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Exploring Western North Dakota

What do you get when you take a beautifully rugged landscape dotted with oil wells and intersected by scoria roads, an old train-tunnel-turned-walking-path, forts and other interesting attractions and some unique shopping?

I introduce you to the western edge of North Dakota.  Beauty, history and fun combined!

Take for instance, Beach – just a mile from the Montana border – where you’ll find Prairie Fire Pottery offering tours and handmade, unique pottery every day.  If the shop isn’t open – just call the phone number on the door!  Now that’s North Dakota hospitality.

A bit north, west of Cartwright, North Dakota, is the Fairview Bridge – a 1,320 foot structure spanning the Yellowstone River.  It leads to the only tunnel in the state – a 1,458 foot long tunnel built mostly by hand in 1912 and 1913.  It’s very cool to walk through but you won’t find me there on Halloween!

A bit north are the fascinating and well-interpreted stops of Fort Union Trading Post National Historic Site and Fort Buford State Historic Site near Williston.  Fort Union was the most important trading post on the upper Missouri from 1828-1867.  Fort Buford is where Sitting Bull surrendered in 1881.  Much more area history is found at the Missouri-Yellowstone Interpretive Confluence Center – a place to explore history, genealogy, art and more.

Just east of that western border is Theodore Roosevelt National Park – a wealth of wildlife viewing, natural beauty, horseback riding and hiking trails and undisturbed campgrounds.  Make this area part of your vacation plans!

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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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Civil War Program, July 17, at Fort Union

Civil War history buffs will want to visit Williston on Saturday, July 17.

The Fort Union Trading Post National Historic Site will host “Civil War at Fort Union,” an event including formal small arms drills and firing, artillery firing, and other formal and informal presentations throughout the post.

The Civil War came to the upper Missouri in 1864-65 when General Alfred Sully followed the Dakota Sioux west after the Minnesota uprising in 1862.  In addition, Company I, 30th Wisconsin Infantry was sent upriver to guard supplies at Fort Union trading post in the spring of 1864.  After a year’s occupation, Company I was replaced at Fort Union by Company B, 1st U.S. Volunteer Infantry.  These were “Galvanized Yankees,” ex-Confederate prisoners who had taken the oath of allegiance to the United States.  Company B occupied Fort Union until the middle of August 1865.

The programs are free of charge and will take place starting at 1 p.m.

Fort Union Trading Post is located 25 miles southwest of Williston, North Dakota via Highway 1804 and 24 miles north of Sidney, Montana.  For more information, call 701 572-9083.

 
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Posted by on July 11, 2010 in Events, 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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It’s National Parks Week!!!!!

It’s National Parks Week and a great time to see spring blooming in Theodore Roosevelt National Park.  All week long, entrance fees to the park will be waived.  Enjoy the history, beauty and adventure without giving cost another thought.

North Dakota has two additional national park sites: Knife River Indian Villages National Historic Site – once home to a Hidatsa Indian village and Fort Union Trading Post National Historic Site – the most important fur trading post on the upper Missouri from 1828 to 1867.  These national historic sites are free to visit all-year long.

 
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Posted by on April 19, 2010 in Events, Family Fun, History, Just for Fun

 

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