Mandan News

Vern Davis: What’s in store for 2010?


Greetings from Morton County Parks.

Can you believe it; another year has come and gone? I guess at this time I may as well put forth a few words of wisdom about 2009 and what Morton County Parks is looking forward to in 2010.

First off, many thanks to all of the people who have worked hard for the parks this past year – Tim Nilsen has been here over 20 years now and he’s pretty much “the boss.” If something needs to be done, I just put out the word and it’s finished.

Helping Tim in the parks with all the mowing, fixing, cleaning, trimming and more fixing were Roger Klemish, Monte Nilsen and Dan Olienyk. Without them, we would not get much done.

Glen Fink and his wife, Gloria, were our caretakers and rangers at Graner Park – how could I thank them enough?

You get to read this because Belinda Eckroth from the Auditor’s Office does secretarial work for me. You see, I’m quite computer illiterate and she knows which keys to push at the right time. Also, Kari and Mary in the Treasurer’s Office take care of camping fees for us, so the “family” of Parks is larger than meets the eye.

This past year saw the filling of Harmon Lake in about a week last spring, introduction of trout and crappies and quite a few campers in very primitive conditions. To quote a line from one of my favorite movies – “If you build it, they will come,” It sure is true in this case. This year we hope to see vault toilets and a shelter or two put in up there.

The boat ramp was rebuilt at the Little Heart/Schmidt bottoms – this is thanks to major funding by North Dakota Game and Fish Department. As a result, we saw more people using this ramp than ever before. Normally there will be 6 feet or more of water at the end of the ramp – no more tearing axles off boat trailers.

So, what will be happening elsewhere? The ramp at Graner Park will get an overhaul this spring. It was been a sore spot in a beautiful park for years. It will be a major improvement compared to the kinky ramp we’ve had in the past.

There will be a new set of playground equipment added at Graner Park. We’ve been dinged by the yearly inspection there in the past, so the old slide will go and a new Play & Park structure, about 30×35 feet, will be installed. The system will cater to the younger kids, but I’m sure some older types will enjoy it as well.

The multi-use trail north of Mandan will be extended a couple more miles this summer. That will put the trail only about 2 or 3 miles short of the Harmon Lake facility. With any luck we will see the trail finished in the next two or three years.

As I start my second decade here at Morton County Parks, I would like to see a bunch more improvements, but that takes time, money and patience. Hopefully, it will all come together in the next decade.

So as I say every time this comes out – hope to see you here next month.