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Posted 6/13/17 (Tue)

By Neal A. Shipman
Farmer Editor

Now that school is officially over and the summer season is in full swing, people are probably wondering what there is to do for fun with their families. While McKenzie County may not have large theme parks or other destination vacation spots, that does not mean that you have to go long distances to enjoy your summer.
In fact, McKenzie County has tremendous recreational opportunities that are just waiting to be discovered. You can take your pick of exploring the millions of acres of public lands in the North Unit of the Theodore Roosevelt National Park and the Little Missouri National Grasslands or heading out to Lake Sakakawea for some quiet solitude on one of the largest man-made lakes in the United States.
Obviously, the North Unit of the park offers some of the most spectacular views in North Dakota. With miles of hiking trails, as well as a large resident population of deer, bighorn sheep, buffalo and prairie dogs, the opportunities to see nature up close is second to none. Staff at the park also provides guided nature hikes throughout the summer as well as evening interpretive programs in the campground.
Likewise, the Little Missouri National Grasslands are a hunters and hikers paradise. While access to most of the grasslands is restricted to non-motorized traffic, that doesn’t mean that you can’t have a great time discovering the sights of the Badlands along the Maah Daah Hey Trail as well as other areas.
Want to do some camping? Take your pick from campgrounds at Tobacco Gardens Resort & Marina or McKenzie Bay, which are both on Lake Sakakawea, or at Sather Dam.
Want to fish? Just head out to Lake Sakakawea or to Sather Dam. And of course, there is always the Watford City Fishing Pond, when you don’t have time to pack the kids into the car.
Want to learn about the history of McKenzie County? While McKenzie County is just over 100 years old, we have a rich history that is revealed at several museums in the area including the Pioneer Museum in the Long X Trading Post and the McKenzie County Heritage Park, both of which are in Watford City; the Three Affiliated Tribes Museum, next to the 4 Bears Casino near New Town and the Lewis & Clark Museum in Alexander. Also worth checking out are the Old Sod Post Office in Grassy Butte and the Fairview Lift Bridge and Cartwright Tunnel.
Looking for fun and entertainment? McKenzie County comes alive each and every summer with a variety of events that the entire family will enjoy. Watford City hosts Homefest, the McKenzie County Fair, Art-In-The-Park and Ribfest, while Arnegard hosts the annual 4th of July Celebration and Alexander welcomes everyone to their annual Old Settlers’ Day.
So if you are looking for something new and different to do this summer, check out what McKenzie County has to offer.
You won’t be disappointed.