Thursday, March 28, 2013

Sports shows indicate it will be a busy year

Gordon Weixel
Public Information Officer
The message is clear, it’s been a long winter and people are itchin’ to get outside and have a good time, whether it be camping, fishing, hiking, biking, or you name it… North Dakota’s state parks are going to be busy this year.

At least that’s my takeaway following the completion of the recently completed outdoor sports shows held in Bismarck, Grand Forks, Minot and Williston. If you had a chance to take in one of these shows and stopped by the North Dakota Parks and Recreation Department booth you possibly talked to me or one of the park staff that helped out that included Grahams Island manager Henry Duray, Turtle River manager Steve Crandall, newly appointed Fort Stevenson manager Chad Trautman, Lewis and Clark manager Greg Corcoran and rangers Keith Orth, Dan Ryba and Ryan Nelson.

My first indication it’s going to be a good year were the number of annual vehicle passes that were sold at the shows. In the past there have been requests for between 30 or 40 passes. This year over 30 were sold at Minot alone, and all told, nearly 60 were sold.

Another tell that it’s going to be a good year for park visitation, were the number of materials that were given out at the booths. I usually take enough stuff and a lot comes back to headquarters in Bismarck. But this year there wasn’t much that came back, in fact, packing up was fairly easy. 

People were particularly interested in the hiking guides and the brochure on the new Pembina Gorge motorized trail. Trails for off-highway vehicles on public land are few and far between in North Dakota, and over the past few years popularity of ATVs has seen a tremendous growth. In response to the growing demand, the NDPRD created the Pembina Gorge trail which held its grand opening last year. The 12-mile trail, which is available to OHVs, will be doubled this year with an additional 12 miles scheduled to be created this spring.

At each show the NDPRD held a drawing for those visiting the booth and filling out an entry with name, address, phone and email. This year’s winners were Debra Ludwig (Williston), Shane Lider (Minot), Craig Sharp (Grand Forks) and Lucilda Herman (Bismarck). The NDPRD appreciates all those that stopped by and filled out entry forms.

This year the Minot KX Sports Show was far and away the busiest, as it usually is. This year the Minot Show offered the “Dock Dogs” competition which was a great draw. The Bismarck Tribune Sports Show also held Dock Dogs, for the third year, and it was among the best shows in several years. The Grand Forks Men’s Show had a very busy Saturday as did The Williston Sports and Recreation Show.  Hopefully, next year each show will be even bigger and better, and you can be sure the NDPRD will be represented.
Gordon Weixel

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