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

Thursday, March 21, 2013

The 5 W's (and one H) of Summer Employment

By Stacy High - Administrative Assistant

Who: You! Do you want to work outdoors this summer? Do you want to have fun while earning money? Consider a summer position at one of North Dakota’s state parks!

What: State Parks are looking for seasonal administrative assistants, maintenance personnel, park attendants, interpreters/historians and park rangers.
Where: North Dakota State Parks which are located across the state and there’s sure to be one close to you.

Why: North Dakota Parks and Recreation is a great place to work!
Stacy High-
Administrative Assistant

When: Applications are now being accepted.  
How: Job applications and more information can be found at:   Applications should be sent directly to the parks you are interested in working at.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Snow Science

by Amy Schimetz - Interpreter and Lake Metigoshe Outdoor Learning Center Coordinator

People often look outside in the winter and simply comment, whether good or bad, on the snow.  However, many don’t give much thought what snow is made of, how it’s made or why there are both large and small flakes.  The science behind snow is fascinating.

Snowflakes are made of ice crystals forming around tiny bits of dirt that were carried up into the atmosphere by wind.  When the dirt particles reach clouds where temperatures are below freezing, ice crystals form around them and create snowflakes. Each snowflake is six-sided because of the shape and bonding of water molecules.  A snowflake can be made from as many as 200 ice crystals. As the snow crystals grow, they become heavier and fall toward the ground.

It is said that no two snowflakes are alike, but they can be classified into types of crystals: needles, columns, plates, columns capped with plates, dendrites and stars.  The type of crystal depends upon humidity and temperature present during formation.  That’s why when it’s very cold and snowing, the flakes are small and when it’s closer to 32 degrees, the flakes are larger. 
Amy Schimetz-Interpreter
Take a closer look to see if you can classify some snowflakes.  Since they melt so quickly you need to freeze a dark piece of paper or cloth by leaving it outside for several minutes. Put some snowflakes on the dark surface and examine them, perhaps with a magnifier. Don't expect to easily find a perfect six-sided snowflake. They occur less than 25 percent of the time because snowflakes have a bumpy, difficult journey on their way to earth. Each flake is buffeted by wind, water and other snowflakes. However, with persistence you'll see some beautiful examples.