

    Nice text , thank you.


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