Mandan News

Vern Davis: May a busy month for parks

Hello from Morton County Parks.

Here it is, May already and everyone is getting really hyped up about summer camping and fishing. So I guess I’ll put out some fresh information about the park system.

This year you will see an increase in camping fees at Graner and the Fort Rice Campground. We raised the fee for electrical hookups from $12 to $15 and primitive from $3 to $5. The old fees have been in place for at least 12 years. We did not raise them because everything else went up; we had to do it as a matter of economics. We held out as long as we could with the old fees. North Dakota State Parks charge $20 a night, but that may include a shower, so I guess we aren’t too far out of line with no showers.

We put over $3,000 in new parts in our park mowers; fuel is hovering around $3 a gallon, the list goes on. What I’m saying is the raise in fees is justified in the eye of the Morton County Park Board. Dick Baron used to say, “Vern, we’re not in the business to make money.” But I say, “Dick, it doesn’t hurt to break even.” End of story.

I’ve had several inquiries about the rock piles at Graner Park. Ladies and gentlemen, we are stuck with them for the summer. If there could have been an early construction period before April 15, the rock piles could have been gone, but that didn’t happen. Why the 15th, because that is the start of spawning season, and we can’t mess with Ma Nature and the reproduction habits of the fish. So, the rebuilding of the boat ramp will not take place until late summer, much like the Little Heart ramp last year. I’ve had several comments about the ramp at the Little Heart Area and how nice it is, well, that’s the way Graner Park Ramp will be next year.

By the time you read this the fish cleaning station will most likely be up and running. There is a new rule for boaters this year – drain your tanks as you come out of the river. We have put a couple signs up at Fort Rice and Graner Park fish cleaning stations. Please help us out in this matter. We don’t want the areas to be mud holes like the last few years.

Looking at May, two of the busiest weekends happen this month. First, the annual Reel and Rec Fishing Derby is the weekend of May 14, 15 and 16 and, of course, the Memorial Day Weekend May 29, 30 and 31, the sort of “official” kickoff of the summer season.

As in the past, there are no camping reservations available at Morton County Parks; it is on the first come, first served basis.

Finally, our campground host and park ranger couple is back at Graner Park. Glen and Gloria Finck are already in place. We sure appreciate their help during the summer. That’s it for now – hope to see you next month. Get out and enjoy your Morton County Parks.