Travelers Get Rich Experience in North-Central North Dakota
BISMARCK, ND – Fall is in full swing in North Dakota, as evidenced by the active wildlife and crispness in the air. The transition from summer to autumn is all the more reason to get out and enjoy the bounties of the season. Hunting, hiking and mountain biking are just some of the ways to discover North Dakota’s north-central region. The area, which includes Minot, is loaded with historical sites and activities for travelers of all ages and all desires.
Encompassing more 14,000 acres and located in the heart of the Prairie Pothole Region, Audubon National Wildlife Refuge is a haven for waterfowl and other birds from all over the continent. The region also is a sanctuary for nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts. Visitors to the refuge can take an eight-mile gravel auto tour along the south shore of Lake Audubon, which provides access to a wildlife observation and photography blind. A one-mile, self-guided nature trail meanders through and along grasslands and wetlands to offer spectacular views of native grasses, birds and other species. Hunting and ice fishing are permitted, with regulations.
Located just north of Dunseith, and straddling the United States and Canadian border, the International Peace Garden is a symbolic tribute to the peace between these two nations. Visitors can tour the grounds year-round and cross the international boundary without a passport at will while touring the park. A portion of the garden is dedicated to honoring the memory of those lost to the horrors of Sept. 11, 2001. Ten twisted girders recovered from the Twin Towers wreckage now rest there as a symbol of democracy and peace.
Sully Hills National Game Preserve is a 1,647-acre refuge with varying habitats and animal species nestled along the southern shores of Devils Lake. The area serves as a big game preserve, as well as a refuge and breeding ground for wild animals and migratory birds. Sullys Hill’s unique range of habitats offers visitors superb opportunities for wildlife viewing, photography and interpretive programs. More than two miles of hiking trails are available for guests who want to explore the refuge on foot. A four-mile wildlife drive, dotted with observation decks, traverses the preserve.
This family-owned hunting lodge, five miles west of Goodrich, is in the business of providing waterfowl and upland combination hunters with a first-rate experience. Central Dakota Hunting Lodge has access to 30,000 acres of private land and offers a full-service sporting experience. The 10,000-square-foot lodge has commodious and comfortable accommodations, and guests are provided three meals per day during their stay.
Prairie Village Museum should be on the list of every traveler wanting a feel for what it was like to settle and live in an 1890s prairie town, There are 23 historic buildings and six exhibition halls for touring, and the museum’s collection includes Native American powwow dresses, antique cars and farm machinery. Visitors can take a short walk from the museum to the Geographical Center of North America monument, Rugby’s greatest claim to fame.
The Nuxx Baa Gaa Trail, a newly constructed mountain bike trail, traverses bluffs overlooking beautiful Lake Sakakawea. The single track affords spectacular views and appeals to riders of all levels. After all, Nuxx Baa Gaa means “all the people” in Arikara. The trail encompasses six miles of woods, prairie and rocky outcroppings along its path and it is part of the Lewis and Clark Legacy Trails System. The trailhead begins at the Indian Hills Resort’s Campground.
For the history buffs out there, Fort Mandan Overlook State Historic Site can’t be missed. The site provides views of the area where Lewis and Clark established their headquarters during the winter of 1804-1805. Fort Mandan, named for the area’s Native American inhabitants, provided shelter and a place for cultural exchange between the explorers and local tribes. But the area’s history goes much further back than that. The original site of the fort was along the river (it’s since been inundated) and archaeologists have recovered artifacts from the site that explain some of the original inhabitants’ activities.
Housed in the historic 1906 Union National Bank in downtown Minot, the Taube Museum of Art features revolving exhibits of contemporary artwork from local, regional and national artists. Visitors can explore the museum’s main and lower galleries year-round. The Taube networks closely with various community art organizations in a concerted effort to advance art education in the area, and it regularly requests exhibit submissions from local artisans.
Farmers Annie and John Carlson have opened their community supported farm, Morning Joy Farm, to the public. Farming and cooking enthusiasts alike will enjoy the experience of seeing first-hand what it means to operate a pasture-based farm. This is a great opportunity to learn more about the farm-to-table movement and guests are welcome to try their hands at moving a chicken pen, feeding a hog or gathering freshly laid eggs.