Home is where the heart is and where people go to unwind, but some Dunn County officials said there aren’t many places for people to go and relax outdoors, in the sunshine.
For about thirty years the Little Missouri Recreation Area North of Dunn Center was a thriving tourist destination.
“Every weekend in the Summer this would become a little village of 400 to 500 people camping up here, and even more people using it as a day use area, said Bill Schaller, who is a task force member for the Little Missouri Recreation project.
In 2005 the area fell on hard times when the water levels went down, and Schaller said the area is now primarily used for fishing, along the arm of the Little Missouri River where it meets Lake Sakakawea.
“The vast majority of people coming up here are fishing for Walleye, but Northern Pike fishing is popular in the Spring”.
Now the water levels are back, and Carie Boster, who is the JDA Economic Development Director in Dunn County, said it is time to bring that old magic back to area.
“People wanted the opportunity to camp . . they wanted the opportunity to come down here with their campers, or bring their family down here for a day and picnic”.
Part of Dunn County’s plan is to create a day use area for people with picnic tables, and a primitive campground in the Little Missouri Recreation Area,
“We will put up 37 camp sites . . . a camp ground host. . . and get campgrounds developed within the year, ” said Boster.
Dunn County Commissioner Donna Scott said the project is important for quality of life in the county.
“How much better it is to stay in Dunn County . . . and have a place where you don’t have to drive a long distance”.
The project is still in the early stages, but so far people like what they are hearing.
“Its good clean fun, and I think it is an important project, ” said Lonnie Henke who was visiting the area from Hannover, ND for a day of fishing.
Right now the project is estimated to cost a little more than $3 million, and there are also plans to put in a fish cleaning station and pave a two mile stretch of road that leads into the recreation area.
Boster said they would like to start on the picnic area later this Fall, and other parts of the project sometime in 2019.
Dunn County is the lead agency on the project, but it is getting assistance from the Army Corps of Engineers and the Federal Highway Administration.
The land being used in the project is being leased by Dunn County from the Army Crop of Engineers, and the Federal Highway Administration will be in charge of paving the road.