North Dakota Horse Campground Opens
A new campground is ready for horse lovers to enjoy the wide, open spaces around Pipestem Reservoir near Jamestown, N.D., according to the Bismarck Tribune.
The campground includes a corral and tether lines for horses with six pads, an upgraded water well and a new dump station for RVs in the otherwise primitive area west of Parkhurst Recreational Area.
Dave Smette, the driving force behind the horse camp, said some amenities are still being finished – mostly minor items such as fire rings and an area to dump horse-related refuse.
The camp is ready for use by those traveling with horses who are looking for a place to bunk. It's also ready for locals wanting a weekend of horseback riding and camping. There is no fee to camp there.
A marked five-mile trail runs along the reservoir with plenty of open land. The trees and shrubbery in the area are mature with native prairie and a variety of wildlife.
"We've had some folks camping here, but mostly it's trail rides by local folks," Smette said. "You can ride the trails and see birds and wildlife."
The project was funded by a $35,000 grant from the North Dakota Parks and Recreation Land and Water Conservation Fund. Smette, who said he rides year-round, believes the campground will become a very popular place once it gets known.
A card identifying the horse camp and its amenities, with a map to get people there, is available now, said Nina Sneider, director of Buffalo City Tourism.
"We'll advertise and promote it more next year," Sneider said. "It's a specialized tourist site, so it's capturing a new audience."
The work of creating the campground has been done by volunteers and Stutsman County Park Department employees. Parkhurst is the responsibility of the county parks department. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers owns the reservoir and the land around Pipestem.
Smette hopes eventually to create trails connecting Fort Ransom, Fort Seward and Fort Totten. At this point, it doesn't look workable because of the amount of private land and other obstacles, he said.
Smette did, however, meet with U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service staff about possibilities within the Arrowwood National Wildlife Refuge. Kim Hanson, the project leader for the Arrowwood complex, said a $10,000 grant from the North Dakota Parks and Recreation Trail Program will help create another riding area.
"Eventually, we'd like to include interpretive panels on the wildlife and the history," Hanson said. "Portions of the trail are the old Fort Totten Trail."
Hanson said the nine-mile segment probably will be called "Limpy Jack's Leg" of the Arrowwood National Wildlife Refuge Trail. Limpy Jack was an eccentric figure in Jamestown's early history.
Smette said he hoped the campground and the trails are just the beginning.
"It's not a destination perhaps, but it's a place to rest and to ride," he said. "This is the where the West begins, so we have to have a place for horses."