KX Summer Road Trip: Fort Stevenson State Park is a popular destination for campers

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This summer KX News is heading on the road for a fun Summer Road Trip.

This Friday at 5 and 6 p.m., we’ll be live on location for the newscasts.

Drum roll please…our first location: the Walleye Capital of Garrison and Fort Stevenson State Park.

Staying close to home for vacation was a big side effect of the pandemic. Families looking for ways to stay socially distanced while doing something fun.

One of the benefits of the beautiful summers here is camping.

We met with the park manager at Fort Stevenson Park who says the park has become a summer destination.

“We are seeing a lot of North Dakota is recognizing that this is a place to go play on the weekends,” said Chad Trautman.

He says over the last decade, there’s been a big increase in campers.

And about 90 percent of those enjoying mother nature are North Dakotans.

There was a 1,000 person increase from 2019 to 2020. The demand has grown so much that Trautman says they’re working to add 20 more spots to the 145 existing ones.

“Anybody looking for camping is going to be looking for cancellations, unfortunately,” Trautman said.

Margaret and Wayne Schempp are regular campers at the park and have been for the last 42 years.

“We’ve camped primarily at Fort Stevenson because we’ve lived here in Garrison so it was handy. Even if we were working, we could still go back to work,” Wayne said.

Margaret says they don’t worry about finding a spot during the summer.

“Because we’re retired, we changed our game plan. We don’t camp on weekends anymore. We come on Sunday or Monday and stay a couple days during the week. That we find to be beneficial for quiet-ness and what we’re seeking,” Margaret said.

“We just like the peacefulness out here and they do a great job at park keeping it up. It’s just a good getaway,” Wayne said.

To try and make this an all-in-one destination they offer rentals for different equipment — like canoes, pontoons, fishing boats and even bikes.

“We really want to make the visitor experience as best as possible or most enjoyable, so if you forget your lawn game at home you can stop at the visitor center and will provide you with what we have,” Trautman said.

Wednesday night we continue to feature Fort Stevenson in our lead up to this week’s KX Summer Road Trip.

We talk to a volunteer who’s spent decades preserving the forts history for visitors.

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