Summer always seems to be a hectic season whether we live in a town or city, farm or ranch. As a result, oftentimes we don’t take the time to enjoy nature in the season that is most conducive for doing just that. However, there is still plenty of time to enjoy the natural beauty of our area this summer, and when it comes to enjoying nature at its best here in North Dakota, you have to consider our state parks.
The mission of the North Dakota Parks and Recreation Department is to “provide and enhance outdoor recreation opportunities through diverse parks and programs that conserve the state’s natural diversity.” They own and manage some of nature’s best in the state, and the reason, of course, is to provide us and future generations the opportunity to enjoy them.
A recent study on nature based recreation in the United States showed that an American visits a state park an average of only 2.3 times a year. That is not much!
Here in North Dakota everyone lives within reasonable driving distance of a state park. We really owe it to ourselves to take advantage of the opportunities they provide. Most, if not all, state parks have camping areas and trails to hike as well as day use areas. Many also provide interpretive programs. Parks located near water, of course, provide the opportunity to do a little canoeing or fishing. There really is something for everybody.
Whatever your preferences are, our state parks are there to provide you with the opportunity to enjoy a little natural North Dakota. If you are not up for camping, then perhaps a stroll along one of the many hiking trails is just what the doctor ordered. When was the last time you spread a few goodies out on a picnic table or blanket and just enjoyed a simple picnic? If that is too much, just plop down a chaise lounge in the perfect spot and relax. Whatever your preferences, do make a point of making a little nature observation a part of the experience.
I am going to make a concerted effort to take at least one weekday evening and spend it picnicking at our local state park. I am also going to take a little time to enjoy the park during the fall and winter as well. Soon after Labor Day an afternoon canoe trip is job one!
The state park system has a website with lots of information to inform and assist us with relevant information on all our state parks. Take a cybervisit to a local state park, and then do the real thing!
Natural North Dakota is supported by NDSU Central Grasslands Research Extension Center and Dakota College at Bottineau, and by the members of Prairie Public. Thanks to Sunny 101.9 in Bottineau for their recording services.
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