North Dakota

I’ve been to the southern cousin, South Dakota, but not North Dakota. Lets see what I’ve been missing here.

The big thing that comes to mind is prairies.


North and South Dakota have always made me think of those rolling plains and herds of buffalo. After the Homestead Act  opened the prairie lands to farming and the prairie grasses were uprooted for agriculture, the dry winds began to blow leading to the Dust Bowl years of the 1930’s. By then the sea of grass and the great buffalo herds that sustained the Plains Indians were almost completely gone.


In 1933 the federal government stepped in and began buying and restoring the damaged prairie lands. But it wasn’t until 1960 that a system of national grasslands was implemented.

As bad as the damage to the grasslands was, what was done to the buffalo was even worse. Those great herds were gone not just because of the destruction of the prairie but because the white men went on a planned campaign of extermination. Sorry folks, I just get very upset over the way humans handle themselves sometimes. (Between you and me, not much has changed in my opinion) But I’m getting off track here. My point is that The Little Missouri National Grassland is a part of that network of national Grasslands. One million acres of ecologically diverse mixed-grass,  prairie, canyon and forest  surround Theodore Roosevelt National Park. Antelope, deer, coyotes, bighorn sheep and buffalo make their home here and I want to see it!

And Speaking of Native Americans, the largest Native American Powwow  takes place in September in Bismarck, North Dakota. The United Tribes International Powwow attracts thousands of dancers and drummers from many tribes. The Native Americans compete in 22 dance categories for upwards of 15,000 visitors. We missed a Powwow in South Dakota when we got lost on the Pine Ridge Reservation but that would have been small compared to this. I’ll have to plan my visit to see this!


Another historic site that would be good to see is Fort Mandan and the Lewis and Clark Trail. Near by to the restored fort is the Knife River  Indian Villages  Historic Site. Ruins of several villages including Sacajawea’s are preserved here.


And the last thing on my North Dakota list is the International Peace Garden. The brain child of Canadian horticulturist Henry J Moore, became reality in 1932. Moore had envisioned a grand garden the would straddle the U.S. – Canadian  border, dedicated to our two nations friendship and peaceful coexistence. Many of the roads , bridges and  shelters were built in the 1930s by the CCC, Civilian Conservation Corp.  Today the Peace garden has 2,339 acres of gardens, forests, manicured landscapes, fountain and walking paths. Its only 200 miles north of Bismarck. I should be able to squeeze that in don’t you think?


That concludes the states starting with “N”, and my grand total now is 12 seen / 22 to go.

Coming up next …the “O” states. There’s only 3 of them.

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