Tag Archives: fort stevenson

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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Ways to enjoy Memorial Weekend in North Dakota

This weekend is the “unofficial” start of summer!  Many visitors to North Dakota will be camping and enjoying the great outdoors.  I’d like to share a couple of special events on our calendar and great ways to pay tribute to Veterans.

In honor of servicemen and women, the North Dakota State Parks will have free day admission in all parks on Monday.

Memorial Motorcycle Rally, May 29-31 in Devils Lake – Three days of riding, games, activities and a steak fry.  Rodeo too.

Skydance Sakakawea, May 29-31 at Fort Stevenson State Park, Garrison – An annual kite flying festival with stunt kites, demonstrations and more.

Memorial Weekend Celebration, May 29-31 at Fort Abercrombie State Historic Site – Tours, laying of wreaths, classes and more.

Memorial Day Ceremony

The 2010 Memorial Day Ceremony at the North Dakota Veterans Cemetery will take place at noon Monday, May 31. This annual event honors all deceased American servicemen and women and is free to the public.   The cemetery is 6.5 miles south of Mandan, N.D., on Highway 1806.

Numerous ceremonies will be taking place throughout North Dakota.  Please contact local convention and visitor bureaus for details.

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Posted by on May 27, 2010 in Events, History, Motorcycling


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