Mandan News

Vern Davis: Outdoors time is coming soon

Hello from Morton County Parks.

Well, it has been about four weeks since I last complained about the winter weather, and it seems that everyone else is in the same boat – it could be worse. I just visited with an older gentleman (read) older than me, who said the following: “There is an old saying that if you have a late Easter, you also have a late spring,” So far that is correct.

Again I’ll say: The boat ramps will be open as soon as possible, most likely early next week April 4 or 5. The river is open but with the weather not cooperating, it would be silly for anyone to want to be out there yet anyway. Last year the ramps were all open during the last week of March, but in 2009, they were not open until April 20. So it looks like this year we will “split the difference.”

A couple months ago I mentioned that we would be asking for financial help from North Dakota Game and Fish Department for a couple new vault toilets at Graner Park and the Schmidt-Little Heart boat ramps. This request was granted, so these new facilities should be in place the latter part of April or early May. They are a new design with “Sweet Smelling Technology” which was developed by the U.S. Forest Service. The design has a dark roof with a solar heated chamber in the roof. This will draw air through the toilet and out through a vent pipe in the roof. This should be a big change compared to the old concrete block units you are used to seeing. The old units will be torn down and hauled away.

At this time the earliest fishing tournament at Graner Park is scheduled for the week of May 19 to 21. It is the Bismarck-Mandan Reel and Recreation Tourney. After that weekend there is something scheduled at Garner Park each weekend until after the July Fourth weekend.

One last note; I was looking through some of the parks columns from 4 to 7 years ago and I noticed about 4 to 6 years ago at this time of the year we were worried about the low water conditions on the Missouri and all of the area lakes. There were “No campfire” signs being posted and even a project of cleaning out the Fort Rice Recreation Area boat channel because of low water and very dry conditions. We are very lucky this year because it looks like we will have a “good water” year for our facilities.

So get that camper polished up, air out the tent and sleeping bags because I think it will be a busy year in the parks. The price of fuel and other necessities will keep people a little closer to home. Morton County Parks will be open soon.

See you here next month.