Mandan News

Vern Davis: Trying times with rising waters


Hello from Morton County Parks…
Maybe I should have said Morton County Parks minus two.
As of May 25, we have closed Graner Park due to the rising water levels along the Missouri River. The Little Heart-Schmidt Bottoms has been closed for several days because of the water.
I guess I will start by thanking Mayor Helbling for his assessment and words on May 24. He said, and many people in attendance agreed, with his words, “Now is the time to help your neighbors, a friend or even someone you don’t know through the tough times. It is NOT the time to start laying blame on this person or that or this entity or that.” This is not the exact wording, but I think you get the drift of his statement.
Yes, the times will be tough for our parks this summer. We were advised that the high water situation will last probably quite a bit longer than a couple weeks.
So far, Graner Park has lost a couple feet of riverbank and a couple huge trees to the water. How all of this ends up is only speculation at this time.
Now the other side of the coin. Our campground will remain open at Fort Rice. This will be a crowded summer down there, but that is to be expected when the Fort Rice boat ramp may be the only one open in our county system. Our caretakers and park rangers, Glen and Gloria, will be moving their base of operations there.
Our crew tried to get all the cemeteries mowed for the Memorial Day holiday, but at the time I wrote this they still had a couple to go. They have been working on this project the whole week for the people who will visit over the weekend. I hope you people who visit gravesites will appreciate the work they have done.
It has been a very trying spring season with rain, snow, low temperatures and more rain. But we have done our best to accomplish the jobs.
With the closing of Graner Park, the attendance at the other parks such as Sweetbriar, Harmon Lake and all the rest will see an increase in use. I ask that you please be kind and patient if everything gets a little crowded. Greet these people as new neighbors, not someone who is “taking up my space.”
Several events have had date changes this summer. The Reel and Rec Fishing Tournament will be Aug. 13. A reride and reenactment wagon train was scheduled for the middle of June. This will probably have to be modified or changed. I’m sure the list will change weekly.
So all I can say to sum this up – hey, we’re tough people here in North Dakota – we will get along. We can’t have everything our way all the time, and as Mayor Helbling said, “Now is the time to come together and help each other.”
See you next month.